The Best Coming-of-Age Novels Will Make You Rethink the World

What does it really mean to grow up? Loss of innocence? Becoming self-sufficient? Turning 18? Running out of "firsts" to check off the bucket list? One could argue you never really stop growing up or that you never even start, but defining what it is exactly might be beyond the point if we can all relate to the transformations that unfold during adolescence and early adulthood. And coming-of-age books tend to capture these abstract yet essential processes best.

Indeed, they delve into problematic or tender family dynamics, tap into self-discovery and seeking a sense of belonging within larger communities, capture sexuality, young romance, and heartbreak, and represent the universal process of time and age, making them especially personal and moving. We curated a library of 14 coming-of-age novels, including both classics and new releases, that are basically a rite of passage. Read on below to get a taste of the best coming-of-age books featuring different kinds of upbringings, characters, and literary styles, and add the most enticing to your own shelves.