A Northern Light Book Cover

A Northern Light

A Northern Light is a story of a girl's search for identity and independence, complicated by the demands of family and financial struggle.

Mattie is faced with how to live her dreams without feeling as though she is betraying her family.
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A Tree Grows in Brooklyn book cover

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn is a timeless classic as well as one of the best coming of age stories of all time.

Set in the early 1900's, the story follows the hardships as well as the achievements of the Nolan family.
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Ada, Legend of a Healer book cover

Ada, Legend of a Healer

This Book is a poignant representation of American culture in the twenty-first century, a story of compassion and the unconquerable power of the human will.

Ada has spent her life shutting people out, but now, with the power to heal the stakes are much higher. What was once a life unnoticed, has turned into a life stalked by those who want to control her. Read More

Jane Eyre book cover

Jane Eyre

Jane Eyre is an incredible example of the strength of the human will but also the tenderness of the human spirit.

Jane is an orphan sentenced to the lower class of society because of her loss. She grows beyond society's judgment into a sensitive woman not afraid of life's challenges.
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Young Fu book cover

Young Fu

Young Fu of the Upper Yangtze is a story of unbearable pressure and struggle but also of the adaptable nature of youth and the importance of sound character. Forced away from the quiet solitude of his family's farm, Young Fu is thrust into the fast, and sometimes cut-throat, pace of city life where he'll be faced with hard choices that will eventually define the man he'll become.
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Huck Finn book cover

Huck Finn

Huckleberry Finn tells the story of societal conditioning and the struggle of a young boy who's determined to do what feels right in his heart.

Huck is faced with a choice, to help a good friend or turn his back on a man that society has judged a slave.
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The Giver book cover

The Giver

Jonas lives in the perfect society, no crime, no financial woes, no suffering, but at what cost? His new job, which was chosen for him by officials, will open a vault of secrets that will certainly bring into focus what he's never questioned: what's the price of a "perfect" society? Read More

The Joy Luck Club book cover

The Joy Luck Club

A The Joy Luck Club is a mesmerizing story of mothers and daughters filling in the gaps of misunderstanding that built up over years of high hopes and unreasonable expectations.
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The Hobbit book cover

The Hobbit

A day well spent for a hobbit is good food, a cozy fire and a full pipe, all in the safe confines of home. Bilbo's comfortable existence is interrupted by a visit from a wizard who wants Bilbo to leave behind all he knows for a mysterious adventure.
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Catcher in the rye book cover

Catcher In The Rye

Everyone expects Holden Caulfield to know what he wants to do with his life, but at sixteen what Holden wants to do is the opposite of what everyone thinks he should. Heading home after being kicked out of school, Holden sets out on a downward spiral of bad choices. Will he find his way?
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the outsiders book cover

The Outsiders

Ponyboy and his gang, the Greasers, have spent their whole lives silently accepting their place at the bottom of society's ladder. But, will they be able to remain silent when a gang of rich kids, the Socs, threaten to beat up any "greaser" they come across?
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homeless bird book cover

Homeless Bird

Koly fears that if her husband, of a pre-arranged marriage, dies she will be unwanted and even worse cast out of society in India. She can't go back to her own family and her husband's family will only see her as a burden. Why should one person's value be based on another's?
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time of the doves book cover

Time of the Doves

In Spain during the civil war, a young girl named Natalia stumbles onto her path in life, learning that despair, loss, and sorrow are, at times, the painful ingredients in self discovery. But, along this dark and troubled road is where her true character begins to bloom.
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Swann's Way book cover

Swann's Way

Marcel Proust beautifully captures life through the eyes of a young boy growing up in French society during the late 19th century. The narrator describes his thoughts and feelings on the parental injustices and naive confusion of coming of age.
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The Red Tent book cover

The Red Tent

The Red Tent is the story of Dinah, a biblical figure from The Book of Genesis. Dinah is barely mentioned in the bible, but Anita Diamant masterfully weaves a story that brings her to life along with a richly detailed vision of what life was like for women during the biblical times.
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The Lord of the Flies book cover

The Lord Of The Flies

A powerfully written, but disturbing example of the wicked nature that lingers just under the surface of humanity. What would become of a group of boys stranded on an uninhabited island?
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Children of the Arbat book cover

Children of the Arbat

This book follows the lives of a circle of young friends coming of age in Russia during the reign of Stalin. Anatoli Rybakov masterfully describes the psychological destruction inflicted on a generation subjected to Stalin's oppressive governing through fear.
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Coming of Age Books

Page 5

 

Lord of the Flies Book Cover


Title:

Lord of the Flies

Author:

William Golding

Publisher:

Perigree (1954)

Page Count:

202

ISBN #:

0571056865

Website:

 

Publication Date:

1954

 

Description:
Lord of The Flies begins as an adventure that turns to a horrifying descent into the evil nature of what all humanity is capable of. A group of boys are stranded on a deserted island. The fight for survival turns to a struggle for power. William Golding masterfully shows readers the brutal cruelty and simple innocence of a group of boys surviving alone in the wild. The boys come-of- age in their own makeshift society where standards are created and enforced by the most aggressive.


