For the younger generation at the cusp of adulthood, 2020 has been quite taxing on their education and mental health. In these times, they must find some refuge, and for most, their refuge is in books.
If you’re one such reader searching for answers and escapism in the written word, here are four coming-of-age books that’ll give you comfort and joy. They’ll teach you how growing up into an uncertain future is scary, but it’s also an opportunity for you to shine and make your path.
– The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
The Hate U Give was also adapted for the silver screen. But it still doesn’t replace the experience you gain from reading the book itself. Featuring sixteen-year-old Starr Carter, this story is about racial injustice in modern-day America. After witnessing her childhood friend Khalil lose his life at the hands of a police officer, Starr is pushed into a new world that shows her the difference between privilege and opportunity.
Especially during these times when education on racial differences is coming center-stage, The Hate U Give is a worthy read.
– Mirror Mirror: A Collection of Memoirs and Stories by Stephanie Hart
A collage of memories separated into five categories, Mirror Mirror: A Collection of Memoirs and Stories, is a coming-of-age tale by Stephanie Hart. This book takes a deep dive into the author’s life. It gives us a peek into her Jewish family life, her parents’ violent tempers and behavior, the impact of their behavior on her mental health, her time in boarding school, Kennedy’s assassination, literary enlightenment, and more.
An emotional journey, to say the least, the book can, at times, seem too personal for the reader. But that’s the point. Fashioning her life lessons in a way that shows how one can rise above negativity, this collection of memoirs and stories is a reminder to everyone suffering: you are strong. You are not alone.
– Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz
Dante is a unique boy who has a different way of looking at the world. Aristotle is an angry person who has a brother in prison. Both loners by nature, Aristotle and Dante don’t have anything in common at first glance. But after spending time together, reluctantly sharing their thoughts and feelings, that’s when they start realizing their similarities, and their penchant for one another.
A relationship-driven novel that skillfully explores the boys’ emotional strengths and weaknesses, the book is a much-needed story with POC characters that are uncertain about their sexuality.
– The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
The year is 1939. The place is Nazi Germany. Liesel is sitting aside her brother’s graveside when she spies an object that changes her life; a book. With the help of her father, she becomes an avid book reader, stealing books from wherever she can, trying to find happiness during a time when death was raking up numbers. Liesel’s life turns around when her foster family starts protecting a Jewish person in their basement.
A heart-wrenching story that’s the epitome of good literature, The Book Thief, is heart-breaking. But it’s a lesson. Horrible times have come and gone, and the mistakes humanity has made must be understood. Note: this book is not for those who cry easily. It does not have a happy ending. But if you want to learn about someone’s history, someone’s reality during a time of war, The Book Thief is one to read.
The days are uncertain at present. But take this time to educate yourself on what matters. Learn about the world around you. As someone who’s coming of age, you have the chance to be a better person. Avail yourselves of this opportunity!