Coming of Age

Cover of Are You There God, It's Me Margaret
Staff Picks

Check out our list of Coming of Age books for captivating tales of growth and self-discovery.

Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret by Judy Blume
Judy Blume's "Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret" is a coming-of-age story that holds a special place in many readers' hearts. First published in 1970, the book tackles themes of puberty, friendship, and self-discovery in a way that's still relatable today. Margaret, the main character, isn't happy about moving to New Jersey with her parents. As an only child, she's already dealing with a lot of changes, and a new town adds another layer of adjustment. The book honestly portrays the experiences of a girl going through puberty, including her thoughts, feelings, and even her first period. In a unique twist, Margaret finds comfort by talking to God through prayer. Her prayers are both humorous and sincere, making her a relatable character for young readers. "Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret" is a comforting read for tween girls on the cusp of puberty. It offers humor and understanding, and its themes remain relevant even decades after its publication. The book can be revisited as an adult and still spark those familiar feelings – a true testament to Judy Blume's writing.

A Movie Adaptation: A movie adaptation of the book, also titled "Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret", was released in 2023. The film captures the same emotions as the book and features a strong cast, including Abby Ryder Fortson, Rachel McAdams, and Kathy Bates. It's a great choice for a family movie night, particularly for mothers and daughters to watch together. The movie has a PG-13 rating and has won several awards, including the People's Choice Award for Comedy Movie of the Year. -- Ashley

The Diviners by Margaret Laurence
"The Diviners" is a novel by Margaret Laurence that draws from her own life experiences. Despite being published in 1974, the challenges faced by Morag as a mother, wife, and writer still ring true to me today. Juggling the expectations of men, her daughter, and her creative pursuits, Morag seeks to carve out a life of independence. It's a compelling story written by an extraordinary woman.  - Elisa

The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss
In Patrick Rothfuss’ fantasy, "The Name of the Wind", main character Kvothe chronicles his journey from being a homeless orphan living in the depths of poverty to being the most notorious wizard the world has seen. This epic coming of age story has wonderful prose, an interesting and admirable protagonist, and a slow, but fascinating plot. - Natashia

The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton
"The Outsiders" by S.E. Hinton is more than a book—it's a journey into Ponyboy Curtis's world. Facing societal divisions between "Socs" and "Greasers," Ponyboy grapples with identity and belonging. The phrase "Stay Gold, Ponyboy" captures the essence of preserving innocence. It's a tale of friendship, loyalty, and brotherhood, inspiring hope in the face of adversity. A must-read!  I often recommend it to others.  - Jen 

Who Has Seen the Wind by W.O. Mitchell
"Who Has Seen the Wind" is the story of young Brian O'Connal growing up in a small town in Saskatchewan in the 1930s.  In his preface, Mitchell states: "I have tried to present sympathetically the struggle of a boy to understand...the ultimate meaning of the cycle of life. To him are revealed in moments of fleeting vision the realities of birth, hunger, satiety, eternity, death." The story is marvellously told, with flashes of humour, and populated with rich colourful characters. Mitchell's description of the prairie, as seen through Brian's eyes, is a place of wondrous beauty. This is, hands down, one of the best novels ever written about our country. - Ken