Coming of Age Fiction
Do you love a coming of age story? Are you looking for your next fiction pick or trying to decide on a novel for your book club? If so, check out the coming of age novels featured here on Book Club Bites. Each includes a book club guide just for you!
With short chapters and likable characters who make devastating choices, you’ll find yourself flying through Jen Craven’s first contemporary novel. Best Years of Your Life follows a family—two professor moms and their daughter—as they navigate the most difficult year of their lives, professionally and personally. As someone who worked for a university for over ten years, I found Craven captured campus life perfectly.
Malibu Rising was one of my favorite novels of the year. After smash hits like Daisy Jones and the Six and The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo, Taylor Jenkins Reid has already made a name for herself among serious readers and book clubs. As much as I’ve enjoyed her writing in the past, Malibu Rising has elevated Reid to a new level in my book. Malibu Rising still has elements of those other novels. Set in Los Angeles, with a famous patriarch, the themes of fame and all its struggles are present. However, this novel focuses primarily on four siblings and their attempts to find their ways in the world, while dealing with less than optimal parents.
Far from the Tree is a brilliant novel that addresses many heavy topics with grace and care including teen pregnancy, alcoholism, adoption, foster care, divorce, discrimination, and more. And it does it while still maintaining the complex mix of innocence and wisdom through which teenagers process the world.
If you are a fan of WWII fiction, then you know that in the last few years there has been a boom of great historical novels from the time period that feature unique aspects of the war. The Paris Library is another novel about WWII France from a unique perspective. It follows Odile Souchet, who secures a position at the circulation desk of the American Library in Paris just as the war breaks out. Through her, we see how the war affected citizens of Paris and those who stayed through the Nazi occupation of France.
Ordinary Grace by William Kent Krueger has been floating around as a potential read for me for some time. Like many of you, my TBR list is quiet long.
It’s a story about a community that fractures when tragedy strikes, but ultimately finds redemption. It’s a coming-of-age story for Frank Drum and his younger brother, Jake, as they witness the adults in their lives respond to tragedy and try to process their own feelings.
If you’ve been stuck in a reading rut lately, especially due to the pandemic (or just life in general), then This Tender Land could be the next read for you. It’s a character-driven adventure story with all the feels, but it won’t leave you emotionally fatigued. The novel centers around two young brothers and their two friends, a mute American Indian and a sweet-hearted girl with a mysterious gift.
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee is one of the most beloved stories in American history, perhaps the most. It centers around the spirited and spunky Scout Finch as she struggles with a world-view shift and comes of age in a small Southern town rife with prejudice. If your book club picks To Kill a Mockingbird to read, I’ve provided book club questions and a delicious recipe for your meeting below! So if you are looking for food ideas and more, keep reading!
The Goldfinch has been on my reading list for quite a while. Generally, I like to read or at least be informed about Pulitzer Prize winners and usually they are good picks for book club discussions. Although, I will say the last few I’ve read have been hard to read and I’ve taken a step back from the list in recent years. However, when I saw that The Goldfinch was made into a major motion picture, I decided it was time to read it. Here’s why…
When I saw The Great Alone from Kristin Hannah, who is one of my favorite authors, I had to read it. If you’ve read The Nightingale and loved it, you’ll love this book, too, although it’s very different. This novel centers on the relationship between a mother and a daughter. There is a love story and triumph in the midst of (alot) of tragedy, just like in The Nightingale, but this is a very different read centered on the mother/daughter struggle.
Peace Like a River by Leif Enger is a great choice for your book club. It was released in 2001, so it’s an older title, but one that you may have missed. The nostalgia is dripping from it and it has a wonderful narrator…11-year-old Reuben Land. Sprinkle in some magical realism and you’ve got a winner.