In case you are new to the pool book recommendation posts, the recommendation posts are brought to you by Varian, the pool toadshifter who is versed in all sorts of magic! One of Varian’s ambitions is to get better at sewing, hence why whenever Varian invented their latest costume, they will always recommend some books that have inspired them!
It’s almost the end of the year – a time of contemplation, consideration and change. I was thinking of writing a recommendation post to tell about change because, well, change is hard! And scary! Although we say that change is the constant change in life, it is inevitable, and more and more and more, the change is different and new every time again. When I myself face change, I look at books; In their stories, I find solace in the discomfort and some hope that things are going to be okay, even if they are not okay for a while.
Growing up – and even now! – Changes in companies have always been particularly difficult. From being close and sharing your whole life with someone else, to finding yourself the moment you look back and wonder why and when everything has changed, wishing you could go back to where things were better and simpler. Again, I have always sought solace in stories, so I hope the post recommending today’s books will help our friends out there, who may be navigating changes in friendships right now.
When Were Them By Laura Taylor Nami
When they were fifteen, Villa, Luz and Baritone had a friendship that was everything.
When they were sixteen, they stood next to each other no matter what.
When they were seventeen, they went through the worst of it all.
And when they were eighteen, Villa destroyed everything.
Now, the closing week, the villa is left with only a memory box full of symbols of friendship that has almost ruined: a thriller. Courage returns home nightmarish. Oily pizza menu. Greeting cards with words that mean the world … that’s enough to make the villa wonder how something could tear her apart, Hazel and Baritone. But when Villa repeats the moments when she and her friends leaned on each other, she can not avoid the moments when they leaned so hard that the friendship between them began to crack.
While Villa tries to find a way back to Hazel and Baritone, she must confront the reason for her betrayal and answer a question she has never seen coming: who is she, without them?
If you like a quiet YA that explores friendship and change in such a poignant, restrained yet destructive force, then When we were they Will blow you up and leave you breathless.
- The story centers on the best friendships of three girls, who alternate between then and now, documenting their high school years exploring the ups and downs you go through with your loved ones, trauma, grief and love.
- When we were they Asks: Who are we when our friends and their girlfriends define who we are? Who are we – who could we be – without them?
- I just loved following Villa and her best friends on their journey – all the things they go through together, everything they get over. At its heart, this story is about love and how the memory of that love can last, even if the friendships do not.
The Only Black Girls in the City by Brandy Colbert
Beach-loving surfer Alberta has been the only black girl in town for years. Alberta’s best friend, Armie, is the closest thing she has to a sister, but there are things even Armie cannot understand. When the B&B opposite finds new owners, Alberta is excited to find out that the family is black – and they have a 12-year-old girl just like her.
Alberta is sure she and the new girl, Edie, will be fast friends. But while Alberta loves being a girl from California, Eddie misses her hometown of Brooklyn and has a hard time adjusting to life in a small town.
When the girls discover a box of old diaries in Eddie’s attic, they connect to understand exactly who is behind them and why they were left behind. They soon discover shocking and painful secrets from the past and learn that nothing is exactly what it seems.
I love how high school stories explore change, so I feel I must recommend The only black girls in town A stunning and multi-faceted story about growing up, friendship and change.
- First of all, The only black girls in town Is a friendship story. In addition to a friendship story where the characters have to navigate changes, toxic friendships and misunderstandings, there is also this wonderful subplot where the girls find a collection of diaries, full of secrets that also delve into the history and race of the time.
- This book is also about identity, especially in the way people set black white expectations and try to fit them into stereotypes. I loved how the two girls showed that being black could be so many things and that the girls were given a place to be who they are, without apologizing.
- This book does a wonderful job of researching and presenting racism and its various forms, and how today’s racism is very different from the past (as they are learned through journals).
It goes like this by Miel Moreland
Eva, Celeste, Gina and Steph thought the friendships between them were unbreakable. After all, they searched a lot together, including the astronomical rise of Moonlight Overthrow, the world-famous queer pop band they formed in middle school, and never expected the title of something bigger than the district fair.
