Coming of Age Book Recommendations

YA COMING OF AGE

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Sixteen-year-old Starr Carter moves between two worlds: the poor neighborhood where she lives and the fancy suburban prep school she attends. The uneasy balance between these worlds is shattered when Starr witnesses the fatal shooting of her childhood best friend Khalil at the hands of a police officer. Khalil was unarmed.

Soon afterward, his death is a national headline. Some are calling him a thug, maybe even a drug dealer and a gangbanger. Protesters are taking to the streets in Khalil’s name. Some cops and the local drug lord try to intimidate Starr and her family. What everyone wants to know is: what really went down that night? And the only person alive who can answer that is Starr.

But what Starr does—or does not—say could upend her community. It could also endanger her life.

Inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement, this is a powerful and gripping YA novel about one girl’s struggle for justice.

REVIEW

RATING: 3.5/5

I haven’t really talked much about this book on my blog but I really feel that it has done a great job capturing the issues, the mind of a 16 y/o, sensitive topics. It gives the reader an insight of the ugly world they may not even know about. It makes the reader cry, the situations were heart breaking. One of the most controversial topics about this book was the fact people thought it fought racism with racism or could have dealt with racism better but a 16 y/o isn’t supposed to tackle all the heavy and sensitive topics. The one point I felt the book lacked was the writing, it could have been better while tackling such a grave issue.

“What’s the point of having a voice if you’re gonna be silent in those moments you shouldn’t be?”

The Hate U Give, Angie Thomas

Let me know if you want me to write a detailed review on this book, I would love to discuss the sensitive topics deeply.

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A young girl in Harlem discovers slam poetry as a way to understand her mother’s religion and her own relationship to the world. Debut novel of renowned slam poet Elizabeth Acevedo.

Xiomara Batista feels unheard and unable to hide in her Harlem neighborhood. Ever since her body grew into curves, she has learned to let her fists and her fierceness do the talking.

But Xiomara has plenty she wants to say, and she pours all her frustration and passion onto the pages of a leather notebook, reciting the words to herself like prayers—especially after she catches feelings for a boy in her bio class named Aman, who her family can never know about. With Mami’s determination to force her daughter to obey the laws of the church, Xiomara understands that her thoughts are best kept to herself.

So when she is invited to join her school’s slam poetry club, she doesn’t know how she could ever attend without her mami finding out, much less speak her words out loud. But still, she can’t stop thinking about performing her poems.

Because in the face of a world that may not want to hear her, Xiomara refuses to be silent.

REVIEW

RATING: 4/5

I listened this book’s audiobook on Scribd, this was the only audiobook I could complete. It is narrated by the author of the book herself. Her voice was gripping which made the poems seem so powerful.

As the book follows the journey of the protagonist, Xiomara Batista opening up a new world for herself through poetry, issues such as sexism, blind faith, etc. were also discussed. The characters were built so beautifully and felt real with experiences all of us may go through in our teenage years. The book is powerful and the audiobook brings the characters to life with the beautiful narration.

I am going to write a detailed review of this book soon because there are so many topics in this book I want to discuss.

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standing on the fringes of life…
offers a unique perspective. But there comes a time to see
what it looks like from the dance floor.

This haunting novel about the dilemma of passivity vs. passion marks the stunning debut of a provocative new voice in contemporary fiction: The Perks of Being A WALLFLOWER

This is the story of what it’s like to grow up in high school. More intimate than a diary, Charlie’s letters are singular and unique, hilarious and devastating. We may not know where he lives. We may not know to whom he is writing. All we know is the world he shares. Caught between trying to live his life and trying to run from it puts him on a strange course through uncharted territory. The world of first dates and mixed tapes, family dramas and new friends. The world of sex, drugs, and The Rocky Horror Picture Show, when all one requires is that the perfect song on that perfect drive to feel infinite.

Through Charlie, Stephen Chbosky has created a deeply affecting coming-of-age story, a powerful novel that will spirit you back to those wild and poignant roller coaster days known as growing up.

REVIEW

RATING: 3.5/5

I have never really made up my mind about this book because though its idea and the characters are beautiful, the writing lacked so much. In a gist, I feel this book could have done a lot more. You can read my full thoughts on this book here.

