pets in books header

7 YA Books With Animal Friends That I Want to Adopt

There’s nothing quite like having an animal best friend. Well, I suppose it’s a lot like having a human best friend, except better in every single way. The LOVE, y’all. It’s just so pure. I’d be the first to admit that I have a reprehensibly codependent relationship with my own fur baby. Here’s a picture of her being woken up for the hundredth time by me loudly and pathetically sobbing over how cute she is:


If given the option, I would run off into the night and establish an animal sanctuary in an isolated—preferably magical—valley, but until that day comes I’ll just have to settle for squeeing over pretty much any animal I come across in both my literary and real-life travels.

Here are seven of my favorite instances of critter companionship in YA.


Protector of the Small: First Test by Tamora Pierce

The Protector of the Small is my favorite Tamora Pierce quartet (which is saying something seeing as ALL of her quartets are ridiculously amazing). Over the course of four books, Kel manages to attract the company of a veritable bevy of sweet and courageous animal friends, including a flock of clever sparrows, a cantankerous old warhorse named Peachblossom (lol) and a scraggly mutt named Jump. <3’s all around.


P.S. I Still Love You by Jenny Han

And the award for Best Fictional Pet Name Ever goes to... Jamie Fox-Pickle. THAT. NAME. And it fits the little guy perfectly. So much sass, and yet so sweet. He always takes good care of his Covey girls.


The Way to Game the Walk of Shame by Jenn P. Nguyen

OREOOOOOO!!! T_T Taylor’s little black-and-white dachshund was one of the first things we fell in love with the first time we read Jenn’s debut novel. And of course, because dogs are better, kinder, and wiser than humans could ever be, he knew that Evan was good people from the moment he walked into Taylor’s life, even if it took Taylor most of the book to realize the same. (And fun fact, Oreo was inspired by Jenn’s own dog, Noodle!)


The Unexpected Everything by Morgan Matson

Give. Me. All. The. Doggos. Andie may have only become a dog walker because she didn’t get that prestigious internship, but honestly whyyyyy would you want a cushy indoor job when you can get dragged around the neighborhood by half a dozen pups instead?


The Novice by Taran Matharu

I always describe this series to anyone who will stand still long enough for me to shove it under their noses as “If Harry Potter was a Pokemon trainer in Middle Earth,” all of which are things that make my not-so-inner 90s kid persona squee. I want a little demon companion too (especially if it’s a Gryphowl)!


Suitors and Sabotage by Cindy Anstey

Jasper the St. John’s water dog is a big ol’ pupper who is as eager to love literally everyone as his girl Imogene is shy. She’s lucky to have Jasper around to help her come out of her shell. Especially since it is a fateful meeting wherein Ben rescues Jasper from some crumbly ruins that first opens Imogene’s eyes to the younger Steeple brother. Jasper totally planned that on purpose, right? I like to think he did.


The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater

Anyone who has ever been obsessed with horses, liked horses, or even been mildly aware that horses exist needs to read this book. And Dove is the best horse. Steadfast. Loyal. Swift. And she, along with her girl Puck, is out to show all the mansplainers and their fancy magical, murder-y water horses how a real team rides.

How about you, Swooners? Any other YA animals (YAnimals?) you want to steal off the page and run home to snuggle with forevermore?

Author spotlight

Emily S.

Swoon editor, IT girl, customer service representative, Small Council member, the-one-who-makes-the-coffee-but-mostly-just-on-Monday-and-sometimes-Thursday, etc.

See More