Have you ever read about friends in books and found yourself a bit jealous, wishing you could insert yourself into their tight bond? What if you could? Whose cadre would you join? We asked some of our writers to share who they’d want to exchange friendship necklaces with.
Molly Schoemann-McCann: I always enjoyed the friendship between Nancy and her two closest gal-pals in the Nancy Drew series. There was dark-haired, slender George Fayne, the adventurous tomboy, and plump, blonde Bess Marvin, the sweet, pretty worrywart. I just knew that I’d get along like gangbusters with George, who was clever, fearless and athletic, just like I wanted to be, though I identified more with kind, sensitive Bess, who would rather stay home and bake muffins than steal a speedboat and head for Haunted Island. Needless to say, I loved Nancy the most of all for her boldness, her cunning, her tenacity and her great hair—but I often found myself frustrated with her quick wittedness and ability to stay five steps ahead of everyone else. The trio could have used an additional brunette sidekick (like me) who would be known for saying things like, “Race you to the end of the pier, George—and then let’s do deadlifts with the mysterious locked chest we find there!” and “Thanks Bess, but I would definitely explode if I ate another waffle…Oh, ok, one more.” Finally, my presence on the team would help clear up possible plot confusions for other slower-on-the-uptake readers who, like me, got easily lost. “Why are we going down this dark staircase?” I might ask, or “If Mr. Anders says he didn’t take the missing statue, what’s the point of searching his desk while he’s in the other room?” Most importantly, I’d be the one to finally tell Nancy that she was way too good for stodgy old Ned Nickerson. Come on. Somebody needed to.
Ben Van Iten: I’d hang with the characters from The Fellowship Of The Ring. Usually when I am given a new project at work I don’t understand how completing it will really benefit the company as a whole or me individually. But if my boss came into my cubicle and said, “Listen, you have to help this little hobbit guy destroy an evil ring or the entire world will be covered in darkness and you will be enslaved by Orcs” I’d be pretty motivated. Plus, I’d get to meet some of those cute elf girls.
Lauren Passell: I want to hang with the Greasers from The Outsiders! (If you haven’t developed a crush on all of the characters yet, watch the movie—seeing the characters depicted by young versions of Matt Dillon, Patrick Swayze, Rob Lowe, Emilio Estevez, and Tom Cruise will set you over the edge.) First of all, it is out of character for me to be rough and tough like Ponyboy, Sodapop, Darrel, Buck, Randy, and Two Bit, which is exactly why being in the Greaser gang appeals to me. I would get a cool nickname like Somersault Jones and smoke cigarettes and nobody would mess with me and despite my hard exterior I would save orphans from burning buildings left and right. Ultimatey, I really just want to be able to start rumbles whenever and with whomever I wish. My only fear is that by being one of the boys, I will stay in the friend zone when I all I really want (besides the rumbling) is a greaser boyfriend. I would get so jealous if one of them started dating Cherry. She may be prettier than I am, but can she rumble? You know what, though? Whatever. It’s not just the “cancer sticks” or the rumbles or the whole bad boy thing, it’s the overwhelming sense of the Greasers’ love for each other that I want to be a part of. These boys would die for each other (and some do.) And sometimes when I’m hanging out with my cat, I look at him and worry that he wouldn’t do the same.
Dell Villa: Even though my braces came off years ago and I have two children of my own that I am required to keep from burning the house down for no money at all, I would still really love to be a part of The Babysitter’s Club. I contend that there would be a place for me in this elite group of Stoneybrook Middle Schoolers; indeed, somewhere among Kristy’s Type-A personality, Dawn’s California-bred breeziness, and Claudia’s artistic whimsy, I believe I might find my niche. And though I’ve grown accustomed to a more tropical climate in recent years, I would be willing to adapt to Connecticut’s harsher winters. Especially if there were a possibility of taking a cruise with all my best friends to Disney World (like the Club did in my favorite Super Special.) I know there would be hardships and heartbreak along the way, but I would promise to always be Mary Anne’s shoulder to cry on when she has questions about her relationship with Logan Bruno (I am married, after all. She’s what, 13? So much to learn). And I would be a steady friend to Stacey, even as she continually withdraws and reconnects with the group. I would never treat Mallory and Jessi (the Junior members) like they’re kids, because goodness knows they’ve earned their place in the club. And if Claudia ever wanted my help opening an Etsy shop or something, I would totally be there for her. She’s from 1993! She couldn’t possibly comprehend what a killing she would make with her puffy-paint embellished accessories!
Emma Chastain: I want to join the scary but brilliant gang of smart nerds in Donna Tartt’s The Secret History. Like the narrator of that novel, I’d be the nervous nelly going out for lavish lunches with Bunny (and getting stuck with the bill), and wondering, “wait, are the twins having an affair? With each other?!?” My only hesitation: I don’t know if I’d be up for murdering a farmer.
Jenny Grudziecki: I would want to join Howl, Sophie, Michael, and Calcipher from Howl’s Moving Castle because they have a lot of cool adventures. In a moving castle. Who doesn’t want that?
Nicole Hill: As one of those ink-stained wretches who majored in journalism, I went cuckoo for zombie puffs when I delved into the Newsflesh trilogy, a full-fledged look at newsgathering in the time of undead. The books, written by Seanan McGuire under the pseudonym Mira Grant, take place roughly 30 years after the Rising (zombie apocalypse) in 2014(!), and focus on a startup journalistic outfit called After the End Times. This super blog is helmed by an Edward R. Murrow-type sister and her adventurous Irwin—named for Steve—brother. After the End Times produces the kind of hard-hitting content with an insane efficiency over which every digital-age journo kid drools. Minus the constant blood testing that goes on in the post-Rising world, I’d sign up as an After the End Times newsie tomorrow—or next year, if life imitates art. (I mean, c’mon, in the post-series NOOK novella, these scrappy journalists even get to encounter zombie kangaroos. Scoop of the century!)
Amy Wilkinson: This may be blasphemous to admit as a book blogger, but I just started reading J.K. Rowling’s magical Harry Potter series. (Only 15 years late!) Anyway, I’m currently spellbound by Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, and despite being a 30-something woman, I continually find myself wishing I could be sorted into the Gryffindor House at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, if only to strike up a friendship with Harry, Ron and Hermione. They’re loyal, brave and pretty gosh darn funny, too. Ten points for Gryffindor!
Mary Laura Philpott: I think I’d want to hang with Frog and Toad. Those guys have life figured out: flying kites, going swimming, engaging in endless witty repartee. I feel like they’d accept me as their third wheel, because I’d bring a sassy female element to the group. Sure, it would change the dynamics (not to mention the title: Frog And Toad And That Skinny Girl), but I believe we’d all benefit. Toad might loosen up a bit and stop worrying all the time. I could take Frog shopping for an outfit a tad snappier than those frumpy trousers and blazer. Plus, the addition of a new character would open up all sorts of sequel possibilities: Frog And Toad And That Skinny Girl Make A New Sangria Recipe, Frog And Toad And That Skinny Girl Accidentally Board The Wrong Bus In Prague, Frog And Toad And That Skinny Girl Get In A Sarcastic Passive Aggressive Wordfight With A Pushy Saleslady At J. Crew. I think we’d have fun.
What literary group of buds would you want to join?