Thoughts:
Lord of The Flies brings to attention the cruel and herd like nature that humanity, young boys in this particular case, can succumb to, as well as, the helplessness an individual can feel when up against a group of people that morally seem on the wrong track. William Golding creates deep compelling characters in a diverse group of boys. Simon seems to represent good, sound character while Jack represents cruel, corrupt character, and the other boys are left to choose sides. Innocence of youth coupled with bone chilling cold-heartedness are unnerving undertones throughout the book. When a majority of the boys decide on a particular code of conduct it becomes dangerous for anyone who doesn't agree. Even during the bizarre turn of events most of the boys seem like decent kids, but they become grossly twisted and are willing to participate in the worst transgressions. Are they still accountable for their actions and choices, most definitely.  Accountability is one of the first obligations lost on the island and moral responsibilities disintegrate rapidly thereafter. Golding's book is a thought provoking account of the cruel chaos that could happen to a group of youth or adults left to govern themselves on an island in the middle of nowhere.
A question that came to mind while reading Lord of The Flies:
When children calculatingly commit brutal crime should they be tried and punished the same as adults or should they be given more tolerance because of their impressionability? (In Jack's case, it's hard to think of him as impressionable.)


Favorite quote:
And in the middle of them, with filthy body, matted hair, and unwiped nose, Ralph wept for the end of innocence, the darkness of man's heart, and the fall through the air of the true, wise friend called Piggy.
            --William Golding Lord of The Flies


 

 

Memoirs of a Geisha Book Cover


Title:

Memoirs of a Geisha

Author:

Arthur Golden

Publisher:

Vintage; Vintage contemporaries ed edition (January 10, 1999)

Page Count:

448

ISBN #:

9780679781585

Website:

 

Publication Date:

1997


Description:
In a fishing village in Japan, young Chiyo is faced with losing her mother to sickness. A wealthy neighbor comes forward offering help that ends up separating Chiyo from her family and thrusting her into the world of Geisha. Strong willed, Chiyo attempts to resist her new life but quickly realizes there are few options for a young girl, and poor choices cost her, compounding her debt to the woman who owns her. Faced with the choice of being a lowly servant or an honored Geisha, Chiyo embraces her new calling and sets out to become Japan's most famous Geisha, Sayuri.

 

 

Thoughts:
Chiyo is a strong willed character. When she first decides to liberate herself from being an enslaved Geisha, freedom seems as if it's just around the corner, but everyone around her, as well as Japanese culture, seems to be set against her.
Instead of helping a child who's about to lose her mother, the neighbor, Mr. Tanaka, convinces Chiyo's father to sell his daughters. Chiyo is sent to a house of Geisha and her sister is sent to a house of prostitution. Every mistake adds to an enormous debt that keeps Chiyo from freedom. It was shocking to think that such a well trained beauty as a Geisha, was really an enslaved woman trapped somewhere between servant, entertainer and prostitute. The true success of a Geisha is when she's paid her debt to the mother of the Okiya, which buys back her stolen freedom. It clarifies the twisted state of patriarch societies when a woman's enslaved position is honored and admired on the surface, but underneath is a hidden story of suppression and degradation.

 

 

Questions that came to mind while reading Memoirs of a Geisha:
Chiyo's neighbor, Mr. Tanaka, spoke of his own hardship growing up and how his life became better after marrying into a wealthy family, why did he feel that selling Chiyo to a Geisha house would offer her a similar opportunity to obtaining success?

 

 

Favorite Quote:
As for Mother, there was never a moment's doubt in my mind that she would survive. With her highly developed ability to benefit from other people's suffering...she spent the war growing richer instead of poorer by buying and selling other people's heirlooms.
            Arthur Golden Memoirs of a Geisha

 

 

 

The Red Tent Book Cover


Title:

The Red Tent

Author:

Anita Diamant

Publisher:

Picador (August 21, 2007)

Page Count:

352

ISBN #:

9780312427290

Website:

 

Publication Date:

1997


Description:
The Red Tent tells the story of what life could have been like for women during biblical times, through the eyes of Dinah. All of the traditions, hardships, superstitions and camaraderie are shared by the women of the tribe, inside the red tent. After coming of age in the close knit, caring environment of her family, Dinah's life takes a different and not so comforting turn, but the foundation of love and loyalty is unshakable.

