There is something about crisp fall weather, together with a back-to-school period, that brings to mind my favorite coming-of-age books. The best coming-of-age short stories include young protagonists learning extensive life courses and finding their place in the world as they travel to adulthood.
Some coming-of-age books are reassuring and sweet, but others tackle tough topics and traumatic events that shape their lives. Now I am sharing a few of the Best Coming-Of-Age Books with unforgettable characters and classic themes. This listing comprises a mixture of nostalgic comfort reading and hard-but-hopeful stories.
Table of Contents
- 1 Top Rated Best Coming Of Age Novels To Read
- 1.1 The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini
- 1.2 Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit by Jeanette Winterson
- 1.3 My Instruction by Susan Choi
- 1.4 Breaking the Tongue by Vyvyane Loh
- 1.5 White Teeth by Zadie Smith
- 1.6 The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros
- 1.7 To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
- 1.8 The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
- 1.9 The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
- 1.10 The Young Team by Graeme Armstrong
- 1.11 All the Pretty Horses by Cormac McCarthy
- 1.12 A Girl’s Own Story by Edmund White
- 1.13 Great Expectations by Charles Dickens
- 1.14 The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
- 1.15 Shotgun Lovesongs by Nickolas Butler
- 1.16 Forever by Judy Blume
- 1.17 The End of Everything by Megan Abbott
- 1.18 How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents
- 1.19 My Brilliant Friend: Neapolitan Novels, Book One
- 1.20 Marilou Is Everywhere
- 1.21 The Water Cure
- 1.22 Request Again, Yes
- 1.23 Red in the Bone
- 1.24 Call Me From Your Name by André Aciman
- 1.25 Black Swan Green by David Mitchell
- 1.26 The Autobiography of Red by Anne Carson
- 1.27 Sag Harbor by Colson Whitehead
- 1.28 Tell The Wolves I’m Home by Carol Rifka Brunt
- 1.29 The Last Illusion by Porochista Khakpour
- 1.30 The Residue Years by Mitchell S. Jackson
- 1.31 Every Other Weekend by Zulema Renee Summerfield
- 1.32 Juliet Takes A Breath by Gabby Rivera
- 1.33 The Housekeeper And The Professor by Yōko Ogawa
- 1.34 Lottery by Patricia Wood
- 1.35 Your Heart Is A Muscle The Size by Sunil Yapa
- 1.36 American Street by Ioi Zoboi
- 1.37 Silver Sparrow by Tayari Jones
- 1.38 The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
- 1.39 A Quiet Kind Of Thunder by Sara Barnard
- 1.40 Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston
- 1.41 Binti by Nnedi Okorafor
- 1.42 The Goblin Emperor by Katherine Addison
- 1.43 The Book Of Lost by John Connolly
- 1.44 Born A Crime by Trevor Noah
- 1.45 The Woman Warrior by Maxine Hong Kingston
- 1.46 All Souls: A Family Story From Southie by Michael Patrick Macdonald
- 1.47 A Wrinkle In Time by Madeleine L’Engle
- 2 What’s Your Favorite Coming-Of-Age Novel?
Top Rated Best Coming Of Age Novels To Read
When a child first catches adults out – when it first walks into his grave little head that adults don’t always have divine intelligence, that their judgments aren’t still wise, their thinking true, their sentences – his world falls into panic desolation. The gods are lost, and all safety went’ John Steinbeck, East of Eden.
Writers and readers return to the topic of growing up. The perplexing, challenging, and exciting trip from child to adult provides writers with unlimited material. Below is the best coming of age books for adults about growing up.
The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini
Since the debut novel of author Khaled Hosseini, The Kite Runner centers on two childhood friends from various castes and their inextricable bond during dangerous times. Set throughout the fading Afghan monarchy, the book follows two boys of distinct classes through raising ethnic, political, and spiritual turbulence.
Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit by Jeanette Winterson
Author Jeanette Winterson brings on her strict religious upbringing to present readers to Oranges aren’t the Only Fruit’s multipurpose character, that renders the church (which contains her home and family) in 16 to dedicate herself into a girl she is assumed to convert.
My Instruction by Susan Choi
Regina Gottlieb was wary of Professor Nicholas Brodeur’s womanizing ways before starting graduate studies in an elite college. But she had been utterly blindsided by his spouse. My Instruction follows Regina’s missteps for 15 decades, beginning at the bedroom.
