In the wise words of Leslie Knope, Valentine’s Day is about celebrating romance—but Galentine’s Day is about celebrating lady friends.
(Funny thing, I knew this long before I actually watched Park & Rec at your urging last year!)
Today we’re doing just that with these twelve books that celebrate female friendship. I chose titles from a variety of genres, but the common theme is they show the power of strong female friendships. (There are piles of books that revolve around complicated female friendships … and we’re saving those for another day.)
Whether you pick up a novel, a nonfiction book, or a memoir, I hope you find a Galentine’s book you love here. And I hope you’ll share your favorite titles to add to the list in comments.
Galentine's Day: A Book List for Female Friendships
This is laugh out loud funny, tender, and written in a fresh voice, which you might not expect given the premise. Lilian's husband died in a car accident in front of their house four years ago and she hasn’t been quite ready to move on. Lili is no longer stuck in her grief, but she is in a rut, and generally okay with it: life with her daughters is enough. But when she's given a special project at work to illustrate a book about vegetables, she's signed up for their six-week garden class, introducing Lili (and the readers!) to a delightful cast of fellow gardeners. An unlikely community forms, and no one is quite the same by the time the class ends. More info →
This novel centers around a complex mother-daughter relationship but it's also about the enduring love of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood, a group of friends who stick together through all their ups and downs. Where might Vivi have gone without the Ya-Yas? The story does not shy away from the good, bad, and the ugly, but it's all in service of showing how we can hurt the people we love yet still overcome our flaws and find forgiveness. More info →
A wonderful exploration of four friends who lived in a group home together and formed a found family they dubbed The Invisibles. But when tragedy strikes after high school graduation, they go their separate ways ... until circumstances bring them back together 15 years later. It's their chance at a do-over, but each must decide it’s worth the risk. Great insights on friendship, as well as the secrets we keep from ourselves and others. (Heads up for themes involving attempted suicide, depression, mental illness, and references to past sexual/physical abuse and loss.) More info →
This historical fantasy set in 1899 Paris is part heist, part treasure hunt—with a crew of friends at its center. In this world, the Order of Babel rules. Some people are divinely gifted with Forging affinities, allowing them to change or enhance creation. Séverin, the denied heir of House Vanth, delights in reclaiming the items sold off from his House and tracking down Order items for those who will pay him. He’s capably assisted by Zofia, Laila, Tristan, and Enrique. As thrilling as it is to read about their adventures, read this for the way they look out for one another. More info →
An evocative story of a woman making sense of how moving to Brooklyn as a young girl changed her and her sense of family. Angela, Sylvie, and Gigi are more than August's friends: they’re part of her sisterhood. They go through adolescence together and support each other through tragedy. Woodson's lyrical prose brings the story to life. More info →
Text Me When You Get Home examines the importance of female friendship and is sure to inspire a reflection about how it's impacted your own life. Part memoir and part social history, Schaefer's stories and illustrations show the many ways female friendship has evolved over the years. Don't be surprised if you feel a deep need to call or text your friends to tell them how wonderful they are once you're done reading. More info →
This smart contemporary romance series follows a group of seven friends in Chicago, whose relationships blossomed thanks to Knit Night. They rally around each other no matter what's going on and their relationships continue to be a priority even as they each fall in love. Penny Reid's characters have distinct personalities and quirks and it's delightful watching them grow individually and as a group as the series progresses. You'll wish you could be friends with them in real life! (Heads up: the first two books are on the chaste side, but the series grows in steaminess as it progresses and is considered "open door" after book 3.) More info →
When Amy Silverstein had a heart transplant at age 25 in 1988, her doctors predicted she might live another 10 years at best. Instead 26 years passed, during which time Amy married her husband, lived a full life, and amassed a wonderful collection of friends. Then she learns her transplanted heart is failing and she'll need to undergo another transplant. Ultimately, she and her husband have to relocate to L.A. for several months while she waits for a new heart and nine of her friends decide they will take turns flying out and keeping Amy company while she waits for a heart. This goes on for months! We see not only how her friends relate to one another but also how their bonds grow as they support Amy. A beautiful and loving portrayal of friendship. More info →
I adored this book; I wish I could download it into my brain. Kelly talks in depth about how after her friend Liz was diagnosed with cancer, they both pushed past the surface stuff to forge a powerful and enduring friendship. (The dedication page makes me cry every time: "I wish we could have done this together, Lizzard, though in a way, we sort of did.") This book will make you want to be a better friend, and also give you insight into how. Personal, heartfelt, and really really good. More info →
In this domestic suspense, a tight-knit group of women gather around the backyard fire pit, drink a little too much wine, and stay up way too late. By morning, one of them has vanished, and so have her children. As the authorities (and the women) begin to investigate what might have happened, they find they have more questions than answers, and the husband’s suspicious behavior has them all looking over their shoulders. Did their friend simply run away, or was she harmed, and above all—why? Without giving too much away, I'll say that this book examines the lengths women will go to when their friends need help. More info →
This historical mystery takes its inspiration from a real woman, the first female solicitor in Bombay. When fictionalized, she becomes Perveen Mistry, whose employment at her father's respected firm doesn't shield her from the prejudices and dangers she experiences as a woman. As Perveen navigates a tricky and dangerous case, her best friend Alice is ever-present, supporting her emotionally and providing practical aid. Reminiscent of Louise Penney with the combination of mystery and the strong relational element of this web of characters. More info →
When you think of Anne Shirley, you might be tempted to think of Gilbert Blythe and no one else. (I understand.) But this beloved classic introduced scores of girls to the idea of a "bosom friend" through Anne’s lifelong friendship with Diana Barry. Through the story, we learn about the gift of finding a kindred spirit and how to be a good friend. Countless girls dreamed of finding their own Diana—and perhaps were lucky enough to do so—after reading this series. More info →
What are your favorite books celebrating strong female friendships? Tell us in comments which titles you’d add to this list.