100 books like A Tree Grows in Brooklyn

By Betty Smith,

Here are 100 books that A Tree Grows in Brooklyn fans have personally recommended if you like A Tree Grows in Brooklyn. Shepherd is a community of 10,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of The Lovely Bones

Peggy Webb Author Of Black Crow Cabin

From my list on books about crime that transcend the genre.

Why am I passionate about this?

I grew up on a small farm in Mississippi and discovered the wide world through a movable feast of books provided by the Bookmobile. The hayloft was my favorite reading spot. I could look across the lake to imagine myself in WWII Paris, the frozen tundras of Alaska, or anywhere beyond the pastures where Daddy’s cattle grazed. I fell in love with words when I was eight years old, a dreamer spinning stories inspired by the ones I read between the covers of my beloved books. I still love words and hear their music as they flow onto the pages of the thrillers I currently write.

Peggy's book list on books about crime that transcend the genre

Peggy Webb Why did Peggy love this book?

By Alice Sebold,

Why should I read it?

9 authors picked The Lovely Bones as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The internationally bestselling novel that inspired the acclaimed film directed by Peter Jackson.

With an introduction by Karen Thompson Walker, author of The Age of Miracles.

My name was Salmon, like the fish; first name, Susie. I was fourteen when I was murdered on December 6, 1973.

In heaven, Susie Salmon can have whatever she wishes for - except what she most wants, which is to be back with the people she loved on earth. In the wake of her murder, Susie watches as her happy suburban family is torn apart by grief; as her friends grow up, fall in…

Book cover of To Kill a Mockingbird

Katie K. May Author Of You're on Fire, It's Fine: Effective Strategies for Parenting Teens with Self-Destructive Behaviors

From my list on healing family dynamics and generational trauma.

Why am I passionate about this?

My journey from a teen struggling with self-harm, drug use, and overwhelming emotions to a DBT-Linehan Board of Certification Clinician™ and director of Creative Healing, Teen Support Centers, uniquely positions me to understand the deep emotional challenges teens face. Having navigated my own tumultuous youth and now parenting a "Fire Feeler" teen, I use my personal and professional insights to guide thousands of teens and their parents. I am passionately committed to creating environments where teens are supported while the entire family learns skills to improve and work together.

Katie's book list on healing family dynamics and generational trauma

Katie K. May Why did Katie love this book?

I treasure this book and recently reread it alongside my own teen! It profoundly showcases the courage required to challenge deep-seated prejudices within a community and family.

Witnessing Scout Finch's perspective on her father Atticus' stand against racial injustice amidst moral dilemmas serves as a powerful reminder of the strength needed to confront and transcend the biases we inherit, a journey that resonates with my own experiences of overcoming familial legacies.

By Harper Lee,

Why should I read it?

34 authors picked To Kill a Mockingbird as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'Shoot all the bluejays you want, if you can hit 'em, but remember it's a sin to kill a mockingbird.'

Atticus Finch gives this advice to his children as he defends the real mockingbird of this classic novel - a black man charged with attacking a white girl. Through the eyes of Scout and Jem Finch, Lee explores the issues of race and class in the Deep South of the 1930s with compassion and humour. She also creates one of the great heroes of literature in their father, whose lone struggle for justice pricks the conscience of a town steeped…

Book cover of Room

Kate Robards Author Of Only The Guilty Survive

From my list on thrillers inspired by real events.

Why am I passionate about this?

My new thriller centers around a small, mysterious cult and their shocking demise. For years, I’ve read true crime books on the subject, and I wanted to infuse the reality and truth of real-life events into my fictional novel. In a similar vein, these books represent a range of thrillers inspired by true events, ranging from cults to serial killers to teenage criminals. I hope you find these books as gripping and haunting as I do.

Kate's book list on thrillers inspired by real events

Kate Robards Why did Kate love this book?

I first read Room more than a decade ago, and it’s one of those haunting stories that’s stayed with me ever since. It’s loosely inspired by the kidnapping of a woman named Elisabeth Fritzl. The author has been quoted saying that she was “triggered” by the case. The real-life story is chilling, and so is Donoghue’s fictional take on the subject.

I consider the novel to be an absolute standout. I find it particularly captivating because it’s told from the point of view of the imprisoned woman’s five-year-old son. At times, it is a difficult read because of its subject matter, but it has heart, and by telling the story through the eyes of a child, Donoghue crafted a novel you won’t soon forget.

