If there’s one thing I’m a sucker for, on-screen and on the page, it’s a good story about a friend group. Not only are they fun and give you a wide range of characters to identify with, but they also reveal the many layers and levels of the human experience, teach us empathy, and give us a new perspective. Whether they’re about newfound book clubs or longtime love, here are some squads I’d love to be a part of.
I’m a huge fan of what I call “group novels”—books that focus on a few people, usually friends, in a specific place and over a specific period of time. Mary McCarthy, Meg Wolitzer, and Kathleen Alcott are among my favorites, and this past year, Kristopher Jansma joined the fray. Set in New York in the early years of the financial crisis, WHY WE CAME TO THE CITY follows a group of college friends after graduation, and presents some of the most honest and beautiful portraits of relationships I’ve ever read (just read the first chapter—it’s insane). This novel is an unflinching, heartbreaking, and somehow uplifting story about how people change your life as everything else changes around you, and about how a place can do the same. —Julianna
The story of five young women employed at a New York publishing company, this classic electrified readers when it was first published in 1958. Following the women’s adventures with intelligence and sympathy, it remains touchingly true to the personal and professional struggles that women face.
“Like any good friend group, Wolitzer’s novel has a little bit of everything. There’s romance, there’s comedy, there’s drama, there’s sadness, and there’s an undeniable, everlasting devotion to the people you take the journey with.”