Breaking the Tongue by Vyvyane Loh
On the verge of the Japanese invasion during WWII, Singapore, Claude, a Chinese boy, lifted on Western ideals, has to learn how to take his legacy, such as learning his native language. Writer Vyvyane Loh instills an equally political and personal story throughout Claude and his loved ones that ask readers exactly what role language plays in our perceptions.
White Teeth by Zadie Smith
Friendship, love, war, and cultures mingle throughout the lives of two friends-post-WWII veterans-and their own families. While one grapples with his son’s spiritual apathy, another struggle with self-worth. White Teeth, a debut novel by Zadie Smith, takes readers to the lives of post-war London.
The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros
The House on Mango Street is aggressive and fair, however poetic and moving, touching inequality and intersectionality. It is broken up into vignettes narrated by Esperanza, a spirited and powerful teenage girl who takes on a little of an insider/outsider function. Read it if you’re able to!
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
This American classic is a must-read. In To Kill a Mockingbird, readers see and grapple with excitement through the eyes of a wise-beyond-her-years little woman, Scout. Author Harper Lee’s story approach makes it more precious for children, parents, and everybody in between.
The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
The Hate U Give was motivated by the Dark Lives Issue motion. In the middle of this narrative is a teenaged girl from a low area who attends a fancy prep school and attempts to balance two worlds following police who fatally shoot her best buddy. It is a resonant must-read that feels particularly topical at the 2021 political climate.
The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
In case you haven’t fulfilled Holden Caulfield. However, you are in for a treat. Centered around among America’s most beloved literary characters, this novel is entirely entertaining. It opens with Caulfield falling from prep school, and we join his venture to New York City’s wealthy society. If you are sick of this phoniness of an entire grown-up world, Caulfield is your protagonist to commiserate with. He will also help you enhance the pleasure and beauty of all.
The Young Team by Graeme Armstrong
From the deserted heartlands of Scotland, your mates, your young team, they are everything you have got. At two, Azzy Williams is a rising star. At seventeen, he is out of control. And by twenty-one, he’d love to leave it behind. However, finding a way out is not simple.
The Young Team is a lively publication, filled with their devotion, violence, and laughs of existence on the roads. This intense story about the realities of life for young people in Britain is motivated by the writer’s own experiences of adolescent life.
All the Pretty Horses by Cormac McCarthy
McCarthy’s Border Trilogy starts with the narrative of 16-year-old John Grady Cole, the past bemused survivor of long generations of Texas ranchers. Finding himself cut off from the only life he’s ever desired, he lays out for Mexico along with his buddy Lacey Rawlins.
Befriending a third boy en route, they find a nation beyond their imagination, barren and beautiful, rocky yet densely civilized, a place where dreams are paid for in blood.
A Girl’s Own Story by Edmund White
The narrative of a young boy growing up in the fifties in an American city. Beset by aloof parents, a husband, and persistent mocking from his peers, our unnamed narrator struggles with his heritage, seeking consolation in literature and art, and within his very own fantastic imagination.
Great Expectations by Charles Dickens
Probably the most well-known bildungsroman ever composed, the story of Pip’s journey from his humble roots to an unexpected life of wealth and privilege. The painful and humbling lessons he learns along the way remain one of Dickens’ most well-known books.
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
The traditional coming-of-age book, where teenaged misfit, Huckleberry Finn, and Jim, an escaped slave, set off to find independence in Mississippi. They experience difficulty at every turn, from flooding and gunfights to armed bandits and the extended arm of the law. Through it, all of the friend’s stick – may Huck and Tom free Jim from slavery once and for all?
Shotgun Lovesongs by Nickolas Butler
A big-hearted narrative of small-town lifestyle that questions if you can indeed come home. Henry, Lee, Kip, and Ronny grew up together in rural Wisconsin. Friends since childhood, their lifestyles began the same way, but have since taken different paths. Now all four are back in town for a marriage, all of them hoping to recapture their previous closeness but not able to escape just how much has changed.
Forever by Judy Blume
Still, the very fair account of first love, first sex, and first heartbreak ever composed for adolescents. It was a book before its own time – and stays, after twenty-five years in print, among the very best, most densely relatable female coming-of-age books ever written.
