Top Five Platonic Friendships in Books

The topic for this week’s Top Ten Tuesday, hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl, is platonic relationships. I thought I’d be able to pick out my selections for this pretty quickly. But to my surprise, I ended up eliminating a few potential choices because the platonic/romantic status of a relationship was left ambiguous.

In no particular order:

  1. Uprooted by Naomi Novik
A woman stands in a window with a rose. There is imagery of trees and plants, along with birds and dragons. The words read "Naomi Novik, Uprooted."
Image: Del Rey

I really wanted to avoid selecting this book, because it came up in my last TTT list as well. But that would be disingenuous, because Uprooted blows most other novels out of the water with its focus on friendship. Agnieszka and Kasia’s friendship is the heart and soul of this book. It’s given the kind of development normally reserved for a romance (while the romance is relegated to a lesser role–which I’m totally happy with, by the way. I think that should be done more often.)

And it isn’t just, ‘they’re friends since childhood, loyal forever, the end.’ Their friendship is tested. They have to face each others’ resentments and insecurities, and they come out stronger for it. This book managed to do something really special by prioritizing the friendship between these two girls, and I’d venture to say it’s the best part of the story.

  1. Beka Cooper series
An image of a pendent, with a creature's head on it, with the words "#1 New York Times Bestsellling Author Tamora Pierce, Beka Cooper, Terrier, 'Tamora Pierce is a pillar, an icon, and an inspiriation.' - Sarah J. Maas, #1 New York Times bestselling author"
Image: Ember

I love the entire network of friendships that Beka forms in this YA fantasy series. We follow her as she becomes an enforcer and develops a great relationship with the two Dogs who serve as her mentors. She eventually ends up with a whole group of breakfast friends who all live next to each other, some of which are criminals–which isn’t as sketchy as it sounds. And it wouldn’t be a Tamora Pierce story without a bunch of lovable animal companions.

The series does a great job of showcasing these feel-good friendships, however unlikely some of them might be. I absolutely adore the character relationships in these books.

  1. Mistborn: The Final Empire
A woman with a knife flying through the air. The text reads "Brandon Sanderson, The Mistborn Trilogy."
Image: Tor

We get an eclectic band of revolutionaries to follow in this story. I love how different all of them are, how they play off of each other, and how they challenge each other. Vin, as the newest recruit, gets to develop her relationships with these character from scratch. She brings in a new perspective to the group. And we watch as these people go from strangers to her, to mentors, to friends and partners.

  1. The Lions of al-Rassan
An image of four people in a walled enclosure near a fountain. The words read "Author of Tigana and A Song for Arbonne, Guy Gavriel Kay, The Lions of Al-Rassan"
Image: HarperPrism; Artist: Mel Odom

This historical fantasy is based on the Reconquista, when the Christian kingdoms conquered Muslim territory in the Iberian Peninsula. In it, two extraordinary men from different backgrounds meet and befriend each other on neutral ground–before having to return to different sides of a war. The contrast between their regard for each other and the loyalties that bind them to their causes is the emotional heart of the book.

  1. Down Among the Sticks and Bones
An image of a desolate, gray, and rocky landscape with an opening chest and a leaf-less tree. Words read "A jewel of a book that deserves to be shelved with Lewis Carroll's and C.S. Lewis' classics, even as it carves its own precocious space between them." - NPR on Every Heart a Doorway; "Down Among the Sticks and Bones, Seanan McGuire, New York Times Bestselling Author."
Image: Tor

This novella tackles the complicated relationship between two twin sisters. Their story gets to be a little rougher, because they don’t have to like each other. They’re already tied together by being family, and by having no one else who knows the path they’d walked together. The novella is built around the two of them–their history, their contrasts, their resentments. And around the question of what loyalty should be built on, and how far it should go.