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Coming-of-Age Classics

Here's a list of beloved time-tested novels and often-controversial classics that have become reading rites of passage.
Cover image for The Giver
The Giver
by Lois Lowry

Jonas's world is perfect. Everything is under control. There is no war or fear of pain. There are no choices. Every person is assigned a role in the community.

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Cover image for The Yearling
The Yearling
by Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings

In 19th century backwoods Florida, a young boy named Jody adopts an orphaned fawn who becomes a treasured member of the family.

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Cover image for Book Guide: Where Red Fern Grows
Book Guide: Where Red Fern Grows
by Wilson Rawls

Billy Colman roams the Ozarks of northeastern Oklahoma with his bluetick hound and his precious coonhound pup trying to "tree" the elusive raccoon. In time, the inseparable trio wins the coveted gold cup in the annual coon-hunt contest, captures the wily ghost coon, and bravely fights with a mountain lion.

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Cover image for Holes
by Louis Sachar

This winner of the Newbery Medal and the National Book Award features Stanley Yelnats, a kid who is under a curse. A curse that began with his no-good-dirty-rotten-pig-stealing-great-great-grandfather and has since followed generations of Yelnats.

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Cover image for Stargirl
by Jerry Spinelli

Stargirl. From the day she arrives at quiet Mica High in a burst of color and sound, the hallways hum with the murmur of "Stargirl, Stargirl." She captures Leo Borlock's heart with just one smile. She sparks a school-spirit revolution with just one cheer. The students of Mica High are enchanted. At first.

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Cover image for Waves
by Sharon Dogar

* "Skillfully narrated through Hal and Charley's alternating voices and thoughts, Dogar frequently and seamlessly shifts between time and place to create a haunting mystery packed with suffering, hope and personal growth. Riveting." — Kirkus Reviews, starred review

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Cover image for The Secret Garden
The Secret Garden
by Frances Hodgson Burnett Illustrated by Jason Cockcroft

After the sudden death of her parents in India, Mary Lennox is sent 'home' to England, and the Yorkshire estate of a distant relative. Sad and lonely, her only interest lies in a secret garden, abandoned after a tragic accident.

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Cover image for To Kill a Mockingbird
To Kill a Mockingbird
by Harper Lee

Growing up in Alabama during the 1930s, six-year-old Scout Finch leads a fairly charmed life. Her dad, Atticus, is a kind single parent and a well-regarded attorney. Her older brother, Jem, and their lively, offbeat neighbor Dill are her best friends, and together they explore their sleepy hometown of Maycomb.

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Cover image for The Adventures of Tom Sawyer
The Adventures of Tom Sawyer
Series: Apple Classics
by Mark Twain

This irresistible tale of the adventures of two friends growing up in frontier America is one of Mark Twain's most popular novels.

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Cover image for The Catcher in the Rye
The Catcher in the Rye
by J. D. Salinger

Holden Caulfield hates phonies, and there are plenty of them at his Pennsylvania prep school. When he finds out he's going to be expelled because of his poor grades, he decides to leave school a few days earlier than expected.

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Cover image for I Capture the Castle
I Capture the Castle
by Dodie Smith
Seventeen-year-old Cassandra lives in not-so-genteel poverty in a crumbling ruin of an old English castle.
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Cover image for The Perks of Being a Wallflower
The Perks of Being a Wallflower
by Stephen Chbosky

This is the story of what it's like to grow up in high school. More intimate than a diary, Charlie's letters are singular and unique, hilarious and devastating. We may not know where he lives. We may not know to whom he is writing. All we know is the world he shares.

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Cover image for A Tree Grows in Brooklyn
A Tree Grows in Brooklyn
by Betty Smith

Some people call it the Tree of Heaven. No matter where its seeds fall — in boarded-up lots, between cement cracks, or in rubbish heaps — a lush tree will follow. But only in the tenement slums.

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Cover image for Speak
by Laurie Halse Anderson

Melinda enters high school as an utter outcast. She called the cops at an end-of-summer party, and the party was busted. Now her former friends and classmates have all turned their backs on her. But what they don't know is that Melinda had good reason to call the cops: She was raped that night.

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Cover image for The Graveyard Book
The Graveyard Book
by Neil Gaiman Illustrated by Dave McKean

Nobody Owens, known to his friends as Bod, is a normal boy. He would be "completely" normal if he didn't live in a sprawling graveyard, being raised and educated by ghosts, with a solitary guardian who belongs to neither the world of the living nor of the dead.

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Cover image for Lord of the Flies
Lord of the Flies
by William Golding

When a planeload of British schoolboys crash-lands on a deserted Pacific island, the surviving boys struggle to create order among themselves so that they have a chance at being rescued.

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