6 Books About Coming of Age

BookSummaryClub Blog 6 Books About Coming of Age

The subject of growing up is a difficult one considering the emotional turmoil teenagers have to go through during their formative years. For teenagers, growing to become young adults, it’s mostly difficult for them to find their place in a cold world.

When you add hormones, family drama, and first love to the equation, you begin to understand just what it is that makes teenagers not want to grow up to be young adults.

Coming of age stories is a genre that’s highly sought after by younger readers who seek self-discovery in a world designed to work against them.

When you read coming-of-age books, you see that despite the challenges and difficulties faced with adulthood, they all come out a stronger and better version of themselves.

Below is a compilation of the best coming-of-age books that give you insight into the lives of teenagers and how they conquered their world.

  1. The Catcher in the Rye by J. D. Salinger
The Catcher in the Rye
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The Catcher in the Rye
  • The Catcher in the Rye
  • J.D. Salinger
  • First Little, Brown and Company mass market paperback edition
  • J.D. Salinger (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 240 Pages – 05/01/1991 (Publication Date) – Little, Brown and Company (Publisher)

This coming of age story follows the story of an angry and resentful youth, Holden Caulfield. Through the main character, we’re able to see the bare anger of a young boy leaving childhood and growing into a young man. 

The book explores different topics like society, love, loss, and expectations all from the perspective of Holden Caulfield. J.D. Salinger writes the book so that it maintains its relevance and speaks to the needs of current teenagers as it did in the 1950s. This is a great book that is worth your time. 

  1. Oranges are not the only fruits.
Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit
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Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit
  • Audible Audiobook
  • Jeanette Winterson (Author) – Jeanette Winterson (Narrator)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 03/08/2019 (Publication Date) – Audible Studios (Publisher)

This novel tells the story of a lesbian; though she was adopted, she was brought up in the way of the lord and trained to be God’s elect. She grew up in the way that was prepared for her, she grew up zealous and passionate for the things of God. 

But at sixteen, she seems to have an understanding of her own identity, so she chooses to leave her home, the church, and her family to chase to be with the object of her affection. 

  1. Forever by Judy Blume 
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  • Audible Audiobook
  • Judy Blume (Author) – Caitlin Kinnunen, Judy Blume (Narrators)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 09/14/2021 (Publication Date) – Listening Library (Publisher)

Forever follows the story of two young people, Katherine and Michael. They meet at a party and they’re attracted to each other at first sight. They had an unexpected connection but it was something definite. Katherine and Michael are in love quite alright, but will the love last forever? Katherine is sure the love will last forever especially after she loses her virginity.

This book explains Katherine’s first sex experience, her first love experience, and her first heartbreak. Blume explores the fact that good things don’t always last forever and it’s okay to start again. This book will get you emotional but it’s worth your while.

  1. The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
The Hate U Give
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The Hate U Give
  • Audible Audiobook
  • Angie Thomas (Author) – Bahni Turpin (Narrator)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 02/28/2017 (Publication Date) – HarperAudio (Publisher)

This book follows the story of Starr who lives in two worlds: the poor neighborhood she has known all her life and her elite prep school in the suburbs. She is a normal girl trying to shuttle between the two worlds without losing herself before tragedy strikes. 

Her efforts to balance herself between the two worlds are frustrated when she witnesses the fatal shooting of her unarmed best friend by a police officer. As the only witness to Khalil’s murder, the fate of her community depends on her testimony which could also get her killed. This book is an interesting read that may get you emotional but opens your eyes to the life of a young girl trying to find her place in the world. 

  1. The Virgin Suicides by Jeffrey Eugenides
The Virgin Suicides
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The Virgin Suicides
  • Audible Audiobook
  • Jeffrey Eugenides (Author) – Nick Landrum (Narrator)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 05/08/2006 (Publication Date) – Recorded Books (Publisher)

The suburb of Detroit experienced a shockwave following the death of the five Lisbon sisters. This story talks about the desperation and fear of not growing up. As a way of escape from adulthood, the sisters choose the only way that seems feasible to them- death. 

Nevertheless, the novel explores a lot of coming-of-age ground; it also discusses other topics such as teenage sexuality, parental control, privacy, and the desire to be free. Reading this book will leave you eager to uncover the sisters’ secrets. This novel is a powerful story and worth adding to your to-read list.

  1. Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë
Wuthering Heights (Wordsworth Classics)
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Wuthering Heights (Wordsworth Classics)
  • Emily Bronte (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 272 Pages – 08/05/1997 (Publication Date) – Wordsworth Editions Ltd (Publisher)

Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë tells the story of two young lovers, Heathcliff and Catherine. These young lovers are tragically separated after spending most of their childhood together. 

Heathcliff finds his way to his childhood home after three years of absence, but things are not the way they used to be anymore. He brought with him the consequences of his return which reverberates for generations.

The book explores the childhood and adulthood of the characters, carefully explaining the freedom they experienced as children and the great expectations they’re expected to fulfill as adults. Wuthering Heights is a long read but it’s worth your while!

Wrapping Up

Books about coming-of-age are a must-read if you want to understand the struggles and pains of teenagers. Every teenager has had that longing to remain kids or advance into adulthood without facing the challenges that come with it.

This is not an exhaustive list of coming-of-age novels, but as young readers looking to explore coming of age stories, these books are a great place to start.

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