I know what you’re doing. You’re squinting at that title, trying to make sense of it. Does that say “Non-Romantic” book relationships? WHAT? THERE IS NO SUCH THING. THAT’S JUST A MYTH.
WELL. They say dragons are a myth too, but we all know that’s not true at all. They’re somewhere out there. I’LL FIND THEM.
But until then and I become a professional dragon rider, I guess I’ll stick to blogging about mythical things like books having relationships that aren’t romantic.
Now, I do actually like romance in books. I don’t like romance books, as in the romance genre. (Ugh, no. Pleeeeease give me a plot that has more than boy meets girl, boy loses girl, boy and girl get back together THE END. That just puts me to sleep and/or makes me lose my lunch.) But a touch of romance on the side amidst the world ending can be nice sometimes. (Because them teenagers gotta fall in love whilst bringing down planets and saving the universe. Duh. Makes total sense.) And hey, shipping wars are great! I spend an embarrassing amount of time shipping my own characters. I get it! We like romance. We like to fangirl. That’s fine.
BUT. I do desperately wish these books would acknowledge that, hey, OTHER RELATIONSHIPS EXIST TOO. Have books, YA books especially, never heard of the terms “family” and “friendship” and “platonic love”????? Sheesh, it doesn’t even have to be nice relationships. What about sibling rivalry that ends in betrayal and death
over who gets the last taco? Or childhood superpower besties who go their separate ways and one becomes a supervillian and the other a superhero? (<— Yes please.) There are so many types of relationships that can add fun and tension to the story that doesn’t have anything to do with romance.
You don’t believe me do you? (That’s okay. Sometimes I don’t believe myself, I’m so confusing.)
COME. Allow me to turn this myth into a reality!
. . .
Back in July I did a post on 7 Book Character Types I Will Never Tire Of. Because I’m obsessed with characters and lists, I’m going to do something similar today and list 7 of my favorite non-romantic relationships I love to find in books. And I’m even going to list a couple of books (and linking them to their GoodReads pages) under each point to prove that books can have more than just romantic relationships in them! (And make you add more books to your TBR because I’m
evil helpful like that. You’re welcome.)
BROTHER + YOUNGER SISTER
This one has always been special to me. Maybe because I have an older, protective brother myself? But I even featured this type of relationship in my very first story I wrote when I was 9.
There’s just nothing quite like seeing the strong, nice, brotherly type do everything in his power to keep his little sister safe. Whether that’s going to the ends of the earth to rescue her from a supervillian or simply sitting on the front porch with a shotgun to keep those annoying high school boys away. You know, just in case one of them is a sparkly vampire. He knows she could do better. Like marrying pizza or her bookshelf instead. Big Brother knows.
Though the protagonist, Bartholomew, is young, he is very protective of his little sister Hettie. In a world where no one wants anything to do with changelings like them, he has to be. He knows they have to stick together. They’re relationship was precious, and actually is featured a bit more in the sequel, The Whatnot. Let’s just say Bartholomew kind of quite literally goes to the ends of the earth for his little sis…
Peter Pevensie was always one of my top favorite Narnia characters. Why? Because of his protective nature. Aslan knew what he was doing when he appointed Peter as High King. He makes mistakes, but his heart is right and loyalty unmatched. Though I love his relationship with all his siblings, I always felt like he had something extra special with Lucy. She was his youngest sibling after all, his littlest sister. And you know, without a doubt, he’d do anything in the world to keep his little Lucy safe. Their relationship melts my heart!
THIS IS MY FAVORITE.
For anyone who hasn’t heard this term, let me assure you, this is not romance in any sense of the word. It’s a term we fans use to describe those irreplaceable friendships. The kind we all wish we had. Think Sherlock Holmes and John Watson. Shawn and Gus from the TV show Psych. Cory and Shawn from Boy Meets World. You gotta love ‘em! Although, despite having “bro” in the title, this term has become so popular it now means basically any friendships, no matter the genders. But, for me personally, my favorite is still the classic male besties.
This is literally my favorite relationship to find in fiction—books, TV shows, movies. Or to write it in my own novels. I DON’T CARE. JUST GIVE ME ALL THE BROS. (Why do you think BBC’s Merlin is my favorite show to exist? Merlin and Arthur’s friendship gives me life.)