 

Thoughts:
The bond that the women shared was incredible. They looked out for each other, cared for each other's needs, and they didn't have to be from the same family to feel this camaraderie. In the beginning there seemed to be an instant respect and loyalty among women, and then, through competitiveness and the desire to please men over friendship between women, a deep and treacherous divide grew. True friendships stayed strong, but it was startling to watch (the writing feels as though you're watching) this slow destruction of the unity of women.

 

Questions that came to mind while reading The Red Tent:
Does living in a patriarch society create a divide and cut throat attitude by women toward other women, an example from the book was when the women in the newer tribes made it a rule that a woman's worth to a man was judged by her being a virgin and having a dowry?  Are there examples of this thinking in today's society?

 

 

Favorite quote:
"For a moment I weighed the idea of keeping my secret and remaining a girl, but the thought passed quickly. I could only be what I was. And I was a woman."
        -Anita Diamant The Red Tent

 

 

Something wicked this way comes  Book Cover


Title:

Something wicked this way comes

Author:

Ray Bradbury

Publisher:

Harper Voyager

Page Count:

304

ISBN #:

0380977273

Website:

 

Publication Date:

1962


 

Description: 
The real evil in Something Wicked This Way Comes is the product of human discontent and fear when faced with growing up and growing old. Best friends Will Halloway and Jim Nightshade are seeking adventure but come face to face with evil, on the eve of their fourteenth birthdays, when a dark carnival arrives in their small Illinois town in the early morning hours.  Will faces the fear and uncertainty of his age with a strength of character beyond his years.  Jim’s discontent, and impatience toward coming of age lead him to be reckless.  Will’s father, Charles Halloway, is disappointed with the achievements of his life and disillusioned about hope for a better future.  Mr. Dark, the malevolent proprietor of the carnival, will provide the ultimate test for all three by offering to give them what they desire but the price is a terror, that if they survive it, will change them forever.

 

 

Thoughts on the book: 
This is a bizarre tale of the discontent people experience in all stages of their lives and how that discontent is within us and can only be overcome from within. It’s about the courage to face our fears and fight evil with goodness, the only thing that is successful.  It’s about coming to know the important things in life and finding contentment in them in spite of life being imperfect.

 

 

A question to think about when reading Something Wicked This Way Comes: 
People often say they’d like to be young again, with the knowledge they have gained through years of living, but that knowledge would change the experiences and outcomes of everything we have done in our lives, therefore, isn’t it better to use that experience and knowledge to make better decisions in our present life?

 

 

Favorite quote: 
            “Evil has only the power that we give it.  I give you nothing.  I take back. Starve. Starve. Starve.”
           
            -Ray Bradbury Something Wicked This Way Comes

 

 

Homeless Bird Book Cover


Title:

Homeless Bird

Author:

Gloria Whelan

Publisher:

HarperCollins (August 21, 2001)

Page Count:

192

ISBN #:

9780064408196

Website:

Publication Date:

August 21, 2001

Description from back of book (Harper Trophy):
Koly's parents have arranged a marriage for their only daughter and now, like many girls her age in India, she will leave home forever. She yearns to flee, but tradition dictates that it's too late to turn back. On her wedding day, Koly's fate is sealed.


Caught up in a current of tradition that threatens to sweep her toward a terrifying fate, Koly finds herself cast out, lost in a strange and cruel world. But sometimes, courage and hope can be more powerful than tradition and fate can be taken into one's own hands.


Thoughts:
Most of today's societies are patriarchal. Koly fears that if her husband, of a pre-arranged marriage, dies she will be unwanted and even worse cast out of society in India. Why should one person's value be based on another's? Koly isn't going through typical coming-of-age adolescence issues such as finding identity. Her identity has been bound to a husband that she didn't even choose. Her biggest struggle is trying to cling to the lower wrung of a society that doesn't value her, at all.


A question that came to mind while reading Homeless Bird: When one Gender dominates another in society, a natural occurrence would be that the dominating gender would have access to many more benefits and opportunities. What kind of set back does this cause society as a whole?

 

Favorite quote:
            "I don't want to marry a handful of rupees."
                        --Gloria Whelan Homeless Bird

 

 

Tuck Everlasting Book Cover


Title:

Tuck Everlasting

Author:

Natalie Babbitt

Publisher:

Harper Perennial Modern Classics (May 30, 2006)

Page Count:

139

ISBN #:

0312369816

Website:

 

Publication Date:

1975


 

 

 

Page 6

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Coming Of Age Books