But after a sudden fall leads to the breakup of the teen band, their girlfriends and Eva and Celeste’s star-studded affair, nothing is the same. Gina and Celeste step forward into the spotlight, Steph is completely gone, and Eva, heartbroken, finds refuge as a songwriter and a secret online fangirl … of her band. That is, until a storm destroys their hometown, and brings together the four former best friends. As they prepare for a final show, they will find out if growing up always means staying away.
In compiling a post recommending this book, It goes like this Immediately came to mind. With the poignant exploration of friendships and how sometimes we drift away – and how we may find each other again – and how we and societies change, this is the perfect read if you are looking for something a little more hopeful.
- Years after a messy fall, ex-best friends gather once again to hold a benefit concert for their hometown, and have to reconcile their past and friendships. The story is wonderfully character-oriented; Each of the Moonlight Overthrow members stands out but also connects wonderfully.
- This book balances sweet and healthy with some fascinating and almost messy emotional things about friendship and makeup. There is also a Sapphire romance of second chance.
- It was so incredibly weird. Eva and Celeste are lesbians, Gina is bisexual, and Steph is not binary and pansexual. It is not just a queer representative at the surface level; The story beautifully shows how queer identity and queer love connect us to others and show the beauty that is seen and understood by us. This book celebrates queerness in such a real and wonderful way.
When You Were Everything By Ashley Woodfolk
Twenty-seven days have passed since Cleo and Leila’s friendship exploded.
Almost a month since Cleo realized they would never be in the Sties again.
Now, Cleo wants to erase any memory, good or bad, that ties her to her ex-girlfriend. But pretending that Leila does not exist is not as easy as Cleo had hoped, especially after she was appointed to be Leila’s teacher. Despite starting a new friendship with other classmates – and very upset about an amazing kid named Doom – Cleo’s stormy past with Leila returns to haunt them both.
Alternating between time lines of then and now, When you were everything Combines past and present into an emotional story about the beauty of self-forgiveness, the promise of new beginnings, and the courage it takes to stay open to love.
If you’ve ever wanted to read a story about friendship breakups – the mess, the bitterness, the longing – then I can not recommend this great book, When you were everything, Enough.
- In timelines alternating between ‘then’ and ‘now’, this book follows Cleo, a black girl who breaks up with her best friend then, Leila, a Bengali girl with a stutter.
- When you were everything Reveals the mess and the pain and the pain in friendly partings while also being empathetic and wonderfully understanding. I also liked that in friendship breakups no one is ‘right’; The two sides hurt each other and also hurt themselves in turn.
- At heart, I just loved a book that was all about friendship; How they are so important and formative for teenage girls, how they can be so healing and wonderful but also hurtful.
Ophelia after all by Raquel Marie
Ophelia Rojas knows what she loves: her best friends, Cuban food, gardening roses and boys – too many boys. Her friends and parents mock her endless stream of crushing, but Ophelia is a romantic at heart. She could not change, even if she wanted to.
So when she finds herself thinking more about the cute and quiet Talia Sanchez than about losing a perfect prom with her ex-boyfriend, seeds of doubt take root in Ophelia’s solid image of herself. Add to that the impending end of high school and breaking up with her once-solid group of friends, and things get a little out of hand. But the course of love – and sexuality – has never worked smoothly. As her secrets begin to unfold, Ophelia must choose between clinging to the fantasy version of herself she has always imagined or raising everyone’s expectations to rediscover who she really is, after all.
And what about a story where you are the one who changed, not your friends? Ophelia after all Not quite out yet – it’s out next year – but will you assure me you’ll read this gem? This is one of my favorite YAs of all time.
- Ophelia after all An amazing story about identity and who you are. How do you tell people you see every day, who know you every day, that you have changed? When did this change happen? And how do you tell people you’ve changed?
- The story is so organic and just so true. I loved Ophelia so much; So many of her thoughts will resonate with readers and the emotional journey we go through with her is truly wonderful and fulfilling. Her friendships are a big part of her life, and that is evident in her story; We really know her friends and their dynamics and it’s wonderful.
- It is also a love letter to those who are queer and to those who still understand it. That it’s okay not to understand everything, that it’s okay to just be.