Wednesday, 29 June 2016

TOP 10 BOOKISH SQUAD GOALS

Squads: those sorts of relationships and bonds in fiction that make our real life drab and lonely by comparison, and leave us desolate and nursing a giant bookish hangover.

(Thanks a lot, squads.)

A few weeks back, we picked our favorite bookish tropes - one of which were just such squads. And the response, as you might be able to tell, has mostly been !%!)^!& YEEEES SQUAAAAAADS. Everyone is either writing about them, reading them, daydreaming about them, or some multi-headed, many-limbed combination thereof. (If the latter, congratulations, and please teach us your magic.)

Because we're only human, we are currently stuck reminiscing about them and unfavorably comparing our lives to them. The usual. So to follow up, this week we have picked our 10 favorite bookish squads, and sent ourselves further down the rabbit hole of why-is-this-not-my-life... and now we're taking you along for the ride. Prepare for a hangover.

You're welcome.



1. Court of Dreams (A Court of Thorns and Roses)

Picked by: both!

The true power of a successful squad is to make us nostalgic for something we never had - the pleasure of their company. And in A Court of Mist And Fury, the sequel to Sarah J. Maas's A Court of Thorns and Roses - that's exactly how we felt. While the first book in the series featured a set of individual and largely isolated characters fighting for their own individual goals, in ACOMAF, it all came together magnificently - illustrated quite plainly in "the bastard-born warriors, the Illyrian half-breed, the monster trapped in a beautiful body, the dreamer born into a court of nightmares, and the huntress with an artist's soul". This is a group which came together and fell apart over centuries, which bled and fought together on battlefields, and which knows the steep price of dreams. Nevertheless, it's a group willing to pay it, and go down swinging in epic style. They're equal parts adorable and terrifying, and their love for one another - and for Feyre as the newcomer - is infallible and beautiful. We only wish they would adopt us, too.



2. Dumbledore's Army (Harry Potter)

Picked by: Natalie

When you think 'squad', surely the badassery of the Hogwarts students comes to mind. And it isn't just the Golden Trio, but also every other character fighting against Voldemort. Specifically - Dumbledore's Army and their constant determination, courage and sacrifice for a better world. They are heroes and they not only do what they can with the knowledge they obtained, but they're also fascinating and relatable people. We're all attached and fond of at least a handful of them and would do anything to be a part of D.A. and to train in the Room of Requirement with them.




3. The Raven Boys... + Blue (The Raven Cycle)

Picked by: Lexie

The Raven Cycle will always remain my #1 pick. No one is surprised.

Because in a series with psychics and helicopters and sleeping Welsh kings and racecars and sentient forests, it's the characterization that will always win the day. These characters are tangible, nuanced, layered morsels of delight and tragedy individually - and far more so in a group setting. 

On good days, it brings them closer together. On bad days, some are thrown out windows.

It's fitting, perhaps, that the newcomer to the group of these private school boys goes from "Stay away from Aglionby boys, because they are bastards" to "Blue was a little in love with all of them. Their magic. Their quest. Their awfulness and strangeness. Her raven boys." And that right there is as close to squad goals as I will ever get.



4. The Demigods (The Heroes of Olympus)

Picked by: Natalie

These people don't give up. They're faced with things 100 times larger and 100 times more freakin' scary than a fantasy novel, and yet they show persistence and do what they have to do to win. Hell, they even fight against Gaea, as in the earth. You can't fight anything on earth bigger than, well, the earth. Am I right? Not just that, but their great friendships and relationships with each other are always hilariously  entertaining, and they always have each other's backs.
I also want to point out that they are friendship goals as well as squad goals.




5. The Crow Crew (Six of Crows

Picked by: Lexie

Six of Crows has been described as the squad goals duology - before the second book has even come out. In and of itself, that is saying something.


