Coming-of-Age Books

Few kids' books are as powerful as stories about characters coming of age. Readers see kids like them -- or totally different from them -- grow, change, and learn things about themselves over the course of the book. Whether they're learning hard truths about loss and prejudice, dealing with challenging family circumstances, or finding out what it means to grow up and be independent, the kids in these books are memorable, their struggles relatable. To find more real-world stories, check out our Books to Help Your Kid Survive Middle SchoolTeen Romance Novels, and Books About Racism and Social Justice.

Browse Coming-of-Age Books

The Adventures of a Girl Called Bicycle Book Poster Image
Girl bikes across the U.S. in quirky road-trip adventure.
By Christina Uss
(2018)
(2018)
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Blended Book Poster Image
Honest, warm story of family, identity, police brutality.
By Sharon M. Draper
(2019)
(2018)
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Escape from Aleppo Book Poster Image
Gripping, moving tale of Syrian teen fleeing war-torn city.
By N.H. Senzai
(2018)
(2018)
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Extraordinary Birds Book Poster Image
Foster kid learns to trust in beautiful, heartfelt story.
By Sandy Stark-McGinnis
(2019)
(2019)
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Full of Beans Book Poster Image
Plucky boy finds conscience, hope amid Great Depression.
By Jennifer L. Holm
(2016)
(2016)
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A Good Kind of Trouble Book Poster Image
Girl learns to be brave in triumphant coming-of-age tale.
By Lisa Moore Ramée
(2019)
(2019)
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The Life and Times of Benny Alvarez Book Poster Image
Rich, authentic characters are heart of thoughtful novel.
By Peter Johnson
(2014)
(2014)
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The Season of Styx Malone Book Poster Image
Heartwarming story of friendship and adventure.
By Kekla Magoon
(2018)
(2018)
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Stef Soto, Taco Queen Book Poster Image
Warm, funny tale of family, tacos, and middle school.
By Jennifer Torres
(2017)
(2017)
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Bud, Not Buddy Book Poster Image
Well-crafted tale of orphan boy's search for home.
By Christopher Paul Curtis
(2004)
(1999)
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The Crossover Book Poster Image
Soaring, poignant, novel in verse hits all the right spots.
By Kwame Alexander
(2014)
(2014)
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Gertie's Leap to Greatness Book Poster Image
Spunky 5th-grader learns life lessons in warmhearted tale.
By Kate Beasley
(2016)
(2016)
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Front Desk, Book 1 Book Poster Image
Immigrant kid tackles racism, bullying in powerful tale.
By Kelly Yang
(2019)
(2018)
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Junonia Book Poster Image
Sweet coming-of-age story teaches empathy, kindness.
By Kevin Henkes
(2011)
(2011)
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Merci Suarez Changes Gears Book Poster Image
Upbeat coming-of-age story explores culture, class, aging.
By Meg Medina
(2018)
(2018)
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The Mighty Miss Malone Book Poster Image
Unforgettable 12-year-old girl battles the Great Depression.
By Christopher Paul Curtis
(2012)
(2012)
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Song for a Whale Book Poster Image
Compelling tale of deaf girl's search for a whale.
By Lynne Kelly
(2019)
(2019)
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The Space Between Lost and Found Book Poster Image
Heartfelt story of a girl losing her mom to Alzheimer's.
By Sandy Stark-McGinnis
(2020)
(2020)
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Strange Birds: A Field Guide to Ruffling Feathers Book Poster Image
Powerful coming-of-age tale promotes friendship, activism.
By Celia C. Pérez
(2019)
(2019)
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Ana Maria Reyes Does Not Live in a Castle Book Poster Image
Captivating tale of girl diving into her Dominican roots.
By Hilda Eunice Burgos
(2019)
(2018)
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As Brave As You Book Poster Image
Poignant summer adventure brims with family love and hope.
By Jason Reynolds
(2016)
(2016)
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Better Nate Than Ever Book Poster Image
Terrific tale of misfit taking bold step to remake his life.
By Tim Federle
(2013)
(2013)
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Brown Girl Dreaming Book Poster Image
Captivating poems depict coming-of-age in tumultuous 1960s.
By Jacqueline Woodson
(2014)
(2014)
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Counting by 7s Book Poster Image
Striking tale of quirky girl connecting after parental loss.
By Holly Goldberg Sloan
(2013)
(2013)
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Echo Mountain Book Poster Image
Girl finds her strengths in rich, poignant Depression tale.
By Lauren Wolk
(2020)
(2020)
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The Epic Fail of Arturo Zamora Book Poster Image
Vibrant, touching story of lovelorn teen finding his voice.
By Pablo Cartaya
(2017)
(2017)
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Ghost: Track, Book 1 Book Poster Image
Poignant, smart look at track star running from his past.
By Jason Reynolds
(2016)
(2016)
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Harbor Me Book Poster Image
Kids get safe space to tell their stories in moving tale.
By Jacqueline Woodson
(2018)
(2018)
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Just Like Jackie Book Poster Image
Emotional tale of girl's struggle with her family history.
