5 Brilliant Teen Coming-of-Age Novels

It was never really my plan to write YA fiction or a coming-of-age story, it just sort of happened. When I was doing my MA in creative Writing at Oxford Brookes University, I constantly found myself writing in the voice of a teenager. And I liked it. My writing style is quite conversational, which I feel works well with a young voice. What strikes me about coming-of-age stories is that I often find them recognisable in one way or another. I think there is something about facing whatever obstacles life throws you at an age where you are still trying to work out who you are that we can all relate to and it is possibly why I ended up writing one myself. Below are five coming-of-age stories that I have read in the last few years that stuck out to me one way or another.

Forgive me Leonard Peacock by Matthew Quick

I really like books that are both dark and funny and this one definitely is. Leonard Peacock is such a memorable character who is wry, smart, caring and funny as he plans his exit from a life he no longer sees as worth living.

Anatomy of a Misfit by Andrea Ports

This book is just the right amount of mad. Anna Dragomir shares the pressure of being the third most popular girl in high school and she does it brilliantly.

Holding up the Universe by Jennifer Niven

I love the two main characters in this book. They are polar opposites, but so charismatic in their own ways. Jack is all cool and full of swagger but busy covering up his secret face blindness. Libby is smart, witty and all kinds of amazing, but deals with being bullied about her weight on a daily basis. Together they are an unbeatable team.

We Were Liars by E. Lockhart

We meet Cadence Sinclair Eastman two years after an accident that she can’t remember. In order to move forward she has to find a way to piece together her past. Apart from being a great story I really like the character descriptions in this book. Anyone who describes someone as “bounce” or “ rain” has me listening.

The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chobsky

The voice, the characters, the story, the everything. This book is so honest and so true and I love every part of it. Charlie is starting high school and tries his best to fit in while feeling shy, clumsy and socially awkward. It is so easy to relate to his struggles and how he is happy and sad without knowing why.           

The Unpredictability of Being Human by Linni Ingemundsen is out now, published by Usborne.    

Check out our book lists  for more great recommendations for all ages!

Linni Ingemundsen

Linni Ingemundsen is the author of

Cover of The Unpredictability of Being Human
The Unpredictability of Being Human (Usborne). A story for the outsider in every one of us. A portrait of small-town Norway, a community that sings with pain, humour and a whole lot of nothingness, told through the eyes of a unique teenage girl.