August 8, 2016

Friendship Festival: On Friends & Favorites

Being a part of this wonderful online book community has been a true blessing, particularly because it has introduced me to some of the best people I know. I'm so lucky to be able to call Rachel & Kelly two of my best friends, and I'm so thrilled we're teaming up again to bring you our Friendship Festival. We wanted to celebrate friendships, ours included, and since August 7 was Friendship Day, we decided to host our event through the week after! Stay tuned for the posts we'll be bringing you this week!

Today is the official kick-off for our Friendship Festival! First things first, let me talk about my friendships with Rachel & Kelly, so that you've got an idea where all of this actually started. I actually became friends with the two of them separately, but both friendships began the same way - through Twitter. I was quite chatty on Twitter after I got the hang of it, and I believe that the first conversation I ever had with either of them was on Twitter. 

(In case you're wondering what the tweets are about, the first conversation I ever had with Rachel was about the fact we both lived near New York; the first conversation I ever had with Kelly was about Code Name Verity.)

Anyway, I've talked about how Rachel & I became friends before (and I talked about friendship too!), but in case you were wondering, we actually ended up meeting for the first time in person at a Books of Wonder event featuring Gayle Forman, Melina Marchetta and Kristin Cashore! (It was a really good event, by the way.) We were with our friends Estelle and Sash, and we all got dinner afterwards! That's when our friendship was cemented, really, because I found out Rachel was Filipino-American and our shared cultural history was definitely something we chatted about. It also helps that we're a lot alike in personality! We began to talk and chat and tweet nearly every single day afterwards - and that's something that hasn't changed. Whether it's consulting her for her opinion on an upcoming purchase, ranting about something that's on my mind or just telling her what's going on with my day, I honestly can't imagine life without her in it!

Now, Kelly & I have a lot of similarities, but I think what strikes me the most about our friendship are our differences and the fact that we get along so well all the same. She's the kind of friend I never thought I would have in my life - fierce, frank, funny, and fearless. I admire her courage, her strength, her loyalty and her unfailing ability to stand up for what she believes in. I'm always inspired by her travel adventures as well, and get to feel like I'm living vicariously through her! Plus, she is always there whenever I need to dump a load of book feels (and I've went through some very torturous (in the best way) ones when reading her recommendations), or a lot of real life feelings and she'll both listen and tell me what she thinks. I obviously love her to pieces and treasure her friendship! 

While majority of our friendship is conducted online or through text (Fun fact: Kelly & Rachel are two of the small group of people who kept in touch consistently with me when I went home for my wedding in 2013!), we did get to meet briefly at BEA 2013 for the first time at the Teen Author Carnival. What's even better is that in the years to follow, I got to spend a lot of time with her - at BEA 2015, on my birthday, a trip down to PA, and a trip to Book Barn. Even though she and I actually rarely get to see one another, we always make the most of our methods of communication to keep the friendship going strong!

I'm incredibly grateful to be friends with both of these amazing ladies. They challenge me to be a better person, they are both always there for me when I need someone to talk to, and they just happen to be spectacularly talented and inspiring individuals. I definitely feel like my life is a better place with them in it, and I don't foresee that changing anytime soon!

In addition to sharing a little bit about our friendship, we're talking about some of our favorite fictional friendships today! Without further ado, here are three of my favorite friendships - one from books, one from television and one from the movies.

Fave Book Friendship: Lena, Tibby, Carmen & Bridget / The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants
I just love this series so damn much. It's been ages since I've reread it, but I hold the friendship that these four gals share so close to my heart - and not just because it is ridiculously magical that they have a pair of pants that they mail around to each other during their summers apart. I just really loved the way that Brashares portrays their friendships. There is such a strong history that binds them all together, in spite of them being very different individuals with a variety of interests. And yet, this doesn't mean their friendship is perfect either, as they go through their fair share of growing pains and misunderstandings. Friendships are not stagnant things, and this series, more than any other I've known really showcases that. (I almost picked the film adaptations for the movie category as well, because I love them so, so much. I think that they capture the essence of the novels incredibly well, and I also love that the four actresses in it are actually besties in real life!)

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Fave TV Friendship: Aang, Katara, Sokka, Appa, Momo, Toph, Zuko, Suki / Avatar: The Last Airbender
I binge watched this show last year and loved it, and one of the major reasons why was because of the relationships in it. I'm pretty damn in love with Team Avatar (as they eventually moniker themselves), and their group has some fun dynamics to it. There are definitely ups and downs in their relationships with one another, and their unity as a group, but all in all, I feel like they just work together as a cohesive team with only one goal in their minds. They made me laugh, they made me cry and yes, occasionally, they made me furious - but my emotional investment in the "Gaang", as they are affectionately called by fans, is 100%. Love this group of people and their friendship!

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Fave Movie Friendship: Samantha, Roberta, Teeny & Chrissy / Now & Then
I'm always drawn to this film time and again, and it is, in large part, due to how realistically friendship is portrayed in it. The girls in the film are at a time in their lives where they are in transition. There are plenty of changes - in appearance, in circumstance, in relationships - that come at them from all sides, and of course, that definitely has an effect on their close-knit friendship. I like that the film explores the group dynamic through these growing pains; I also like that we play witness to pair dynamics within that group. Again, it's one of those stories that shows how friendships grow and change as the people involved grow and change, and I love the realistic nature of that.

And there you have it, friends, a little bit about my friendship with the two ladies I am collaborating with for this event and some of my favorite fictional friendships! Don't forget to go and check out Rachel's post & Kelly's post as well, and come back on Wednesday for more friendship festivities. And feel free to tell me - which fictional friendships are your favorite in books, TV or movies?


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