10 Books About Falling In Love With Your Best Friend
We’ve all been there — one day you’re just going about your business, when suddenly it hits you: you’ve fallen in love with your best friend. Oops. And as someone who has fallen in love with a fair number of her own best friends at one point or another, I can personally attest to the fact that sometimes this is great news — like when that sudden realization is followed by a happily-ever-after (think Ross and Rachel, circa Friends season finale,) and other times it’s a total, unremitting disaster — like when one thing leads to another and your relationship totally implodes (think Ross and Rachel, circa “we were on a break”.) But either way, there’s a book about falling in love with your best friend on this list, just for you.
With summer here, now is the perfect time to think about what your BFFs mean to you — especially if there’s some unrequited romance there that needs attending to. And, with all those summertime love vibes heating up, it’s also the perfect time to indulge in some stories about BFF romance. So here they are: ten books about falling in love with your best friend — just in time to celebrate the warmer weather:
1. Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë
Perhaps the most classic of cautionary tales about the pitfalls of falling in love with your best friend, in Wuthering Heights everything that could possibly go wrong between childhood best friends and love-interests Catherine Earnshaw and Heathcliff does. If you’ve only seen the MTV adaptation (ultimate guilty pleasure) then this novel about miscommunications, unrequited love, and violent revenge is definitely a must-read — especially if you’re looking for any excuse to fall out of love with your BFF.
2. The Yonahlossee Riding Camp for Girls by Anton DiSclafani
Another novel about how falling in love with your childhood best friend can totally ruin your life (sorry, y'all) The Yonahlossee Riding Camp for Girls is about 15-year-old Thea Atwell, a girl who has been effectively banished to the Yonahlossee Riding Camp under tragic familial circumstances — ones that involve a disastrous romance with her childhood best friend (and yes, cousin — but don’t get too caught up in that, everyone was pretty much everyone else’s cousin in 1930.) Needless to say, this is not the kind of best friend romance you want to model your own after — but DiSclafani’s writing is spectacular, so read it anyway.
3. Almost Like Being in Love by Steve Kluger
Shifting gears here, Almost Like Being in Love is the kind of novel that will have you feeling all the (good) feels. You’ll laugh, you’ll cheer these characters on, you’ll fall in love with each one of them yourself, and you’ll be kept guessing until the very end — which, no spoiler alert here, is a happy one. Travis and Craig meet in high school, fall in love, and spend one amazing summer before college together, before parting ways and drifting apart… until 20 years later, when they reconnect and risk everything in order to find out if their first love can last forever. Which all first loves tend to do, in one way or another…
4. Mansfield Park by Jane Austen
Jane Austen is an expert at writing about best friends (and, come to think of it, best enemies) who fall in love and eventually (usually after a lot of drama) get around to living happily ever after. In Mansfield Park the romance between Fanny Price and Edmund Bertram is a slow-going simmer — but after a handful of distractions and some temporary heartache, it’s obvious to everyone that these two friends were meant to be.
5. Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro
A BFF love triangle if I’ve ever seen one, Kazuo Ishiguro’s Never Let Me Go tells the story of Kathy, Ruth, and Tommy — students at a remote English boarding school in an Orwellian setting where some humans are cloned and harvested for the benefit of others and, naturally, true love is the only way to escape an undesirable fate. As students, Ruth and Tommy fall in love — but when Ruth reveals her love isn’t as pure as it was once believed to be, Kathy and Tommy begin the romance that was always meant to be. At the heart of this book is that eternal question of whether or not love is strong enough to save you from your fate.
6. The Newlyweds by Nell Freudenberger
Amina Mazid and George Stillman go about the whole “best friends falling in love” thing all wrong — first of all, because they don’t actually start out as best friends. After meeting online, the two agree to marry, if not romantically, then amicably. George needs a wife, and Amina is desperate to leave her life in Bangladesh and immigrate to the United States. But each is hiding their lingering first loves — Amina’s with her childhood best friend back home — from one another. Over the course of their marriage, separation, and reunion, George and Amina become friends, lovers, enemies, lovers, and friends again, in a way that any married best friends will find totally relatable.
7. Her Name in the Sky by Kelly Quindlen
I seriously love this novel, which tells the story of two best friends — Hannah and Baker — whose lives in their conservative, religious small town prevent them from pursuing their romantic attraction to one another. Each endure pressure to feel attracted to the boys who show interest in them instead, but in their hearts they know they only have eyes for one another. This book will remind you, best friends or not, that love totally wins.
8. Anne of the Island by L.M. Montgomery
What began as teasing and hair-pulling, and grew into a friendly academic rivalry, turns into full-blown romance in Anne of the Island, the third book in L.M. Montgomery’s beloved Anne of Green Gables series. When Anne Shirley finally leaves rural Avonlea for a university in the city, her childhood friend Gilbert Blythe follows her, determined to win her heart once and for all. There’s a reason I’ve read these books over and over again, and the evolving romance between these two is definitely it.
9. Brokeback Mountain by Annie Proulx
This book is so damn painful, it’s hard to even write about. When Ennis del Mar and Jack Twist meet one summer, their instant friendship quickly becomes something more. But in the world-weary, blistered mountain landscape from which they come, romance between two men is beyond impossible. They marry women, have children, and try to remain friends — but their love for one another is irresistible, life-altering, necessary. And totally heartbreaking.
10. Emma by Jane Austen
You knew Jane Austen was going to land on this list at least twice, so we’ll let her round it out with the story of Emma Woodhouse — admittedly one of my favorites of all Austen’s heroines. Emma is just delightfully, disastrously meddlesome, nosing about the romantic lives of everyone she knows, even though she claims to have little desire for love and romance herself. But as her lifelong friend George Knightley continues to call Emma out on her interfering ways, the pair realize their love might be the most anticipated romance of all. Austen is just so good.
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