By Emma Donoghue,

Why should I read it?

5 authors picked Room as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A major film starring Brie Larson.
Shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize.
Shortlisted for the Orange Prize.

Picador Classics edition with an introduction by John Boyne, author of The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas.

Today I'm five. I was four last night going to sleep in Wardrobe, but when I wake up in Bed in the dark I'm changed to five, abracadabra.

Jack lives with his Ma in Room. Room has a single locked door and a skylight, and it measures ten feet by ten feet. Jack loves watching TV but he knows that nothing he sees on the screen…

Book cover of Great Expectations

Richard Vetere Author Of She's Not There

From my list on classic coming-of-age set within the last century.

Why am I passionate about this?

Richard Vetere’s teleplay adaptation of his published stage play The Marriage Fool, starring Walter Matthau, Carol Burnet, and John Stamos, now streaming on Amazon. He co-wrote the movie The Third Miracle, which is a screenplay adaptation of his own novel. It was produced by Francis Ford Coppola, directed by Agnieszka Holand, and stars Ed Harris and Anne Heche released by Sony Picture Classics. His screenplay Caravaggio, an adaptation of his own published stage play, won the Golden Palm Award for Best Screenplay at the Beverly Hills International Film Festival in 2021. In 2005, the Frank Melville Library at Stony Brook University created the Richard Vetere Collection, an archive of his work.  

Richard's book list on classic coming-of-age set within the last century

Richard Vetere Why did Richard love this book?

You cannot mention a coming-of-age novel without mentioning this classic.

Pip is an orphan who meets an escaped prisoner in a graveyard, does him a good deed, then is made a gentleman from an inheritance he knows nothing about. All of us enter our youth with great expectations and some of us are lucky enough, or unlucky, to meet our own beautiful Estella or the damaged and doomed Miss Havisham or the worldly and wise attorney Mister Jaggers.

Set in London where the worlds of extreme poverty and privilege co-exist side by side, we experience this world firsthand as Pip does wondering, all the time, if we can survive it unscathed. Ignore all other movie adaptations since they will only disappoint. Screen the 1946 version directed by David Lean. It is a great film.

By Charles Dickens,

Why should I read it?

10 authors picked Great Expectations as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'His novels will endure as long as the language itself' Peter Ackroyd

Dickens's haunting late novel depicts the education and development of a young man, Pip, as his life is changed by a series of events - a terrifying encounter with an escaped convict in a graveyard on the wild Kent marshes; a summons to meet the bitter, decaying Miss Havisham and her beautiful, cold-hearted ward Estella; the sudden generosity of a mysterious benefactor - and he discovers the true nature of his 'great expectations'. This definitive edition includes appendices on Dickens's original ending, giving an illuminating glimpse into a…

Book cover of Memoirs of a Geisha

Michael Grothaus Author Of Beautiful Shining People

From my list on reads set in Japan.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve spent a lot of time in Japan, and my new novel, Beautiful Shining People, is a direct result of two profound experiences I had there. The first was when I was hiking through the hills of Kyoto late one night and turned around to see a glowing creature–some have said they think I saw a kami. The second experience happened when I was in Hiroshima at the Peace Park. I immediately started crying, seeing all the schoolchildren learning about the horrible atrocity committed against their ancestors. I have no idea why it affected me so much, but it was one of the most moving experiences of my life.

Michael's book list on reads set in Japan

Michael Grothaus Why did Michael love this book?

Memoirs of a Geisha is the only book I’ve actually dreamed about while reading – that’s how much it gripped me.

Not only are the characters richly drawn, the cultural details and world of pre-war Japan are so immersive you’ll feel like you are walking the streets of the Kyoto of almost a century ago. This book also fascinates me because it is the only one Arthur Golden ever wrote.

I don’t know why he never wrote again, but how could he top it? It’s the perfect novel.

By Arthur Golden,

Why should I read it?

6 authors picked Memoirs of a Geisha as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'An epic tale and a brutal evocation of a disappearing world' The Times

A young peasant girl is sold as servant and apprentice to a renowned geisha house. Many years later she tells her story from a hotel in New York, opening a window into an extraordinary half-hidden world of eroticism and enchantment, exploitation and degradation and summoning up a quarter of a century of Japan's dramatic history.

'Intimate and brutal, written in cool, lucid prose it is a novel whose psychological empathy and historical truths are outstanding' Mail on Sunday

Book cover of My Brilliant Friend

David Ciminello Author Of The Queen of Steeplechase Park

From my list on quirky wisdom filled love stories.