I made a playlist for this book!

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An aspiring teen filmmaker finds her voice and falls in love in this delightful romantic comedy from the New York Times bestselling author of When Dimple Met Rishi.

Aspiring filmmaker and wallflower Twinkle Mehra has stories she wants to tell and universes she wants to explore, if only the world would listen. So when fellow film geek Sahil Roy approaches her to direct a movie for the upcoming Summer Festival, Twinkle is all over it. The chance to publicly showcase her voice as a director? Dream come true. The fact that it gets her closer to her longtime crush, Neil Roy-a.k.a. Sahil’s twin brother? Dream come true x 2.

When mystery man N begins emailing her, Twinkle is sure it’s Neil, finally ready to begin their happily-ever-after. The only slightly inconvenient problem is that, in the course of movie-making, she’s fallen madly in love with the irresistibly adorkable Sahil.

Twinkle soon realizes that resistance is futile: The romance she’s got is not the one she’s scripted. But will it be enough?

Told through the letters Twinkle writes to her favorite female filmmakers, From Twinkle, with Love navigates big truths about friendship, family, and the unexpected places love can find you.

REVIEW’

RATINGS: 5/5

I read this book a year or two ago and it STILL holds such a special place in my heart, the characters were relatable, the story was such a feel good story. I can talk about this book for the whole blog post so please read the whole review here.

CLASSICS COMING OF AGE

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Orphaned as a child, Jane has felt an outcast her whole young life. Her courage is tested once again when she arrives at Thornfield Hall, where she has been hired by the brooding, proud Edward Rochester to care for his ward Adèle. Jane finds herself drawn to his troubled yet kind spirit. She falls in love. Hard.

But there is a terrifying secret inside the gloomy, forbidding Thornfield Hall. Is Rochester hiding from Jane? Will Jane be left heartbroken and exiled once again?

REVIEW

RATING: 5/5

This post would have been incomplete without the mention of this book even once. Jane Eyre feels like the original coming of age story, written in 1847, about an orphan to a happily married woman with a “mad woman” in the attic.

This book is often categorized as romance but it is so much more than that, it contains dualistic relationships, a governess story (a trope that was widely popular in that age), a wretched childhood, elements of fantasy and desire, feminism, a mad woman in the attic and gothic elements.

Women are supposed to be very calm generally: but women feel just as men feel; they need exercise for their faculties, and a field for their efforts, as much as their brothers do; they suffer from too rigid a restraint, to absolute a stagnation, precisely as men would suffer; and it is narrow-minded in their more privileged fellow-creatures to say that they ought to confine themselves to making puddings and knitting stockings, to playing on the piano and embroidering bags. It is thoughtless to condemn them, or laugh at them, if they seek to do more or learn more than custom has pronounced necessary for their sex

Jane Eyre, Charlotte Bronte

I believe that everyone should read this book at least once in their lives, this book might be a little hard to read if you are just getting into classics, so, start with some easy to read classics and then read this!

I am no bird and no net enslaves me. I am a free human being with an independent will.

Jane Eyre, Charlotte Bronte
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Generations of readers young and old, male and female, have fallen in love with the March sisters of Louisa May Alcott’s most popular and enduring novel, Little Women. Here are talented tomboy and author-to-be Jo, tragically frail Beth, beautiful Meg, and romantic, spoiled Amy, united in their devotion to each other and their struggles to survive in New England during the Civil War.

It is no secret that Alcott based Little Women on her own early life. While her father, the freethinking reformer and abolitionist Bronson Alcott, hobnobbed with such eminent male authors as Emerson, Thoreau, and Hawthorne, Louisa supported herself and her sisters with “woman’s work,” including sewing, doing laundry, and acting as a domestic servant. But she soon discovered she could make more money writing. Little Women brought her lasting fame and fortune, and far from being the “girl’s book” her publisher requested, it explores such timeless themes as love and death, war and peace, the conflict between personal ambition and family responsibilities, and the clash of cultures between Europe and America.

