You may know it as a romantic holiday for couples who enjoy trading stuffed animals and sharing heart-shaped desserts, but women truly understand what Valentine's Day is all about: each other. That's why this year, instead of spending the evening eating at a crowded restaurant with your significant other, you should spend the night in with your BFF drinking wine and discussing books about female friendship instead. Trust me, when you choose to celebrate Galentine's Day instead of Valentine's Day, the holiday gets a whole lot less cheesy and way more fun.
From National Best Friends Day to Facebook Friends Day, there are plenty of "holidays" that celebrate friendship, there has never been a day set aside to specifically commemorate the female friendships of the world. That is, until everyone's favorite fictional feminist, Leslie Knope, introduced viewers to Galentine's Day, "the best day of the year." Celebrated the day before Valentine's Day, this fake-turned-fantastic holiday has one goal: to honor the amazing women in your life, and to celebrate your special female friendships.
Sounds pretty amazing, right? It seems the women of the world think so too, which is why we've come up with so many different traditions for the way we celebrate Galentine's Day. For this bookworm, though, there's only one way to really let loose this sentimental holiday, and it involves plenty of reading.
Break out a box of chocolates and a bottle of wine, and get ready to spend Valentine's Day with your bookish bestie and one of these 13 books about female friendship perfect for your Galentine.
1'The Year We Turned Forty' by Liz Fenton and Lisa Steinke
In their third book together, real-life besties Liz Fenton and Lisa Steinke weave a beautiful, captivating tale about three friends caught up in the possibilities of what-if. In The Year We Turned Forty, Jessie, Gabriela, and Claire are overwhelmed with regret — over devastating affairs, failed romances, career mistakes — but are given the chance to go back in time to the year that changed their lives. It doesn't take long, though, until these friends begin to see that maybe their mistakes weren't mistakes at all.
2'The Guineveres' by Sarah Domet
In The Guineveres, four young girls share more than just the same name. They share an unbreakable bond of friendship forged from their need for faith and family, something they found in one another. A painful and deeply affecting story about growing up girl, this debut is truly something special.
3'My Brilliant Friend' by Elena Ferrante
One of the most celebrated modern novels about female friendship, the first book in Elena Ferrante's Neapolitan Novels series introduces readers to two of the very best BFFs in literature. Sweet, touching, and unforgettable, My Brilliant Friend is the perfect Galentine's Day read for you and your own lifelong bestie.
4'Friendship' by Emily Gould
The title says it all: this book is all about friendship. Bev and Amy have been BFFs for years, but now that they're adults, they're forced to examine their individual lives and decide, can their friendship really survive adulthood? Because sometimes, growing up means growing apart.
5'You Knew Me When' by Emily Liebert
People promise to be best friends forever, but how long can forever really last? In You Knew Me When, childhood BFFs Laney and Katherine grow apart when one finds success in the world, and the other find themselves stalled in their tiny home town. But when a death of a neighbor brings the women together again, they are forced to look at the wounds they caused one another and answer the question: can time really heal all wounds?
6'Swing Time' by Zadie Smith
All friendships are complicated, and in Zadie Smith's Swing Time, it becomes clear just how complicated they can get. Friends as children, two girls who were inseparable growing up in their London neighborhood end their friendship abruptly in their twenties when it becomes clear one of them has the talent to live their dreams, and the other one has yet to find their calling. An expansive story that spans time and the globe, Swing Time is a lyrical novel you and your best friend will love reading (and discussing) together.
7'The Animators' by Kayla Rae Whitaker
When Sharon and Mel met in college, it was best friends at first sight. Outsiders at school, estranged from their dysfunctional families, and obsessed with all things art, the pair formed a bond that would get them through their university days and into the professional world of animation. When faced with a tragedy, though, their friendship is challenged, and Sharon and Mel are forced to confront those uncomfortable feelings all lifelong BFFS can relate too.
8'The Girls' by Emma Cline
Set against a vibrant background of Northern California in the 1960s, The Girls tells the story of the intense relationship between a lonely teenager and the older girl who draws her into a dangerous world. A violent and seething coming of age story, The Girls might not be the BFF story you thrive to live out, but it's certainly one you're going to want to share with your bestie.
9'China Dolls' by Lisa See
In her New York Times bestseller, Lisa See brings San Francisco circa 1938 to life. The world fair is about to open at Treasure Island, the entire world is on the brink of war, and three young women, all from different backgrounds, find themselves fast friends and allies after meeting at the Forbidden City nightclub. But when the consequences of Pearl Harbor threaten their lives and their safety, nothing is the same again, not even between friends.
10'The Regulars' by Georgia Clarke
Besties Evie, Krista, and Willow are here to teach you an important lesson: be careful what you wish for. In The Regulars, these four friends are just plain, ordinary teenagers. That is, until they find Pretty, a magical tincture that transforms them into gorgeous super models. But like all magic, this one comes at a price, and Evie, Krista, and Willow have to decide if they are willing to pay it.
11'Girls on Fire' by Robin Wasserman
Friendships can be intense, but the bond between Hannah and Lacey in Girls on Fire borderlines on obsessive and violent. After a tragedy brings them together, these two teens dive head-first into a world of chaos and rebellion that leaves them and their community changed forever. A fast-paced, electric read, this is one novel you (and your BFF) won't want to miss.
12'Another Brooklyn' by Jacqueline Woodson
Jacqueline Woodson brings the streets of Brooklyn to life in this poignant novel of girlhood, womanhood, and friendship. In Another Brooklyn, August, a successful anthropologist, returns home to New York to bury her father when a run in with a childhood friend sends her back to her youth. A powerful story about memory, Another Brooklyn is a literary masterpiece you'll want to discuss with a friend.
13'Never Too Real' by Carmen Rita
In Carmen Rita's heartwarming Never Too Real, four friends — Cat, Magda, Gabi, and Luz — have always had each other's backs, but the older they get, the harder it is to keep themselves (and each other) together. But no matter whose career fails, whose family fractures, or whose relationships fall apart, these friends are there to shoulder each other's burdens, speak the harsh truths, and pick up each other's pieces when they need it most.