The best coming of age books to make you feel seventeen again

Abigail de Niverville Author Of I Knew Him
By Abigail de Niverville

The Books I Picked & Why

Hold Still

By Nina Lacour

Book cover of Hold Still

Why this book?

This book broke me open and sewed me back together. It’s a must-read if you’ve ever loved someone who was struggling with their mental health. Absolutely gut-wrenching, but still bursting with hope, this story stayed with me for weeks. One aspect I especially loved was seeing the friendship between the main character Caitlin and her deceased friend Ingrid through the lens of the past, while at the same time seeing her build new connections with the people around her in the present. The way her memories of Ingrid and the things she leaves behind informs some of her decisions in the present was expertly done.


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The Perks of Being a Wallflower

By Stephen Chbosky

Book cover of The Perks of Being a Wallflower

Why this book?

It’s a classic for a reason! But I really love this story. Being a freshman in high school is challenging enough, and having a few upperclassmen friends to guide you through it can be really formative and life-changing. I think we all have had a Patrick and Sam in our high school experience! I loved reading about Charlie slowly coming into himself while also slowly uncovering his own past. It’s a story that’s heartwarming, heart-wrenching, and absolutely essential reading.


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To All the Boys I've Loved Before

By Jenny Han

Book cover of To All the Boys I've Loved Before

Why this book?

Now onto something much lighter, but equally as memorable and charming! Lara Jean’s narration is so youthful and chaotic, it reminds me so much of myself. While YA is full of teens going out and having daring adventures, I really appreciated reading a story about a girl who just wants to stay home—and a plot that thinks otherwise! Lara Jean’s journey of putting herself out there and embracing what life throws at her was such a beautiful, oftentimes amusing one. Truly a read I could revisit again and again.


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Autoboyography

By Christina Lauren

Book cover of Autoboyography

Why this book?

This is a book that hits hard and stays with you for weeks. Tanner is an out and proud bisexual from California, but when his parents have to relocate to Utah, he tries his best to fly under the radar before graduating. All his plans quickly fail when he meets Sebastian, a boy who comes from a deeply Mormon family, and the two make a connection they can’t run from. Religion and queer identities are tough subjects, but the authors handle them with compassion and heart. A truly touching coming-of-age story.


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The Vast Fields of Ordinary

By Nick Burd

Book cover of The Vast Fields of Ordinary

Why this book?

One of my favourite YA novels ever! The narration in this book truly comes alive. Reading it, the narrator Dade just popped right out of the page and into my inner reading voice. He was so vibrant and full of personality, and while his misadventures were very unlike my own experiences, I still felt a connection to him. I was hooked from beginning to end! This book also inspired me to get back into writing my own novel, so it has a really special place in my heart.


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