Why am I passionate about this?

Growing up queer and Italian in suburban New Jersey in the late 1960s and early 70s, it was the passionate love of food and family that got me through the tough times. I learned to cook from my mother and my grandmothers. I gardened and picked tomatoes with my grandfathers. There was always a pot of simmering tomato gravy and magic meatballs on the stove. My mother’s chicken parmigiana, my paternal grandmother’s homemade ravioli, my maternal grandmother’s stuffed clams, my great aunt’s baked chicken. As a writer, it became my mission to share these secret family recipes and the loving life lessons that saved me.

David's book list on quirky wisdom filled love stories

David Ciminello Why did David love this book?

Set in Naples, Italy, this culturally rich book is the first in a series of four connected novels that tell the complete story of a profound and intense friendship between two women who are opposites in almost every way.

It is a friendship-love story that illustrates how a deep and abiding love can help and hurt two people. My Italian ancestors are from Naples, and Elena Ferrante’s books capture the spirit of their passions while delivering complex and emotional life lessons.

By Elena Ferrante, Ann Goldstein (translator),

Why should I read it?

13 authors picked My Brilliant Friend as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?









Now in B-format Paperback

From one of Italy's most acclaimed authors, comes this ravishing and generous-hearted novel about a friendship that lasts a lifetime. The story of Elena and Lila begins in the 1950s in a poor but…

Book cover of Life of Pi

Ken Wells Author Of Swamped!

From my list on coming of age survival and adventure.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a child, all I wanted to read were books about adventure. I also had an adventurous childhood, growing up in the Louisiana swamps with a father who actually hunted alligators and took me with him. As I came of age, I longed to tell stories, and, as they say, it’s best to write about what you know. To date, I’ve penned six novels, all set in the exotic wetlands of Cajun, Louisiana. I feel missionary about this—that my writing gifts allow me to decode my homeplace in a way that makes it easier for outsiders to see the singular niche it occupies on the American landscape. 

Ken's book list on coming of age survival and adventure

Ken Wells Why did Ken love this book?

I love this book because it is one of the most stunning leaps of imagination I have ever read. The story is fresh, original, enchanting, and engrossing, crossing both literal seas and a large sea of imagination with surprises at every turn.

Pi, the young Indian boy at the center of the story, is beautifully drawn as he confronts his survival on a raft that he shares under the most unusual of circumstances. The issues—courage, resilience, humility, spirituality—resonate with all of us contemplating the human condition.

By Yann Martel,

Why should I read it?

23 authors picked Life of Pi as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 14, 15, 16, and 17.

What is this book about?

After the sinking of a cargo ship, a solitary lifeboat remains bobbing on the wild blue Pacific. The only survivors from the wreck are a sixteen-year-old boy named Pi, a hyena, a wounded zebra, an orangutan—and a 450-pound Royal Bengal tiger.

Soon the tiger has dispatched all but Pi Patel, whose fear, knowledge, and cunning allow him to coexist with the tiger, Richard Parker, for 227 days while lost at sea. When they finally reach the coast of Mexico, Richard Parker flees to the jungle, never to be seen again. The Japanese authorities who interrogate Pi refuse to believe his…

Book cover of Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close

Rohit Prasad Author Of The Pilgrim: Inferno Redux

From my list on the aftermath of 9/11 on people’s everyday lives.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have lived in the US, and particularly lived and worked in New York, for many years. How the events of 9/11 changed the city, its people, and the perceptions of the people all around the country and the world has always intrigued me. 9/11 has put up a prism through which experiences have emanated out in a kaleidoscopic range of stories. A banker by day and a cynical blogger by night, I have traveled the world and have met many interesting people with compelling backgrounds and have experienced many peculiar and beautiful things. I love to explore the confluence of fascinating narrative arcs and life-altering events. 

Rohit's book list on the aftermath of 9/11 on people’s everyday lives

Rohit Prasad Why did Rohit love this book?

A precocious and inquisitive child Oskar goes on a treasure hunt around New York to solve a mystery left behind by his father who had died on 9/11.

In his quest, you see a child seeking to stay close to his father a little while longer. In his streams of consciousness and hyperactive imagination, you feel him trying to fill the void left behind by a supportive father figure.

With the sheer weight of his innocence, he gets strangers to open up to him, let him into their lives, and add to their life stories. In a moving manner, the narrative follows the path that Oskar, his mother and his grandfather take in dealing with trauma and finding closure in their own personal ways.

