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Find Captivating Story Telling in Coming of Age Books

Some of the best-selling books right now fall into the category of ‘Coming of Age’.  But what exactly does that term mean?  And who reads these books?

The term coming of age generally describes the transition between childhood and adulthood. Virtually all cultures and societies have a specific idea of what that means, but overall, it explores the innocence of childhood as it slides into the maturity of adulthood. This genre tends to focus on dialogue or internal monologue rather than action and explores self-discovery, belonging, sexuality, romance, and heartbreak. Since all of us can relate to the transformations that occur during adolescence and early adulthood, coming of age books are popular with just about everyone!

Here are some hot titles right now that resonate with readers of all ages!

The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett

A New York Times best seller, The Vanishing Half tells the story of twin sisters who, inseparable as children, ultimately choose to live in very different worlds…one black and one white. After growing up together in a small, southern black community and running away at age sixteen, it’s not just the shape of their daily lives that is different as adults, it’s everything: their families, their communities, their racial identities. 

Weaving together multiple strands and generations of this family, from the Deep South to California, from the 1950s to the 1990s, the story is riveting and considers the lasting influence of the past as it shapes a person’s decisions, desires, and expectations. We think you’ll love it! Start listening here!

Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens

In this heartbreaking, coming-of-age story, author Delia Owens takes us to a quiet town in North Carolina where a handsome young man is found dead… and the town immediately suspects local “Marsh Girl” Kya Clark. Kya, a young girl who was abandoned by her family at a very young age, literally had to raise herself. Sensitive and intelligent, she has survived for years alone in the marsh that she calls home, finding friends in the gulls and lessons in the sand. Then the time comes when she yearns to be touched and loved. When two young men from town become intrigued by her wild beauty, Kya opens herself to a new life–until the unthinkable happens.  In Where the Crawdads Sing, we are reminded that we are forever shaped by the children we once were. Delia Owens offers insightful observations on society, relationships, love, prejudice, racism and sexism, intermingled with a fast paced and gripping story.  Download it here!

The Dutch House by Ann Patchett

The Dutch House by Ann Patchett

Set over the course of five decades, The Dutch House is a dark fairy tale that explores the indelible bond between two siblings, the house of their childhood, and a past that will not let them go.  

At the end of the Second World War, Cyril Conroy combines luck and a single canny investment to begin an enormous real estate empire. He buys the Dutch House, a lavish estate outside of Philadelphia. Meant as a surprise for his wife, the house sets in motion the undoing of everyone he loves. The story is told by Cyril’s son Danny, as he and his older sister are exiled from the house where they grew up by their stepmother. The two wealthy siblings are thrown back into the poverty their parents had escaped from and find that all they have to count on is one another. A finalist for the Pulitzer Prize, this moving story will quickly become a favorite. Download The Dutch House here!

28 Summers by Elin Hilderbrand

When Mallory Blessing’s son, Link, receives deathbed instructions from his mother to call a number on a slip of paper in her desk drawer, he’s not sure what to expect. But he certainly does not expect Jake McCloud to answer. It’s the late spring of 2020 and Jake’s wife, Ursula DeGournsey, is the frontrunner in the upcoming Presidential election. Flash back to the sweet summer of 1993: Mallory has just inherited a beachfront cottage on Nantucket from her aunt, and she agrees to host her brother’s bachelor party. Cooper’s friend from college, Jake McCloud, attends, and Jake and Mallory form a bond that will persevere — until Mallory learns she’s dying.

Based on the classic film Same Time Next Year28 Summers explores the agony and romance of a one-weekend-per-year affair and the dramatic ways this relationship complicates and enriches their lives… and the lives of the people they love. Start listening here!

Perks of Being a Wallflower

Told through his series of intimate letters, Charlie is an introverted, unpopular teenager growing up in suburban Pittsburgh in the 1990’s. He starts his freshman year after the suicide of his best friend, which shook him to the core. Charlie finds new friends, and they explore high school life together. His letters reveal a world of awkward first dates and teenage angst; new friends and music, sexual experiences and drugs. Through his letters, we gain insight into his fragile emotional state and his eventual coming to grips with his deeply troubled past and family life. Author Stephen Chbosky has written a deeply moving and provocative story that reminds us all about the awkwardness of growing up.  Download it here!

The Catcher in the Rye 

This is J. D. Salinger’s classic novel of teenage rebellion and angst.  Written in 1951, Salinger tells the story of Holden Caulfield, the teenage protagonist who leaves his prep school in Pennsylvania where he is failing the majority of his classes and goes underground in New York City for three disoriented days. There are many voices in this novel: children’s voices, adult voices, underground voices-but Holden’s voice is the most eloquent of all… and he learns that coming of age can be painful. The Catcher in the Rye has remained immensely popular over the years, largely because of its fresh, brash style and anti-establishment attitudes—typical attributes of many people emerging from the physical and psychological turmoil of adolescence.  Listen to this classic here!

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