By Lindsey Stoddard
(2018)
(2018)
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Keeping Safe the Stars Book Poster Image
Gripping story of three sibs fending for themselves in 1974.
By Sheila O'Connor
(2012)
(2012)
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Liar & Spy Book Poster Image
Brave misfit tames fears in inspiring, surprising novel.
By Rebecca Stead
(2012)
(2012)
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Louisiana's Way Home Book Poster Image
Harrowing, heartfelt, funny tale of '70s Southern tween.
By Kate DiCamillo
(2018)
(2018)
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Little Man, Little Man: A Story of Childhood Book Poster Image
Dynamic, enthralling kid's-eye-view of 1970s Harlem.
By James Baldwin
(2018)
(2018)
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Mockingbird Book Poster Image
Moving tale of girl whose brother died in school shooting.
By Kathryn Erskine
(2010)
(2010)
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Other Words for Home Book Poster Image
Hopeful, relatable story of Syrian refugee in middle school.
By Jasmine Warga
(2019)
(2019)
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Raymie Nightingale Book Poster Image
Tragedy, triumph, and wisdom in funny, heartfelt tween tale.
By Kate DiCamillo
(2016)
(2016)
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Rebound Book Poster Image
Heartfelt, soaring, fast-break story of loss and growth.
By Kwame Alexander
(2018)
(2018)
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Revolution Is Not a Dinner Party Book Poster Image
Gripping story, great intro to China's Cultural Revolution.
By Ying Chang Compestine
(2008)
(2007)
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Riding Chance Book Poster Image
Horse helps city boy heal in moving self-discovery tale.
By Christine Kendall
(2016)
(2016)
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See You in the Cosmos Book Poster Image
Sweet, quirky road story sparkles with warmth and wisdom.
By Jack Cheng
(2017)
(2017)
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Shouting at the Rain Book Poster Image
Girl grapples with being abandoned in bittersweet tale.
By Lynda Mullaly Hunt
(2019)
(2019)
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Tight Book Poster Image
Authentic, nuanced tale of Brooklyn boy has lots of heart.
By Torrey Maldonado
(2018)
(2018)
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The True History of Lyndie B. Hawkins Book Poster Image
Well-told Southern tale touches on suicide, alcoholism.
By Gail Shepherd
(2019)
(2019)
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Wonder Book Poster Image
Moving tale of facially different boy with inner beauty.
By R.J. Palacio
(2012)
(2012)
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Echo Book Poster Image
Tales of injustice masterfully blend with a dash of magic.
By Pam Munoz Ryan
(2015)
(2015)
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Genesis Begins Again Book Poster Image
Teen learns to love herself in uplifting tale of misfits.
By Alicia D. Williams
(2019)
(2019)
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Joey Pigza Swallowed the Key Book Poster Image
Sympathetic, realistic portrait of boy with ADHD.
By Jack Gantos
(2003)
(1998)
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The Line Tender Book Poster Image
Story of loss explores life in and out of the ocean.
By Kate Allen
(2019)
(2019)
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One Crazy Summer Book Poster Image
A gem, with strong girl characters, '60s black history.
By Rita Williams-Garcia
(2010)
(2010)
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Parked Book Poster Image
Poverty, being unhoused explored in hopeful tale.
By Danielle Svetcov
(2020)
(2020)
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A Place to Belong Book Poster Image
Emotional post-WWII story promotes compassion, perseverance.
By Cynthia Kadohata
(2019)
(2019)
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Things You Can't Say Book Poster Image
Compelling story of tween grappling with his dad's suicide.
By Jenn Bishop
(2020)
(2020)
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All-American Muslim Girl Book Poster Image
Captivating coming-of-age tale explores identity, racism.
By Nadine Jolie Courtney
(2020)
(2019)
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Diamond Boy Book Poster Image
Heartbreaking, powerful tale amid diamond mines of Zimbabwe.
By Michael Williams
(2015)
(2014)
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Hush Book Poster Image
Poignant story of race, identity, and doing the right thing.
By Jacqueline Woodson
(2014)
(2002)
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Miles Morales: Spider-Man Book Poster Image
Exciting, smart, cool version of comic book superhero teen.
By Jason Reynolds
(2017)
(2017)
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Okay for Now Book Poster Image
A troubled boy discovers his self-worth through art.
By Gary D. Schmidt
(2011)
(2013)
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The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants Book Poster Image
Popular series start shows positive girl friendships.
By Ann Brashares
(2003)
(2001)
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Solo Book Poster Image
Poignant tale of rock star's son fleeing fame, finding self.
By Kwame Alexander, Mary Rand Hess
(2017)
(2017)
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To Kill a Mockingbird Book Poster Image
Classic novel examines American racism and justice.
By Harper Lee
(2004)
(1960)
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Watched Book Poster Image
Compelling tale of Muslim teen's dilemma informing for cops.
By Marina Budhos
(2017)
(2016)
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All the Right Stuff Book Poster Image
Challenging ideas, big issues buoy story of Harlem teen.
By Walter Dean Myers
(2012)
(2012)
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American Panda Book Poster Image
Hilarious story of MIT freshman juggling culture, freedom.
