‘Am I Normal Yet?’: author Holly Bourne talks girl squads, trophy boyfriends and loving yourself

Like Holly, we are totally loving the rise of girl squads. There have never been a greater number of all-girl group selfies appearing on our social media feeds, and honestly, we just want a glam, girly pack of our own. (Adopt us, Taylor!)

Here, Holly, author of new, refreshingly honest novel ‘Am I Normal Yet?’, talks about how girly mates might just be trumping trophy boyfriends these days, and the alternative rubbish feeling of not having a circle of ladies to hang out with.

Read the full article below:

Are friendship squads the new trophy boyfriend?

…and what if you have neither?

Calvin Harris can smoulder and bulge in his pants as much as he wants to. He’s not the part of Taylor’s life I’m most jealous of.

…It’s her squad.

I want to be at her pool parties. I want to be backstage posing for pics. I want HER TO BE MY BEST FRIEND EVER…but more than anything…I really want to nab all of her friends.

Female friendship has never been more fashionable, and I think it’s a marvellous thing. Having a gang of mates who fight your corner, who send you gurning Snapchats when they know you’ve had a crap day, who make you laugh till a bit of wee almost comes out, are the must-have for every girl, now more than ever. Remember Twilight? Remember when we all wanted Edward Cullen to notice us at school? Remember when Bella dumped all her mates to go climb a tree with him while he did creepy things, like watch her sleep?

Well now we’re all looking back thinking, “Bella, why the heck didn’t you hang out more with Anna Kendrick? She was obviously so much more awesome.”

It was this celebration of girly friendship that I wanted to focus on in my trilogy of books – the first of which, Am I Normal Yet? came out this month. My main character, Evie, has just started a new college and doesn’t want anyone to know about her OCD. There she meets two new friends, Amber and Lottie, and they start a feminist group called The Spinster Club.

I didn’t know it at the time, but I got the idea for this trilogy over ten years ago. It was Valentine’s Day, I was sixteen, and me and two other friends were the only single girls out of everyone we knew. So we got together, called ourselves The Spinster Club, and baked cakes and danced to Feeder (Google them, they’re epic) while laughing ourselves senseless.

I can honestly say, it was the best Valentine’s Day I’ve ever had.

We didn’t stay single for ever. Through the years, boys have come and gone from all our lives. But the one thing that’s stayed constant as we’ve grown up is our friendship.

And that’s the thing about friendships. Unlike boyfriends (and girlfriends), they last. Even if you *do* manage to bag the hottest guy in school, it’s statistically unlikely you’re going to marry them. Yes, it happens sometimes, but more often than not you’re left crying, listening to sad break-up songs on the radio, and relying on the support of your friends. Whereas, those amazing friends, they can see you through till you’re old and wrinkly, and pee DEFINITELY comes out when you laugh.

With squads as fun and photogenic as Taylor’s, gangs of female friends are fast becoming the new trophy boyfriend. We all want a squad or a Spinster Club. However, while great friends are epic things to have – we don’t all have them. It depends a lot on not everyone you know at school being a knob. And, if you don’t have a big gang of mates, having Valencia-filtered photos of other people’s seemingly-perfect groups constantly on your newsfeed can make you feel a bit lonely and crap.

Like any enviable item in an aspirational lifestyle, I don’t think people realise the goddamned hard work involved in keeping good friendships going. Yes, I’m still friends with my Spinster Club pals, but we’ve had to work at it. There’s been fights, there’s been tears, there’s been both of us wanting to buy the same dress… Sometimes they drive me mad, sometimes I drive them madder. Sometimes we’ve not spoken for months. Sometimes we’ve gone whole years feeling like we’ve got nothing in common with each other. Sometimes I’ve felt like I have no friends at all, and spent plenty Saturday nights inside, alone, bulk-watching MIC and feeling like the loneliest loner in Lonersville…Though you wouldn’t see all that from our happy photos hashtagged #squadgoals.

Celebrating female friendship is great, but only if we’re honest about it. Honest about the lonely days. Honest about the niggles. Love Taylor as I do, it would be amazing if she would annotate the odd photo with “This took 27 attempts before we found a photo where we all liked how we looked.” Or “What you can’t see in this photo is how angry I am that so-and-so was two hours late and I’m still fuming, but I know, if I bring it up, she’ll call me ‘uptight’”.

That said, what I do love about Taylor Swift is that, pre-Calvin, she did truly celebrate her single status and being alone. She taught the importance of learning how to be happy by yourself.

Because friends are great, and hot boyfriends who bulge and smoulder are great too, but it’s true that the most important relationship you have in your life is the one you have with yourself*. And, as in all relationships, if you’re feeling happy and healthy and loving YOU right now, you’re so much more likely to attract the squad…and bulge…you truly deserve.

*Carrie Bradshaw 2004

Holly Bourne is the author of Soulmates and The Manifesto on How to Be Interesting.

Holly’s latest novel, Am I Normal Yet? is out now. For more follow Holly on Twitter @holly_bourneYA or go to

Am I Normal Yet? by Holly Bourne is available now from WHSmith, Waterstones or Amazon.

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Written by Laura Fulton

Book Channel Editor at MaxPop! Have a thing for the sea and pretty paperbacks. Saved by amazing grace.

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