There are so many books about a man or woman who stands alone against the world, that it is refreshing when I come across one with a pair of friends or partners who work well together. Reading about their dynamic can add another level to the narrative, and they often end up on my favorite reads list. Thanks to That Artsy Reader Girl’s Top 10 Tuesday prompt this week, here are 10 books with fantastic duos that just work.
1. Rob and Cassie from In the Woods by Tana French
By the time In the Woods starts, Rob and Cassie have been working together for years, and know each other well enough to play off of each other in investigations. Throughout the book, we witness the two of them intuit their roles – whether one is the good cop and one is the bad cop, or ones is more empathetic and the other stays focused on the tasks.
2. Bill and Holly from Mr. Mercedes by Stephen King
Bill is a retired police officer who gets drawn back in to an investigation when he receives taunts from the villain of the novel. Holly is a relative of one of the victims, but her unique mix of fastidiousness and creative thinking allows the two of them balance each other’s strengths and weaknesses.
3. Kara and Simon from The Hollow Places by T. Kingfisher
These two made such a fun pair and added a lighthearted touch to what was an otherwise dark, heavy novel. Kara is a recently divorced woman who is still processing the trauma of her marriage. Simon is caring and respects her struggles, while still pushing her out of her rut as needed.
4. Casiopea and Hun-Kame from Gods of Jade and Shadow by Silvia Moreno-Garcia
At the beginning of the novel, Casiopea seems profoundly human and flawed while Hun-Kame is distant in his godliness. However, by the end of the novel they have a unique bond that allows Casiopea to call Hun-Kame out on his mistakes, while he inspires her to be more than she expects for herself.
5. Lara Jean and Chris from To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han
There is plenty of romance in this book, but it’s the friendship between Lara Jean and Chris that I really love the most. They are two very different girls who still understand each other and what they need. I loved the way they backed each other up when needed.
6. Skottie and Travis from The Saint of Wolves and Butchers by Alex Grecian
Skottie is a young woman and a mother with heavy personal responsibilities, while Travis is an older man with few personal ties, other than his responsibility to his investigations. Travis came across as rather autistic to me, and I really appreciated the moments when their different lives and perspectives contrasted.
7. Sally and Gillian from Practical Magic by Alice Hoffman
These two have always seemed like the ultimate sisters to me – Sally wants family and stability while Gillian wants romance and adventure, and yet they are always there to love and support each other when needed. Their two different experiences really played out well as they seek to understand the chaos that slowly creeps into their lives after they make one unfortunate mistake.
8. Keisha and Sylvia from Alice Isn’t Dead by Joseph Fink
I definitely first picked up this book because I wanted a novel where the main character has anxiety. Keisha doesn’t let her anxiety stop her, though, from doing what she needs to in pursuit of her missing wife. Sylvia, by contrast, has been through much more extreme trauma at such a young age, but doesn’t let that keep her from her mission. Though their team doesn’t last consistently throughout the novel, the parts where they are working together are some of my favorites.
9. Kell and Lila from A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab
I have a special place in my heart for reluctant duos, so I really enjoyed the dynamic between Kell and Lila, neither who want to work together, but are forced into a pairing by their circumstances.
10. Anne and Diana from Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery
These two are such classic friends, of course, that this list would be incomplete without them. Anne calls them “bosom friends”, evoking the idea that some people are just born alike at the core. Even despite the ways that their lives and perspectives are different, the two of them remain good friends even as they grow older and their lives diverge.