True, long-lasting female friendship is hard to come by in books but where it does appear, it's portrayed with a visceral realism that's hard to resist. We only have to read about the unlikely bond between Cee Cee and Bertie in Iris Rainer Dart's Beaches or the tribal loyalties of the Ya-Yas to be reminded of our own brilliant girlfriends.
Just as in life, friendship in literature comes in many different guises. It transcends age (think Evelyn and Ninny in Fried Green Tomatoes) and social divides (Miss Celia and her maid Minny in The Help) and can engender anything from bad dating advice shared over one too many G&Ts - as with Bridget Jones et al - to childhood pacts (Anne and Diana in Green Gables) or the person who helps you fight back and escape a terrible situation, as Shug Avery did for Celie in The Color Purple.
Here we celebrate the most golden literary sisterhoods - the kind money can't buy and no amount of time or bickering will dissolve. Come raise a toast to your own finest girls, as you take a look at female friendship in fiction:
Did we miss your favourite literary female friendship? Let us know in the comments below or on Twitter
Photos: Rex Features