While it's always endearing to see friends come together and ride off into a sunset - to us dispossessed, the YA market sorely lacked the other kind of squad - the one wherein potential supervillain mastermind candidates put their considerable prowess together to break into an impenetrable fortress... and begrudgingly fall in love with one another as they do. And Six of Crows filled that void masterfully. This is an anti-hero lover's dream, times six, and in a beautiful anti-heroish tandem of morally grey areas and less than noble intentions. I ship it.



6. Fae badass crewage (Throne of Glass)

Picked by: Natalie

If you've read Queen of Shadows, you might be aware of who I'm talking about. We have so many badass characters in this book series, and when all of them get together, all hell breaks loose. Which is always fine by me.
Aelin, Rowan, Lysandra, Aedion, Nesryn and I guess I have to say Chaol (*grumble*) make up an epic team which I can't help but wish I was apart of. The talent, skills and passion they radiate is admirable and how they learn and aid each other through the tough times is wonderful. Although they don't always get along, they get on with what has to be done and put differences aside. Well,there are the odd few comments thrown in there because they're sassy bastard but
I love them. Never change!




7. The Lunar Chronicles Squad (The Lunar Chronicles)

Picked by: Lexie

There's something terrifically endearing about The Lunar Chronicles. Possibly it has to do with fairytale characters thrust into a sci-fi transplanetary quest for justice. Possibly it has to do with sassy androids, aspiring space pirates and wolf tamers. But most probably, its endearingness lies in how well these characters function together, despite being introduced gradually and spaced out over four books. When each new character fills a role we'd never even noticed we were missing before they stepped into it - that's when a squad is truly worthy of the squad title. And this is exactly that case.



8. Le Aliens (Lux series)

Picked by: Natalie

Not everyone is a fan of aliens books but there's no aliens quite like these one's. Let us introduce you to the family of Black (and I'm not talking about Sirius), and the additional crew including the protagonist Katy, who goes from a weak book blogger to a force to be reckoned with #GirlPower.
By the end of the series, there is a solid squad who will blow you out of this world and do it looking hot af (because aliens in this book series are always hot. Of course.)
They will do anything for a better world, to protect their kind as well as the human kind, and sacrifice themselves. True supernatural heroes who I wish I could join but I can't because I'm a puny human. Psh....





9. Victor + Sydney + Mitch + Dol (Vicious)

Picked by: Lexie

In a game of can-Lexie-bring-Victoria-Schwab-and-Maggie-Stiefvater-up-in-every-conversation - the answer is yes. Yes, I absolutely can. And herein lies the proof.


While most of the squads on this list are homogenous, cohesive groups with a clear, common goal - in the case of Vicious, this was very much not so. This is a circumstantial band of misfits if ever there was one: a supervillain with a vendetta, a betrayed preteen, a menacing-looking hacker with a love of chocolate milk, and a stray dog which turns them all into puddles of mush.

That they never intended to be a part of a team but nevertheless became one is possibly their strongest (and awesomest) feature: because each lone wolf came with their own set of survivalist talents, and gets to put them to a very good use when a greater villain emerges.



10. The Heist Crew (Heist Society

Picked by: Natalie

Although it's been quite a while since I've read the Heist Society books, the one thing I do remember is the squad. They have a friendship that is entertaining and they're so much fun to read about. The books are about stealing art back, and the quick minds and brilliance of the characters make a truly strong and solid bunch of badasses who don't care for rules. Who needs rules?
Everyone in the group are great in their own unique ways, skilled and there is even a Fred and George-type pair in there, which are always great in a squad.

I do recommend you read this if you want a light-hearted read, by the way!





Nursing that bookish hangover and a sense of nostalgia yet? If not, you're a stronger android than we are, and we salute you. Androidishly. Because not only do these 10 make us want to be a part of them - they are also just the tip of a pretty giant Favorite Bookish Squad iceberg - and whittling it down to just 10 has been our gift to you.

Feel free to strike back and make our hangovers even worse! Which bookish squads are your favorites, and why? Do you prefer groups which come together naturally and organically, or those thrown together by the nature of the circumstances who come to love one another begrudgingly? Let us know in the comments below.



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