In The Club

What About Your Friends? Books that Center Friendships

Welcome to In The Club, a newsletter of resources to keep your book group well-met, well-read, and well-fed.

Friendships in books is something I find myself discussing every now and then. I love when I come across a story that focuses at least a little on really developing and fleshing out its friendships because I feel that, for whatever reason, our culture doesn’t seem to value friendships as much as the relationships you have with romantic partners or family. Which is a shame, because sometimes friendships, especially within marginalized communities, sometimes provide healthier and stronger bonds than family or romantic partners can.

This lack of emphasis society places on platonic friendships helps everyone collectively devalue them, and therefore makes them more likely to exit stage left when minor issues come up. That’s why I’ve been loving the recent increase in books coming out that really focus more on platonic friendship. I’ve got a few to share with you today that will definitely give some interesting club discussions.

Nibbles and Sips- Matcha popcorn

I love matcha flavor, especially when coupled with lattes and mochi ice cream, but I’ve never even considered matcha popcorn. The video instructions shown in @chocolate_cacao’s short are fairly straightforward if you’re used to making popcorn from loose kernels. If not, I don’t think I would advise deep frying them like the person in the video does, and if you can make caramel from scratch, you have to teach me your secrets.

Other than that, all you’ll need is popping corn, oil, matcha powder, and white chocolate (I would also say that caramel is optional because there is such a thing as too much).

You’ve Got a (Bookish) Friend in Me

cover of Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow by Gabrielle Zevin; rainbow font over an illustration of a wave

Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow by Gabrielle Zevin

This was thee friendship book of last year. The two friends the story follows, Sam and Sadie, have already known each other for awhile before they come together to make a video game that makes them rich. Despite the money and notoriety that comes with their creation, they still experience all the ups and downs of friendship, love, and life in the 30 years this novel spans.

We Are Not Like Them cover

We Are Not Like Them by Christine Pride and Jo Piazza

It’s such an interesting aspect how this book, told through two different perspectives, has two different authors. Riley and Jen have been besties since they were finger painting, but Jen married young while Riley went after her dream of becoming a TV journalist. Once Jen becomes pregnant, it all hits the fan: Jen’s husband, a policeman, gets involved in the shooting of an unarmed Black teen. And Riley is covering the story, which could potentially make a name for her. The two women — one Black, one white — suddenly find their friendship in an odd stage, as Jen is months pregnant and Riley tries her best to contend with Jen’s husband’s involvement in violence against her community.

cover not Big Friendship: How We Keep Each Other Close by Aminatou Sow and Ann Friedman

Big Friendship: How We Keep Each Other Close by Aminatou Sow and Ann Friedman

I love how this is another book, nonfiction this time, that is written by two people. Sow and Friedman are actually friends, and have been so for the past decade or so. They also run a podcast together called Call Your Girlfriend, which is oh so fitting. In this book, they detail some of their messiest friendship moments — and yes, they get super messy — and some of their best times. No matter how odd or alienated they happened to feel at times within their relationship, through interviews and conversations, they realized that they weren’t alone. This documents the vital relationship that has been their friendship, and it helps readers analyze and preserve their own, as well.

cover of Homie by Danez Smith

Homie by Danez Smith

Smith puts it right in the name with this collection of poetry. In it, they shout out against the inherent violence of a country that is so against otherness, and stresses the importance of friendship to survive. This was inspired by a close friend they lost, so it is a tribute to them as well as an examination of all the good and bad that comes with friendship.

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I hope this newsletter found you well, and as always, thanks for hanging out! If you have any comments or just want to connect, send an email to or holla at me on Twitter @erica_eze_. You can also catch me talking more mess in the new In Reading Color newsletter as well as chattin’ with my new co-host Tirzah Price on the Hey YA podcast.

Until next time,