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Coming-of-Age Books to Have on Your List

By ThriftBooks Team • March 27, 2022

Spring is in the air, and with the season comes a feeling of new growth, fresh starts, and regeneration. In the literary world, beloved coming-of-age books evoke similar feelings of change. These bildungsromans are often centered around a protagonist and highlight their experiences during their formative years. They are tales of growth, maturity, and enlightenment.

With that in mind, what better time to discover good coming-of-age books than when spring is around the corner? Whether you're looking for a new read or just revisiting some of the classics, we have the best recommendations for coming-of-age books to have on your list.

Our Recommendations for the Best Coming-of-Age Books

Following spring's theme of new growth and fresh starts, we've compiled a list here of the best coming-of-age books for you to pick up just in time for spring.

  1. The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
    The protagonist in this classic coming-of-age book is Holden Caulfield, a young man recollecting on when he was sixteen years old. He is failing in school (his fourth so far), he is being expelled, and he is supposed to return to New York in a few days. Holden decides to go early and checks into a hotel in Manhattan. The Catcher in the Rye tells about Holden's experiences during those three days in New York City.
  2. The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
    This cult-favorite, released in 1999, takes a good, hard, hilarious, honest look at modern high school life. If the title, The Perks of Being a Wallflower, sounds familiar, it's likely because it is also a major motion picture.
    This coming-of-age novel, described as a funny, haunting, modern classic, follows Charlie, an observant "wallflower" through high school. Charlie navigates the strange time of life between adolescence and adulthood, caught between trying to run from his life and trying to save it. The reader will experience young love, life on the fringe, and more.
  3. Luna by Julie Anne Peters
    In this National Book Award Finalist novel, Liam is a transgender teen who hates the person he is by day. The beautiful girl he is inside, Luna, only comes out at night. Liam transforms into Luna in the basement, undercover, using his sister's makeup and clothes. But now Luna is preparing to come out, and the story asks the question, "Are Liam's family and friends ready for this?"
    If you've been looking for good coming-of-age books, you may want to pick up a copy of Luna. Read this endearing story hailed as provocative and compelling about a teen's struggle to discover acceptance and self-identity.
  4. Purple Hibiscus by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
    In Purple Hibiscus, Kambili is a privileged 15-year-old living in Nigeria with her family and older brother, Jaja. Her father is well-respected and generous in public. While things may look shiny on the outside, things are not as they seem, as her father is a tyrannical, religious-fanatic at home.
    As Nigeria begins to crumble under a military coup, the siblings leave and live with their aunt. They discover life outside of their father's suffocating fanaticism. When Jaja and Kambili return home, Kambili must find a way to save her family when tensions escalate, and everything is on the line.
  5. Forever by Judy Blume
    This classic coming-of-age book, released in 1974, is a groundbreaking novel that provides a fresh new look at teen sexuality. "What does 'forever' mean, anyway?" is the question after the protagonist, Katherine, "knows" she loves Michael...and then starts to have feelings for another boy. Forever follows the story of Katherine as she tries to figure out if this is the love of a lifetime or just the beginning of a lifetime of love.
  6. A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving
    Eleven-year-old Owen decides after a tragic accident that he has been put on Earth to be God's instrument. As he later enters adulthood with the Vietnam War looming, an incredible series of events may make a believer out of the reader that perhaps Owen may not be imagining his purpose after all. You'll laugh, cry, and cheer with A Prayer for Owen Meany!

Find the Best Coming of Age Books at ThriftBooks

Whether you're looking for something new or revisiting the classics, we have the best selection of coming-of-age books available at ThriftBooks! Can't decide which book to try first? Sign up for our ReadingRewards program and earn points for free books on every dollar spent! Read more and spend less with ThriftBooks.

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