I’m not a big historical fiction fan, but I knew I HAD to have this story because BROMANCE. And oooooh my goodness. This book destroyed me. In the best way possible. Franz and Japhet have been besties since childhood. But things get a little messy when World War II breaks out because Japhet is a Jew…and Franz is not. And just SDLKJDLKJSLJDF. THIS BOOK. If you love bromances and don’t value your heart at all, READ THIS BOOK.
Darien and Jet have a complicated relationship—in that they despise each other the moment they meet. OBVIOUSLY it’s a setup for some great bromance. They bicker and clash and don’t understand each other at all. And then they throw their lives into danger for the other (and then whine about it and question their sanity later). EXCUSE ME WHILE I FANGIRL. This is one of the bessst types of bromances. It’s a popular one, and for a reason. You gotta love those friendships where they actually hate each other and then almost die for each other. #TRUEFRIENDSHIP
THE MOTLEY CREW TURNED DYSFUNCTIONAL FAMILY
This is my second favorite after bromances. You can't help but love a group of utterly messed up and different people coming together and forming a totally dysfunctional family. The Guardians of the Galaxy movies perfected this trope. I mean, who would have thought a pop culture-loving human, two aliens, a raccoon, and a tree could come together and save the galaxy??? But by golly THEY DID IT. Family doesn’t have to be blood. Sometimes talking raccoons and a tree can be family, too!
Occasionally members of the motley crew will form a romantic relationship. But that’s okay. Every family needs a mom and dad, right? (Nate and Sophie from Leverage anyone?) Which is another absolutely fun thing with the motley crew—seeing each person take on a specific family role. Who will be like the father? Who are the bickering siblings? Who’s the baby that must be protected? THERE IS JUST SO MUCH FUN TO BE HAD.
With each book in this series, the motley crew became larger in larger, until we had a team of totally epic people off to destroy the evil queen. AND IT WAS THE BEST. Marissa Meyer did a brilliant job of bringing all the characters together and showing their different relationships with one another. In the end, they were like a well oiled machine, ready to save the world. #SQUADGOALS (Can I be part of the Rampion crew? PLEEEASE????)
Donita K. Paul is a master of motley crews. When you pickup her books, you just never know what types of characters she’ll throw your way. The DragonKeeper Chronicles has it all. From a slave girl, to a crazy wizard, to a rambunctious little girl, to a reluctant librarian, to DRAGONS THE SIZE OF KITTENS. It just goes on and on. And then you get to watch all these unique peeps work together to stop wicked plots and evil wizards and just SIGN ME UP PLEASE AND THANK YOU.
Because you can never, ever go wrong with twins. Boy twins, girl twins, boy and girl twins. I DON’T CARE. JUST TWINS. And they’re especially fun in books because they usually have some sort of magical twin connection and abilities. IT’S FUN. TWINS ARE GREAT.
Albany and Brooklyn are SUPERPOWER TWINS. Which is doubly as awesome as normal twins. These awesome girls have a TELEPATHIC CONNECTION. Ever need to yell at your siblings but they’re all the way across the house? Well, Albany and Brooklyn can just do it WITH THEIR MINDS. So convenient.
Kyrin and Kaden are the actual sweetest. Kyrin is brave and thoughtful and quiet. While Kaden is fun-loving and a little outspoken but just an all around teddy bear. I doubly love him, because, though he’s Kyrin’s twin, he just ooooozes with that protective older brother vibe. But both of them will literally do anything for the other. And I mean anything. (Brb sobbing.) And just SDKJ:KLJSJKDFJ. THEY ARE PRECIOUS.
A PILE OF SISTERS
For some reason I’ve always found those families that have approximately 87 sisters so fun and appealing. I have one sister and we have the bestest of times fangirling and squealing together. But just imagine if there was like 5 more of us?! The house would probably explode in glitter and it’d be fabulous. I’ve always adored Little Women for this very reason. The March sisters’ antics together make me smile every time. I love it when books feature a family of sisters literally flooding the pages with all the girly fun.
And literally every 12 Dancing Princesses story ever, which is why 12DP is one of my top favorite fairytales. But Entwined is the best I’ve ever read. The sister relationships in this one were spot on. Those girls had the best time together. And they were so real. They’d bicker and stay up late giggling and protect each other and tease each other and just YES. Heather Dixon did a phenomenal job balancing 12 girls and giving them all different personalities. Ugh. Now I want to go reread this book…
I mean, duh! This is like the epitome of sisters in fiction. What I especially love about the Bennet sisters is how they each have such realistic and different relationships with one another. Lizzy and Jane are of course the older ones, and naturally closer to one another than with their younger siblings. Mary is very much the middle child left to her own devices. Kitty and Lydia are the immature young ones who influence each other for the bad. The family dynamics are so real. You gotta love them!