The End of Everything by Megan Abbott
A dark, smart thriller about teenagers want and mature complicity.
A close-knit road, the clink of glass on glass, summertime. Two women on the edge of adolescence, throwing cartwheels on the grass. Two women tell each other everything. Until one shimmering afternoon, one of them disappears.
How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents
Envision the four March sisters of Small Girls since the four García girls fleeing the Dominican Republic for New York in 1960, and you have got The García Girls Lost Their Accent. When their dad becomes an enemy of this nation, Carla, Sandra, Yolanda, and Sofía García are compelled to NYC-and thus begins a constant push and pull between their older, comfortable culture, along with the intoxicating flashiness of the new environment.
My Brilliant Friend: Neapolitan Novels, Book One
So detailed it sounds real, Elena Ferrante’s ambitious four-book saga shatters precedent for coming-of-age stories using its meticulous psychological honesty. Lila Cerullo and Elena Greco fulfill as young women in post-war Naples, and the two take various approaches to imagine. They then are pursuing lifestyles that are larger than the path predetermined by their own stiflingly patriarchal community.
Despite their differences, the smart girls have one big thing in common: Their complex connection is the fuel that drives them. My fantastic Buddy is where Elena and Lila’s decade-long dating begins.
Marilou Is Everywhere
Neglected by her mother, dismissed by her preoccupied elderly sisters, 14-year-old Cindy is searching for outside, for focus. . .for anything more significant. The disappearance of all Jude VanderJohn might be a catastrophe for her Pennsylvania city, but it is also an opportunity for Cindy to change her plight. Cindy spends some time with Jude’s addled mother and is drunk with the sense of being hammered for the very first time.
Finally, she attempts to shoot Jude’s place. This is one woman’s journey to understanding her things; Marilou is Everywhere is an outstanding novel. With phrases so glistening and mental profiles so astute, you will hardly believe it’s Smith’s introduction.
The Water Cure
All of Grace, Lia, and Sky all know of this planet is that the perimeter of the isolated island and the tales their parents have informed them. The mainland is filled with harmful toxins, and their dad knows the remedy for them. Nevertheless, while their dad vanishes and the men arrive at the island for the first time, the three sisters are made to overthrow his mythology-quickly. A haunting, dystopian coming-of-age narrative.
Request Again, Yes
Back in Ask Again, Yes, just two neighboring households are reluctantly but irrevocably connected using an act of violence. As the households’ adults have been left reeling, their teenage kids -Kate Gleeson and Peter Stanhope-come together as their own lives revolve around precisely the similar tragedy.
However, how can Kate and Peter ever grow up if they are continually dealing with the youth’s fallout? Mary Beth Keane’s personalities, and their psychological arcs, are so vividly left they look real.
Red in the Bone
Coming-of-age books are generally giant tomes, but child lit superstar Jacqueline Woodson defies the tendency with Red in the Bone. Woodson handles to match the narrative of a mom and daughter’s travel in just 208 pages. Told through alternating relatives’ perspectives, Red in the Bone monitors the consequences of a 16-year-old’s unexpected pregnancy.
Call Me From Your Name by André Aciman
Should you read this area, you will understand that I am a lover of Call Me From Your Name, an ideal, profoundly inside the book, steeped in want. About a young guy who falls in love with an older guest also finds a little bit about himself-and love and loved ones – at the process, which sounds a bit trite, as I look at it. However, this novel isn’t – it is too deeply felt because of that.
Black Swan Green by David Mitchell
While Mitchell remains best known for Cloud Atlas, readers shouldn’t sleep on his semi-autobiographical 2006 novel covering a season -well, ten months. To be exact, every recounted in one chapter-in the lifespan of a thirteen-year-old boy having a stammer. That is a quiet novel, particularly compared to the remainder of Mitchell’s oeuvre.
Still, it catches an extremely particular, ever-changing minute in life with emotion and compassion -rather than a little interest in the speech, making it all fit together.
The Autobiography of Red by Anne Carson
In poetry, Carson’s book features an unlikely subject for coming-of-age: Geryon, the giant monster of Greek mythology (metaphorically, at least) who, tormented by an abusive brother and a mommy too feeble to protect him, falls in doomed love with a dashing young guy named Herakles. However, regardless of the unknown type, vague translations, and magic thinking, few coming of old stories are more affecting.
