Girl of the Year friendship drama: a trope as inevitable as a parent dying in a Disney movie and a McDonald's every ten miles on a road trip.
If you have been living under a rock and haven't read a Girl of the Year book, let me explain to you. The Girl of the Years are designed to be a line of dolls relevant to ten year old girls' struggles today, as opposed to historical events for the Historical Characters. Ten year old girls go through a lot of friendship drama. I can confirm, because I was a ten year old girl once and I went through friendship drama then. To make the stories relatable, American Girl adds in a lot of issues such as friendship drama and extracurricular activities. The problem, however, is that nearly every Girl of the Year goes through friendship drama. Since I'm not ten anymore and have read every GOTY book, it has become less interesting to me and more of, as filmmakers like me call it, a trope. I was thinking about it today, and even though it would be easier to make a list of Girls of the Year who didn't go through friendship drama (Lindsey, Marisol, Jess, okay list over), I decided to make a list of all the situations the majority of the Girls of the Year went through so American Girl will avoid using this trope as much as they do. Well, if they read this blog. I don't know if they do, but I figured might as well try and show how much AG uses this trope.
There are three types of Girl of The Year Friendship Drama: Jealous That GOTY Is Spending Less Time with Friend, GOTY Jealous That Friend Found New Friend and GOTY Has To Make Friends With Mean Person. Since the Jealous That GOTY Is Spending Less Time with Friend trope happened first, I'll list all of those incidents in chronological order first.
Name and Year: Kailey, 2003
Friend Name: Tess
Why GOTY was avoiding friend: Tess broke her leg and couldn't spend the summer at the tide pools like Kailey wanted.
How the conflict was inevitably resolved: Kailey found a way for Tess to help the art collection for the tide pools.
Name and Year: Nicki, 2007
Friend Names: Becca and Kris
Why GOTY was avoiding friends: She was spending time with Sprocket before he left, plus Becca and Kris didn't get along.
How the conflict was inevitably resolved: To cheer Nicki up about Sprocket, Becca and Kris faked a friendship before becoming real friends.
This is a combination of the Jealous That GOTY Is Spending Less Time with Friend and GOTY Has To Make Friends With Mean Person.
Name and Year: Chrissa, 2009
Friends Name: Gwen and Sonali
Why GOTY was avoiding friend: Chrissa became friends with Tara, who bullied her in the first book. Therefore, Chrissa spent more time with Tara.
How the conflict was inevitably resolved: It turned out Jadyn was cyberbullying Gwen, Sonali and Chrissa, not Tara, so the others befriended her.
Name and Year: Kanani, 2011
Friend Name: Celina
Why GOTY was avoiding friend: Kanani was spending time helping at the shaved ice stand and with the elderly.
How the conflict was inevitably resolved: Kanani helped Celina and her new friend out at a surf competition.
Name and Year: McKenna, 2012
Friend Name: Toulane
Why GOTY was avoiding friend: McKenna needed tutoring and befriended Josie, her tutor
How the conflict was inevitably resolved: Toulane learned to be friends with Josie while she helped at a horseback riding center Josie went to.
Name and Year: Gabriela, 2017
Friend Name: Teagan
Why GOTY was avoiding friend: Gabriela embarrassed Teagan when her stutter got in the way of collecting petitions to save Liberty Arts.
How the conflict was inevitably resolved: I'm not kidding- they sent each other limericks on the phone. 2017, everyone.
Name and Year: Blaire, 2019
Friend Name: Thea
Why GOTY was avoiding friend: Blaire was spending too much time planning a wedding, which caused Thea to make a new friend at dance.
How the conflict was inevitably resolved: Blaire talked to Thea face-to-face and promised to spend more time with her.
Name and Year: Joss, 2020
Friend Name: Sofia
Why GOTY was avoiding friend: Joss was trying to join the cheer team and do cheer, which made Sofia angry that they weren't surfing all the time like they used to.
How the conflict was inevitably resolved: Sofia learned to accept and encourage Joss's new interest.
The next round of Girls of the Year will be the GOTY Jealous That Friend Found New Friend type stories.
Name and Year: Lanie, 2010
Friend Name: Dakota
The friend the GOTY's friend ditched her for: Not a friend, but Indonesia. Lanie is jealous that Dakota's in Indonesia.
How the conflict was inevitably resolved: Aunt Hannah comes and makes Lanie realize that there is adventure in her own backyard.
Name and Year: Saige, 2013
Friend Name: Tessa
The friend the GOTY's friend ditched her for: Dylan, a girl from music camp
How the conflict was inevitably resolved: Saige involves Tessa and Dylan in the process of saving art at school
Name and Year: Grace, 2015
Friend Names: Maddy and Ella
The friend the GOTY's friend ditched her for: Eachother. Because they think Grace is being too bossy with their baking business.
How the conflict was inevitably resolved: Grace apologizes to them and listens to their ideas more for the business.
Name and Year: Lea, 2016
Friend Names: Camila and Abby
The friend the GOTY's friend ditched her for: Eachother. Again.
How the conflict was inevitably resolved: Lea involves both of them in solving the mystery of the discovery she made at photography camp.
And finally, the GOTY Has To Make Friends With Mean Person trope.
Name and Year: Mia, 2008
Mean Person Name: Vanessa
Why they had to make friends: Because they had to share a room together at regionals
How the conflict was inevitably resolved: Vanessa confessed to Mia that her dad never spends time with her, and Mia feels bad for her, so they bond
Name and Year: Isabelle, 2014
Mean Person Name: Renata
Why they had to make friends: When Jackie Sanchez invited both of them to go on her tour
How the conflict was inevitably resolved: Renata confessed to Isabelle that her family never comes to her dance recitals, and Isabelle feels bad for her, so they bond
Name and Year: Luciana, 2018
Mean Person Name: Claire
Why they had to make friends: When Luciana almost drowned at youth astronaut training camp.
How the conflict was inevitably resolved: Claire found a way for Luciana to suppress her fear while a team came to rescue her. Also, in book 3, Claire confessed to Luciana that her dad never spends time with her, and Luciana felt bad for her, so they bonded. Sounds familiar? It's because AG solved the same conflict in the same way for the same trope each time.
In conclusion, if I had a dollar every time a Girl of the Year has friendship drama, I would have approximately $15. And we know one thing for sure about Kira: like every predecessor of hers since Nicki, she'll have to go through some friendship issue before inevitably fixing it.