REVIEW

RATING: 4/5

This book made me start reading, it’s my childhood favourite and it STILL is one of my favourite books. It is a perfect read for all ages, every reader can find themselves in the characters.It is also pretty easy to read for someone who’s starting classics. Also, the 2019 movie is so beautiful!!

I am not afraid of storms, for I am learning how to sail my ship.”

Little Women, Louisa M. Alcott
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Set on the coast of England against the vivid background of the sea, The Waves introduces six characters—three men and three women—who are grappling with the death of a beloved friend, Percival. Instead of describing their outward expressions of grief, Virginia Woolf draws her characters from the inside, revealing them through their thoughts and interior soliloquies. As their understanding of nature’s trials grows, the chorus of narrative voices blends together in miraculous harmony, remarking not only on the inevitable death of individuals but on the eternal connection of everyone. The novel that most epitomizes Virginia Woolf’s theories of fiction in the working form, The Waves is an amazing book very much ahead of its time. It is a poetic dreamscape, visual, experimental, and thrilling.

REVIEW

RATING: 5/5

This book is a MASTERPIECE. It is so beautifully crafted with the proses, the characters, the imagery, it’s perfect. I read this book last year while writing a newsletter on Virginia Woolf and I was amazed by every chapter. (You can subscribe to my newsletter here for literature related topics!)

“I feel a thousand capacities spring up in me. I am arch, gay, languid, melancholy by turns. I am rooted, but I flow.”

The Waves, Virginia Woolf

I love this book so much, I have this quote written on my wall.

It might be hard to read for someone who’s just starting to read classics but if you are into poetry, you should definitely read it!

“I am made and remade continually. Different people draw different words from me.”

The Waves, Virginia Woolf
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One of the most delightful and enduring classics of children’s literature, The Secret Garden by Victorian author Frances Hodgson Burnett has remained a firm favorite with children the world over ever since it made its first appearance. Initially published as a serial story in 1910 in The American Magazine, it was brought out in novel form in 1911.

The plot centers round Mary Lennox, a young English girl who returns to England from India, having suffered the immense trauma by losing both her parents in a cholera epidemic. However, her memories of her parents are not pleasant, as they were a selfish, neglectful and pleasure-seeking couple. Mary is given to the care of her uncle Archibald Craven, whom she has never met. She travels to his home, Misselthwaite Manor located in the gloomy Yorkshire, a vast change from the sunny and warm climate she was used to. When she arrives, she is a rude, stubborn and given to stormy temper tantrums. However, her nature undergoes a gradual transformation when she learns of the tragedies that have befallen her strict and disciplinarian uncle whom she earlier feared and despised. Once when he’s away from home, Mary discovers a charming walled garden which is always kept locked. The mystery deepens when she hears sounds of sobbing from somewhere within her uncle’s vast mansion. The kindly servants ignore her queries or pretend they haven’t heard, spiking Mary’s curiosity.

The Secret Garden appeals to both young and old alike. It has wonderful elements of mystery, spirituality, charming characters and an authentic rendering of childhood emotions and experiences. Commonsense, truth and kindness, compassion and a belief in the essential goodness of human beings lie at the heart of this unforgettable story. It is the best known of Frances Hodgson Burnett’s works, though most of us have definitely heard of, if not read, her other novel Little Lord Fauntleroy.

The book has been adapted extensively on stage, film and television and translated into all the world’s major languages. In 1991, a Japanese anime version was launched for television in Japan. It remains a popular and beloved story of a child’s journey into maturity, and a must-read for every child, parent, teacher and anyone who would enjoy this fascinating glimpse of childhood. One of the most delightful and enduring classics of children’s literature, The Secret Garden by Victorian author Frances Hodgson Burnett has remained a firm favorite with children the world over ever since it made its first appearance. Initially published as a serial story in 1910 in The American Magazine, it was brought out in novel form in 1911.

REVIEW

RATING: 4/5

I read the illustrated version of this book when I was young, I recently read it again and it is magical and perfect for all ages. It is dark with imagery and curiousity. It is beautiful.

1 Comment

  1. Jayati says:

    I love The Poet X!

    Liked by 1 person

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