10 Essential Coming-Of-Age Novels For Adults

October 3, 2014 12:29 PM

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10 Essential Coming-Of-Age Novels For Adults

Because nearly half of the stories in my debut collection, By Light We Knew Our Names (Dzanc Books, $14.95), are told from the perspective of adolescent narrators, I spent a lot of time thinking about how childhood is represented in literary fiction and how young protagonists can engage adult readers. I'm not of the mind that we leave coming-of-age novels behind when we leave high school. The liminal space between childhood and adulthood is a rich landscape for young adult and adult readers alike, and not solely because growing up is an experience every reader shares.

The transitional space of adolescence can be a powerful backdrop for other experiences of liminality as well: the experience of being between cultures, between geographies, between sexual identities and genders, between social classes and political spheres, and even between magic and realism. In res...

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