THE RELUCTANT ADOPTIVE PARENT + WILD CHILD
So there a man or woman sits, quietly reading a novel, minding their own business when BOOM. They’re suddenly bombarded by some random kid off the street who turns their lives completely upside down and why oh why did this happen to them? They literally just sat down. And now this child they don’t even know is making them get out of their comfy chair and save the world or some such nonsense?
I mean, they can’t say no. They’re a responsible adult. How can they send this parentless child out to save the world alone? What if they forget to bring a coat and catch a chill? What if, horror of horrors, they don’t pack enough food? What if they don’t have the proper equipment and skillsets to destroy their enemies?
You know the drill: Responsible Adult wants nothing to do with Wild Child. Wild Child worms their way into Responsible Adult’s cold, hard heart. They both become better people in the end. We all go AWWWWW!!!
I am always, always up for this type of relationship.
Lord Ballister is a villain and Nimona is a shapeshifting little girl who insists she be his sidekick. What can go wrong? (Read: Everything. Everything can go wrong.) This is actually a graphic novel, by the way. Not something I usually read but UGH. It was so good and epic and destroyed me. (Sidenote: There was a liiittle bit of iffy stuff in it though. Not too much, and a lot was more implied than in your face, but I just want everyone to be aware.)
Miss Drake literally just wants to have a quiet life reading and sipping tea. But, ya know, that’s kind of hard when there’s suddenly a little girl named Winnie bursting into her home and causing havoc, including setting loose magical and dangerous creatures from a enchanted sketchbook and forcing Miss Drake on an adventure to go capture them all. Miss Drake and Winnie’s growing relationship was utterly adorable. And, oh yeah, did I mention Miss Drake was a SHAPESHIFTING DRAGON? Because yes. Speaking of dragons…
DRAGON + DAMSEL
(who is apparently not in distress)
HELLO??? Who needs romance when instead you can be besties with a DRAGON? In fact, I petition all fiction ever just be about dragon besties. The world would be a better place, I guarantee it.
But seriously now. Why does fiction always portray dragons as evil beings trying to imprison and eat damsels? Dragons are rather cocky creatures. Why would they eat people who like them? And, as a girl, I can assure you girls like dragons. It’s a fact. I think in the real world dragons would be flattered by our awe of them and we’d all just be epic buddies.
DRAGON BESTIES FOR LIFE.
Out of sheer boredom of being a princess, Cimorene up and decides to run away and live with a dragon. #MyRoleModel She and the dragon Kazul form a great team. Such as when they need to scare off knights who are trying to “rescue” Cimorene from the big, scary dragon. Um, hello? She just wants to hang with her dragon bestie and read and organize the dragon library all day. (Did I mention she’s my role model. Because she’s my role model.)
After rescuing the heroine, Creel, from a group of bandits, the dragon Shardas offers her a free bed and board in his cave because dragons are very polite creatures. Obviously. I adored Creel and Shardas’ relationship. These two quite literally become total besties. They enjoyed just hanging out and talking and saving the kingdom together—normal friend activities. But seriously, there was something so real and cozy about their friendship. Creel would knit or crochet while Shardas talked or sung to her. I’m telling you, dragons can be very nice, domestic creatures! (Will someone pleeease get me a dragon best friend for Christmas??? *puppy dog eyes*)
. . .
SO SEE??? There can toooootally be epic relationships in books that don’t have anything to do with romance.
Also DRAGONS. Just add dragons in your books, people. It’ll make them 3000% more successful. Trust me.
LET’S FANGIRL/BOY. Name some of your favorite types of non-romantic relationships in fiction! Do we share any? Or have completely opposite opinions? And do you have any book recommendations for me that feature any of these types of relationships? (Particularly epic bromances, motley crews, or DRAGONS???) BECAUSE I NEED THEM ALL.
NOTE: Due to the fact that October is getting away from me and I still have a ton to do to prepare for NaNoWriMo (not that I’m freaking out or anything I’mtotallyfreakingout), I won’t be posting next Monday. But then the next Monday (Oct. 30th) I’ll be finally telling you guys alllll about my NaNo novel! I’ve just got to actually figure it out myself before I can, ya know, tell you about it. *nervous laughter*