By Gloria Chao
(2018)
(2018)
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Black Enough: Stories of Being Young & Black in America Book Poster Image
Realistic, compelling coming-of-age stories of black teens.
By Ibi Zoboi
(2019)
(2019)
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Bones of a Saint Book Poster Image
Resourceful teen faces gang in exciting coming-of-age tale.
By Grant Farley
(2021)
(2021)
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Eliza and Her Monsters Book Poster Image
Fame and fandom collide with privacy in engaging tale.
By Francesca Zappia
(2017)
(2017)
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Gem & Dixie Book Poster Image
Compelling story of teen sisters neglected by their parents.
By Sara Zarr
(2017)
(2017)
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The Hate U Give Book Poster Image
Powerful story of police shooting of unarmed Black teen.
By Angie Thomas
(2017)
(2017)
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The House on Mango Street Book Poster Image
A poetic -- and classic -- coming-of-age story.
By Sandra Cisneros
(2005)
(1991)
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Infinite In Between Book Poster Image
Captivating tale of five teens who meet by chance.
By Carolyn Mackler
(2015)
(2015)
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Kissing in America Book Poster Image
Sweet, funny coming-of-age story about all kinds of love.
By Margo Rabb
(2015)
(2015)
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Piecing Me Together Book Poster Image
Powerful, insightful tale of self-awareness, power of art.
By Renée Watson
(2017)
(2017)
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The Rest of the Story Book Poster Image
Sweet coming-of-ager explores family connections.
By Sarah Dessen
(2019)
(2019)
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Summer Bird Blue Book Poster Image
Emotional novel deals with death, grief, and abandonment.
By Akemi Dawn Bowman
(2018)
(2018)
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Burn Baby Burn Book Poster Image
Riveting coming-of-age tale set in dangerous summer of '77.
By Meg Medina
(2016)
(2016)
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Calling My Name Book Poster Image
Beautiful, honest look at the journey from girl to woman.
By Liara Tamani
(2018)
(2017)
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The Catcher in the Rye Book Poster Image
One of the greatest novels of the 20th century.
By J. D. Salinger
(2005)
(1969)
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The Closest I've Come Book Poster Image
Absorbing, realistic, hopeful tale of teen in the projects.
By Fred Aceves
(2017)
(2017)
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The Fault in Our Stars Book Poster Image
Heartrending love story told by teen dying of cancer.
By John Green
(2012)
(2012)
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Hold Still Book Poster Image
Stunning, hopeful story about healing from loss.
By Nina LaCour
(2017)
(2009)
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I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter Book Poster Image
Empowering, stereotype-shattering coming-of-age story.
By Erika L. Sanchez
(2017)
(2017)
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I Have Lost My Way Book Poster Image
Three teens meet and change one another in poignant story.
By Gayle Forman
(2018)
(2018)
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In Search of Us Book Poster Image
Teen digs into mom's past in compelling coming-of-age tale.
By Ava Dellaira
(2018)
(2018)
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More Than We Can Tell Book Poster Image
Emotional coming-of-age story tackles abuse, cyberbullying.
By Brigid Kemmerer
(2018)
(2018)
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Mosquitoland Book Poster Image
Unforgettable story of a girl's 1,000-mile journey home.
By David Arnold
(2015)
(2015)
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Patron Saints of Nothing Book Poster Image
Heartrending tale explores grief, Philippines' war on drugs.
By Randy Ribay
(2019)
(2019)
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Rani Patel in Full Effect Book Poster Image
Powerful coming-of-age tale deals with abuse, addiction.
By Sonia Patel
(2016)
(2016)
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Say What You Will Book Poster Image
Compelling misfits, touching romance, mature themes.
By Cammie McGovern
(2014)
(2014)
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The Strange Fascinations of Noah Hypnotik Book Poster Image
Angsty, quirky teen's compelling search for meaning.
By David Arnold
(2018)
(2018)
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This Boy Book Poster Image
Poignant, funny look at being a straight, suburban teen boy.
By Lauren Myracle
(2020)
(2020)
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We Are Okay Book Poster Image
Memorable story of friendship, loss, and family secrets.
By Nina LaCour
(2017)
(2017)
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We'll Fly Away Book Poster Image
Teen is sentenced to Death Row in heartbreaking novel.
By Bryan Bliss
(2018)
(2018)
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A Girl Like That Book Poster Image
Compelling tale of teen rebellion, tragedy in Saudi Arabia.
By Tanaz Bhathena
(2018)
(2018)
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Hello, Sunshine Book Poster Image
Quirky, well-written tale of aspiring teen actress in LA.
By Leila Howland
(2017)
(2017)
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King Dork Book Poster Image
Dark, funny coming-of-age with lots of mature content.
By Frank Portman
(2006)
(2006)
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The Dangerous Art of Blending In Book Poster Image
Courageous love story told by teen suffering abuse.
By Angelo Surmelis
(2018)
(2018)
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The Perks of Being a Wallflower Book Poster Image
Controversial coming-of-age classic with sex, drugs, abuse.
By Stephen Chbosky
(2011)
(1999)
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