By Jonathan Safran Foer,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 14, 15, 16, and 17.

What is this book about?



From the critically acclaimed author of Here I Am, Everything is Illuminated and We are the Weather - a heartrending and unforgettable novel set in the aftermath of the 9/11

'Utterly engaging, hugely involving, tragic, funny and intensely moving... A heartbreaker' Spectator

'The most incredible fictional nine-year-old ever created... a funny, heart-rending portrayal of a child coping with disaster. It will have you biting back the tears' Glamour

'Pulsates with dazzling ideas' Times Literary Supplement

'It's a miracle... So impeccably imagined, so courageously executed, so everlastingly moving' Baltimore Sun…

Book cover of A Separate Peace

Kevin Carey Author Of Junior Miles and the Junkman

From my list on by writers in the first-person voice.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve always been fascinated with the first-person voice, the way it magically pulls us into a story through the character’s/narrator’s perspective, and how when done well, can feel so natural and personal. I’ve tried to write in this perspective over the years, sometimes successfully, sometimes not. I hope I have done it adequately with this current novel. I wouldn’t say I’m an expert when it comes to the first-person, but I am an interested participant. I am a creative writing professor, but I am also a student of writing and always will be. The more I investigate, the more I read, the more I learn. Focusing on this topic has been no exception. 

Kevin's book list on by writers in the first-person voice

Kevin Carey Why did Kevin love this book?

The reason I chose this book is simple. It was the first one to show me the first-person way.

I read this book in high school around 1973 and it stayed with me all these years. This dark side of adolescence skillfully narrated by the introverted Gene is as real today for me as it was when I was a prep school kid reading it.

Gene remembers some fifteen years earlier as he comes back to visit, and tells this story under the guise of a quintessential American story, though as he says “a very untypical one, I guess, and unfamiliar transitional blur in the memories of most people, which is the real America for me.” Every first-person story I’ve tried to write since has had a little bit of Gene in it. 

By John Knowles,

Why should I read it?

6 authors picked A Separate Peace as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?


'A novel that made such a deep impression on me at sixteen that I can still conjure the atmosphere in my fifties: of yearning, infatuation mingled indistinguishably with envy, and remorse' Lionel Shriver

An American coming-of-age tale during a period when the entire country was losing its innocence to the second world war.

Set at a boys' boarding school in New England during the early years of World War II, A Separate Peace is a harrowing and luminous parable of the dark side of adolescence. Gene is a lonely, introverted intellectual.…

Book cover of The House of Mirth

Jan Eliasberg Author Of Hannah's War

From my list on exploring the world from a female point of view.

Why am I passionate about this?

I was raised to believe that I could do everything a man could do, just as Ginger Rodgers did, “backwards and in high heels.” My discovery that social expectations and boundaries for women were vastly different than those for men came as an enormous shock, and struck me as deeply, tragically unfair. I take strength from women in history, as well as from fictional female characters, who passionately pursue roles in a man’s world that are considered transgressive or forbidden. As a glass-ceiling-shattering female film and television director I take inspiration from women who have the gritty determination to live on their own terms. And then tell it as they lived it.

Jan's book list on exploring the world from a female point of view

Jan Eliasberg Why did Jan love this book?

This novel’s power remains intact every time I read it, even as the nature of the tragedy seems to shift – from the perils of living by one’s looks (my teenage reading) to the cruelty of the world towards women (my young adult reading) to the struggle for personal freedom in a money-obsessed culture (my more recent readings).

Edith Wharton’s novel is a masterpiece, both electrifying and relevant, and worth re-reading as often as possible. 

Once you finish the book, watch the Terence Davies-directed film, starring the luminous Gillian Anderson as Lily Bart.

By Edith Wharton,

Why should I read it?

8 authors picked The House of Mirth as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A bestseller when it was published nearly a century ago, this literary classic established Edith Wharton as one of the most important American writers in the twentieth century-now with a new introduction from Pulitzer Prize-winning author Jennifer Egan.

Wharton's first literary success-a devastatingly accurate portrait of New York's aristocracy at the turn of the century-is considered by many to be her most important novel, and Lily Bart, her most unforgettable character. Impoverished but well-born, the beautiful and beguiling Lily realizes a secure future depends on her acquiring a wealthy husband. But with her romantic indiscretion, gambling debts, and a maelstrom…

5 book lists we think you will like!

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