Sag Harbor by Colson Whitehead
Sag Harbor is proof that Colson Whitehead can do everything -gut-wrenching historical fiction, genre-bending zombie books, and classic coming of age (among other items ). In this humorous, enjoyable book -that’s less plot, and more concern for speech than his latest blockbusters-15-year-old Benji spends the summer of 1985 in (you guessed it) Sag Harbor, attempting to work himself out and the world using a string of low-grade hijinks. An ideal, elegiac summertime read.
Tell The Wolves I’m Home by Carol Rifka Brunt
There is just one person who has truly understood fourteen-year-old June Elbus, her uncle, the celebrated painter Finn Weiss. Shy at college and remote from her older sister, June could be in Finn’s business; he’s her godfather, confidant, and best buddy. When he dies, much too young, of a mysterious ailment her mum can hardly talk about, June’s entire world is turned upside down.
However, Finn’s passing brings a surprising familiarity into June’s lifetime -somebody who will assist her heal and also to wonder what she believes she understands about Finn, her loved ones, as well as her own heart.
The Last Illusion by Porochista Khakpour
“Within an undercover village, Zal’s demented mother, horrified by the pallor of the hair and skin, is convinced she’s given birth to some white demon.’ She hides him in a birdcage for another decade. Rescued with a behavioral analyst, Zal awakens in New York into the possibility of a future. An unfit teenager, he strives to become human as he stumbles toward maturity.”
The Residue Years by Mitchell S. Jackson
“The Residue Years switches between the viewpoints of a young guy, Champ, along with his mother, Grace. Grace is only from a drug therapy program, attempting to stay clean and get her children back. Champ is attempting to do right with his mother and younger brothers and fantasizes about regaining the only real home he and his family have shared. But promoting crack is the only sure way he understands to attain his dream. Within this world of few options and little chance, in which love is the power and your weakness, that family struggles for family and against what rips you apart.”
Every Other Weekend by Zulema Renee Summerfield
“Set in the sun-scorched suburbs of late 1980s Southern California, Each Other Weekend follows an ingenious eight-year-old woman whose out-sized anxieties dissipate when her family cracks and reforms. and the whose creeping premonition that something terrible will happen comes true most awfully and surprisingly.”
Juliet Takes A Breath by Gabby Rivera
“Juliet Milagros Palante was departing the Bronx and heading to Portland, Oregon. She came out to her loved ones and is not certain if her mother could talk to her again. However, Juliet has a strategy, kind of, one that is likely to help her figure out this whole Puerto Rican lesbian’ thing. She is interning with the writer of her favorite novel: Harlowe Brisbane, the best power on feminism, women’s bodies, along with other gay-sounding stuff.”
The Housekeeper And The Professor by Yōko Ogawa
“He’s a fantastic math Professor having a strange problem-since a traumatic head injury; he’s lived with just eighty minutes of short-term memory. She’s an astute young Housekeeper, using a ten-year-old son, who’s hired to take care of him. And each morning, the Professor and the Housekeeper have introduced into each other afresh, peculiar and gorgeous relationship blossoming between them.”
Lottery by Patricia Wood
“Perry’s IQ is just 76, but he is not stupid. His grandmother taught him what he wants to know to endure: She instructed him to write down things and not forget them. She instructed him to play the lottery each week. And, most important, she educated him to trust. When Gram expires, Perry is left orphaned and invisibly at age thirty-one. Subsequently, his weekly Washington State Lottery ticket wins him 12 million bucks, and he discovers he’s more family than he knows what to do with.”
Your Heart Is A Muscle The Size by Sunil Yapa
“On a rainy, chilly day in November, youthful Victor-a boyish, scrappy world traveler who is run away from home-sets out to sell marijuana to the 50,000 anti-globalization protesters gathered in the streets. It immediately becomes evident that the crowd chose to close down the city -from environmentalists into teamsters into anarchists-are testing the patience of the authorities, and what began as a peaceful protest is threatening to erupt into violence.”
American Street by Ioi Zoboi
“On the corner of American Street and Joy Road, Fabiola Toussaint believed she’d eventually find one belle vie-a wonderful life. But once they depart Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Fabiola’s mum is arrested by U.S. immigration, leaving Fabiola to browse her loud American cousins, Chantal, Donna, and Princess. the grittiness of Detroit’s west side; a brand new college; along with sudden love, on her own.”
