Friends from Home
Jules O’Brien and Michelle Davis have been best friends since third grade, when Jules and her single mother moved from Cleveland to the small Alabama town where Michelle’s family has lived for generations. Now in their midtwenties, the childhood friends live miles and worlds apart. When Jules agrees to be the maid of honor in Michelle’s wedding, she quickly realizes just how different the two have become. Over the years, their passions and politics have diverged, and in the middle of wedding-planning squabbles, they feel more like strangers than the sisters they once were. Is shared history enough to carry their friendship through a lifetime? Disarming and wildly relatable, this novel is perfect for anyone who knows the complex love we have for our friends from home.
Anne of Green Gables
L. M. Montgomery
Spirited and willful, Anne Shirley is the ultimate best friend. Sent to live on Prince Edward Island with Matthew and Marilla Cuthbert, the winsome orphan makes her way both on and off their farm, her bright outlook reminding us of the benefits that boundless guile can bring.
The Sun Is Also a Star
When science-minded Natasha meets straitlaced Daniel, sparks fly between them. Neither snuffed out by the looming deportation of Natasha’s family to Jamaica, nor the rigid expectations of Daniel’s parents, their blossoming friendship—and perhaps more—shows that only the universe is truly in control.
Kayla Rae Whitaker
The friendship between two animators, the quiet-yet-ambitious Sharon and talkatively brash Mel, proves a force for both, propelling them to the edge of indie greatness as they release provocative work based on Mel’s tumultuous childhood. Rife with humor and trauma, it’s equally vibrant and powerful.
Eleanor & Park
Atmospherically set in 1986, this YA read explores the power of that first great love—whether it’s whisked away or lasts for a lifetime. When Eleanor meets Park, they’re both misfits, and as they gravitate toward each other, you’ll be pulled back to your first friendships and everything that followed.
Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet
As the new owner of an abandoned Seattle hotel sifts through a shocking trove left behind—the belongings of Japanese families sent to internment camps—Henry Lee, an elder passerby, is drawn into his own reminiscences, leading him to a long-ago friend, Keiko, and the promises they made.
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society
Mary Ann Shaffer
Juliet finds herself emerging from the depths of London’s wartime tension in search of her next book subject. Drawn by a letter writing exchange to the remote island of Guernsey, the people and friendships she encounters there—first remote, then in real life—will change her forever.
The Secret Life of Bees
Sue Monk Kidd
Escaping corrosive and hateful racism in 1960s South Carolina, Lily and Rosaleen find a perch with a close-knit group of African American beekeeping sisters. Inspiringly written and woven with incredibly potent sisterhood, it’s a book like no other.
A Thousand Splendid Suns
In the midst of war-ravaged Kabul, Laila and Mariam’s friendship proves a constant force of nurturing, support, and survival. Though they’re a generation apart in age, the women’s unlikely bond sustains them, and lights the way for those who come after.
Just ask Christopher Robin and Pooh—friendship shows us the best in each other. These selections showcase some of the endurance, love, and maddening moments that only true friendship provides. This eclectic bookshelf, recommended by RIF readers, might introduce you to a few new literary friends or reacquaint you with some of your time-tested favorites. Whether you read alone or with a friend, they’re sure to make you and your besties happy to have each other.
Featured Illustration: Kate Gavino