by Miranda Asebedo
Release Date: November 5th 2019
With lovable and flawed characters, an evocative setting, and friendships to treasure, A Constellation of Roses is the perfect companion to Miranda Asebedo’s debut novel The Deepest Roots.
Why We Need Friendship Stories in YA
I think friendship stories in Young Adult (YA) fiction are a vital part of the genre. YA is written for teens, and friendships are so important at that stage of life, when readers are figuring out who they are and what kind of relationships they wish to have both in the present and in the future.
As an adult thinking back to my high school years, my friendships helped me define who I was. The people you surround yourself with in your teen years influence everything from your academic choices to your social ones. I can remember trying to sync up class schedules with my best friends so we’d have the most classes possible together, even if I cared very little about taking a Keyboarding II class. (Though it has come in handy!) When I got my first real job flipping burgers, we commiserated over our meager paychecks, and we celebrated our work ethic with every midnight close that ended in burned knuckles and a sense of comradery that smelled a lot like French fries.
I think fiction is a great way to explore those very important relationships, especially when it comes to learning about and recognizing some friendships that aren’t so good. That’s why I think we need a variety of friendship stories. Not only the warm and fuzzy, found-family kind of stories, which A Constellation of Roses has in spades, or the blushing friends-to-lovers tales, but the messy ones, too. We need friendship break up stories. How do you move on after your best friend dumps you for a new boyfriend or a new friend? Or when an event beyond your control, like a cross-country move, separates you? My debut novel, The Deepest Roots, explores how secrets and fear can fracture even the strongest bonds of lifelong friends if we let them.
We need toxic friendship stories, too. Not only do they help us realize that not all friendships are good, particularly if they put you in situations that are bad for your mental or physical health, but they also help us recognize those toxic friendships in real life. In A Constellation of Roses, Trix’s old friends from the city, Shane and Charly, try to talk her into committing a crime with them, and she has to decide whether or not maintaining that friendship is worth breaking the law and risking the newfound place she’s found with her paternal family.
The real power of fiction, in YA and elsewhere, is that it allows us to survey parts of life that we haven’t yet experienced. It’s a place for readers to safely explore all choices, good and bad. And the consequences for us, as readers, might be a sad ending to a story, or a book tossed on the pyre of DNF, but they might also give us a clearer view of the world and the people we surround ourselves with.