Silver Sparrow by Tayari Jones
“Place in a middle-class area in Atlanta from the 1980s; the book revolves around James Witherspoon’s two households -the people one and the key one. When the brothers from every household meet and form a friendship, just one of them understands they’re sisters. It’s a relationship destined to burst when secrets are revealed and illusions shattered.”
The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
“Liesel scrapes out a meager existence for himself by stealing if she experiences something that she can not resist-novels. With the support of her accordion-playing boost, dad, she learns to see and share her stolen novels with her neighbors through bombing raids in addition to the Jewish guy hidden inside her basement until he’s marched to Dachau. This is a memorable story about the capability of books to nourish the soul.”
A Quiet Kind Of Thunder by Sara Barnard
“Steffi was a selective mute for most of her life. She has been quiet for so long that she seems utterly imperceptible. However, Rhys, the new boy in college, sees her. He is deaf, and her understanding of basic sign language usually means that she is assigned to care for him. On Rhys, it does not matter that Steffi doesn’t speak, and as they discover ways to convey, Steffi discovers that she doesn’t have any voice, so she is falling in love with the one individual who makes her feel courageous enough to use it.”
Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston
“Told from the appealing voice of a lady who won’t reside in grief, bitterness, fear, or absurd romantic fantasies, it’s the narrative of a fair-skinned, fiercely independent Janie Crawford, along with her evolving selfhood through three marriages and a life marked by poverty, and trials, and intention.”
Binti by Nnedi Okorafor
“Her title is Binti, and she’s the very first of the Himba individuals to be given a spot at Oomza University, the best institution of higher education from the galaxy. However, to take the deal will mean giving up her place in her family to journey between the stars among strangers who don’t share her manners or respect her habits.”
The Goblin Emperor by Katherine Addison
“The youngest, half-goblin son of the Emperor has lived his whole life in exile, remote by the Imperial Court and the deadly intrigue that suffuses it. Nevertheless, while his father and three sons in line for the throne are murdered in an accident,’ he does not have any choice except to take his position as the sole surviving rightful heir.”
The Book Of Lost by John Connolly
“High in his loft bedroom, twelve-year-old David mourns the passing of his mom, with just the books on his plate for business. But these novels have started to whisper to him in the shadow. Angry and lonely, he takes refuge in his creativity and soon discovers that fantasy and reality have started to meld. While his family falls apart around him, David is propelled into a universe that’s a strange manifestation of his own-populated by heroes and creatures and dominated with a faded king that keeps his secrets at a mysterious book, The Book of Lost Things.”
Born A Crime by Trevor Noah
“Produced an Offense is the story of a young boy who develops into a fiery young man as he struggles to find himself in a universe in which he wasn’t assumed to exist. It’s also the story of the young man’s connection with his daring, rebellious, and fervently spiritual mother-his teammate, a woman decided to rescue her son out of the cycle of violence, poverty, and abuse which could ultimately threaten her life.”
The Woman Warrior by Maxine Hong Kingston
“A Chinese American woman tells of the Chinese myths, family stories, and events of her California childhood that have shaped her identity. It’s a sensitive account of growing up female and Chinese in a California laundry.”
All Souls: A Family Story From Southie by Michael Patrick Macdonald
“In All Souls, MacDonald takes us deep into the secret heart of Southie. With luminous insight, he opens a contradictory world, where gangs and crime surround taxpayers; however, they refuse to acknowledge any problems, remaining fiercely loyal to the area. MacDonald also introduces us to the unforgettable men and women who occupy this proud neighborhood.”
A Wrinkle In Time by Madeleine L’Engle
“Meg’s father had been experimenting with this dimension of time traveling when he mysteriously vanished. Now the time has arrived for Meg, her friend Calvin, and Charles Wallace to rescue him. But can they outwit the forces of evil they’ll encounter in their heart-stopping travel through space?”
What’s Your Favorite Coming-Of-Age Novel?
Several of those coming of age novels are near my own heart, but there are only so many unique coming of age novels that it is impossible to list all of them. Let us give it a try anyhow. Leave your preferred coming of age books from the remarks and keep this list growing.
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