6 YA Toxic Friendships That Are #Relatable

March 27, 2019
Rachel Berquist

Not every friendship is full of supportive emoji ridden texts, Starbucks runs, and late-night movie marathons. Instead of “I’ll be there” as a theme song, some friendships should use Britney Spears’ “Toxic” instead. Read this list for the toxic friendships that we can only hope we learned something from.

6 YA Toxic Friendships That Are #Relatable

1. Sasha – Bad Girls with Perfect Faces by Lynn Weingarten

It’s not easy seeing your best friend get back together with a cheating ex who doesn’t deserve them. By the way, Khloe Kardashian, we’re here for you. So although Sasha may want what’s best for her best friend Xavier, no solution to a problem ever involves cat-fishing. Sasha and Xavier are far from model best friends, but their toxic relationship does create a satisfying read you won’t be able to put down.

2. Anna and Elise – Dangerous Girls by Abigail Haas

Inspired by the Amanda Knox and Natalee Holloway cases, best friends Anna and Elise embark on a spring break trip that ends with Elise murdered and Anna charged with the crime. Filled with jealousy, infidelity, class and privilege and so much more, Anna and Elise’s unhealthy relationship will keep you turning the page, and glad the worst thing your best friend ever did was forget your birthday.

3. The MRA Guys – The Nowhere Girls by Amy Reed

Three friends, Grace, Rosina, and Erin, decide to enact revenge when they learn a former female student was run out of town after she accused three boys of gang rape. The friends band together and create a movement in their school by convincing all of the female students to abstain from sex with their male peers as protest. They incite the ire of a MRA (Men’s Rights Activist) Group at the school, who for obvious reasons, doesn’t approve of the protest. The boys in the MRA group have an entire network of toxic friendships, because their group promotes intolerance and hatred, and their culture of silence does not foster any kind of supportive and loving environment. Their toxicity is definitely not one we hate to love, but one that is a reminder of why we can’t stop fighting for equality.

4. Veronyka and Val – Crown of Feathers by Nicki Pau Preto

Okay, so while Veronyka and Val are sisters, all siblings are basically related friends, and their relationship is…complicated. Veronyka never wanted the throne to come between her and her sister, but after a shocking betrayal she disguises herself as a boy and becomes a Phoenix rider. Val is controlling and overbearing, and her relationship with Veronyka suffers because of it. However, there is a lot of love between these two, and they’re both badass in their own right, so even though their relationship is toxic, it’s complicated, and it’s one you’ll definitely be rooting for to change.

5. Ruby, Gavin, Parker, Brett, and Juniper – This Lie Will Kill You by Chelsea Pitcher

A year after one of their friends dies at a party, five teens are invited to a mysterious mansion for a chance to win $50,000. It seems someone is pulling an “I Know What You Did Last Summer” and enacting their revenge to find the truth. Usually the best of friends aren’t involved in a complicated murder plot, so while This Lie Will Kill You won’t give you squad goals, it’s CLUE meets RIVERDALE plot will have you hooked.

6. Zorie and Reagan – Starry Eyes by Jenn Bennett

Zorie and Reagan have been friends since they were little kids, but as they grow up, their friendship becomes anything but healthy. Reagan manipulates and excludes Zorie on numerous occasions, and even starts hooking up with the guy Zorie has had a crush on since, like, forever. After trying to force Zorie to get into a relationship with a guy she hates and revealing that the whole time Zorie has been trying to make it happen with Brett, Reagan has been fooling around with him on the side, Reagan abandons Zorie in the middle of the forest. LITERALLY. In the middle of the forest. This toxic friendship ends with Zorie relying on the guy she hates for survival, and if I were her, I’d be thinking twice about who I want to sit with at lunch from now on.


YA books are so great for understanding relationships. Check out this list of complicated female friendships that are #relatable.

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