Coming-of-age is more of a theme than a genre, I suppose, but I tend to really like books that can be categorized this way. Maybe it’s the nostalgia (I am very prone to it) or the fact that all humans share the adolescent experience so it usually resonates with me.
I think, also, that any good novel will have characters that change over time (usually when they encounter some sort of difficulty) and coming-of-age provides a perfect framework to make that happen.
I don’t know, do you think the term “coming of age” has any real meaning when it comes to books? Is it too broad?
Regardless, here are my favorite coming-of-age books at the moment:
A Prayer For Owen Meany by John Irving – this is also still in my top five novels of all time.
A Tree Grows In Brooklyn by Betty Smith – slow, sweet, tender. Amazing characters.
The Virgin Suicides by Jeffrey Eugenides – flawless writing; completely drew me in to obsess about these strange but beautiful girls right along with the collective narrator.
To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee – this is everyone’s favorite for a reason. Anytime I re-read it I’m blown away.
Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer – just the sweetest and most heartbreaking story ever.
Joyland by Stephen King – along with the excellent character development you get an interesting setting, element of mystery, and a satisfying ending.
What are your favorites? Any I need to add to my list?