Story Tags

Growing Up is Hard to Do

A handful of coming-of-age novels

Vivid, urgent, and often aching -- growing up is anything but easy. And even though we all do it, everyone experiences the process differently. Such complexity and variability, as well as the way the experience can loom large even after adulthood is reached, makes growing up a rich topic to explore in fiction. Here, a few personal favorites -- in large part drawn from literary fiction -- that only begin to hint at the wealth of powerful coming of age novels out there.

Under the Volcano

Modern Tragic Heroes

Is redemption possible?

Protagonists in modern novels are often deeply flawed. Similar to the Greek tragic heroes of old, these modern heroes are undone by aspects of their personality, such as a propensity to live in the past or a desire for immortality. All of the main characters in this list have failed. The questions are whether and how they can redeem themselves.

Mermaids in Paradise

Fiction for the Road

Books on disc that make rush hour fly

Here in D.C., we know traffic. Consistently ranking in the top 10 cities for worst traffic congestion, it is not uncommon for Washingtonians to sit in their cars for hours on end just to get to work every day.   My commute is no different, but nothing makes me forget that I'm going 5 miles per hour on I-66 along with hundreds of other cranky commuters quite as fast as a good story. So I have compiled a list of some of the more entertaining, fast-moving, dazzling plotlines that might just have you looking forward to that morning grind.  

Smoke Gets in Your Eyes by Caitlin Doughty

New Adult Grab Bag

All About That... Angst

Though there seem to be clear markers of the sub-genre, "New Adult Fiction" is a slightly contentious label. The term was coined to individuate books about people navigating an entry into the "real world" that follows high school and/or college.

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