Novels to satiate Your Autumn Nostalgia

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Novels to satiate Your Autumn Nostalgia

With the promise of Autumn near, I find myself aching with nostalgia. A certain fondness warms me as I consider those first day of school jitters, Friday night football games, and homecoming dances. Though I can’t travel back in time and revisit those pivotal young-adult events, I can do the next best thing, which is to read coming-of- age fiction. If, like me, you'd like to go back to a simpler time, check out one of these novels to hold you over.

American Wife by Curtis Sittenfeld
American Wife paints the fictional portrait of a first lady. It’s not all politics and bureaucracy, though. Alice Blackwell tells the story of her life, starting with a vivid telling of her childhood and adolescent years in Wisconsin: slumber parties, football games, and prom. The story stays true to a school setting as Alice begins a job as a school librarian before her life turns upside down when she meets the future president. Through her prose, Sittenfeld illustrates how informative those early years are in a person’s life. If you enjoy this novel, you might want to also check out Rodham.


Prep by Curtis Sittenfeld
Yes, I’ve put two Curtis Sittenfeld novels on the list, but once you read Prep, you’ll forgive me. Sittenfeld creates such an enchanting setting at the prestigious prep school, Ault Academy, that will make you nostalgic for a place you’ve never even been. The novel follows protagonist Lee Fiora during her high school years, a time fraught with those all-encompassing teenage emotions. The novel will make you feel tender for that thrilling and sometimes painful adolescence existence. 


Normal People by Sally Rooney
If you haven’t read Normal People yet, you’re in for a treat. Rooney puts a fresh twist on the classic “popular-boy meets lonely-girl” trope. It’s a tension heavy story filled with the raw and intense emotion that comes with the electricity of a first-love. If you enjoy this one, be sure to check out her latest novel Beautiful World, Where Are You and her first novel Conversations With Friends.


Trust Exercise by Susan Choi
Another book set in a highly competitive high school, but this story of first-love isn’t all it seems. The novel spans time and the story grows into so much more than what is first seen. Choi challenges readers to question what they believe to be the truth. Grappling with fear and abandonment, gender politics, and power dynamics. 

Looking For Alaska by John Green
Before there was The Fault in Our Stars and Paper Towns, John Greene gave us Looking For Alaska. The main character, Miles, wants adventure so he goes to a boarding school seeking excitement for his otherwise mundane existence. He might get more than he hoped, though, when he meets Alaska. The novel is a story of young love and heartbreak and friendship. 


Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
Like some people reread A Christmas Carol every December, I reread Little Women every fall. It’s a classic for a reason. Despite being written in 1868 every reader is sure to find themselves in at least one of the March sisters, if not a blend of a few of them. You’ll finish this book with a renowned appreciation for adolescence. Don’t knock the young ones just yet. 


The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
The Perks of Being a Wallflower is another young adult novel that should be read by more than just young adults. Chbosky pulls readers in with his emotional and intimate portrayal of an ordinary boy just trying to make it through high school. The novel encapsulates the full spectrum of emotions; you’ll laugh at times and cry at others. After reading the novel, check out the DVD and decide for yourself: which is better, the movie or the book?