For A to Z 2018, my theme is Books About ____. If you’re stopping by from your own A to Z blog, feel free to leave a link. If you need help with how to do that, you can look here.
If you’re someone looking to read a lot of great blogs, here’s the link for the A to Z challenge.
With the frequency that young adult fiction shows up on this blog, it may come as no surprise that a lot of them have themes about growing up. We all get older, but we don’t all get wiser… at least not at the same rate. I could have done all YA books, but I decided to mix it up a bit. It’s more fun that way.
Everything, Everything, by Nicola Yoon (YA contemporary): Maddy is literally allergic to everything, so she’s not allowed to go outside or interact with other people. She’s lonely but has figured out how to build a life for herself. Growing up often means questioning what people have told us and learning about the world for ourselves, and that’s what Maddy ultimately has to do when she starts developing a friendship with Olly, the boy who moves in next door. I was in Las Vegas, hanging out with a friend I hadn’t seen in years, and I still couldn’t put this book down. I’m pretty sure she’s forgiven me.
Pride & Prejudice, by Jane Austen (literary classic): Elizabeth and Darcy both grow up throughout this book, learning that the assumptions they’ve made about others (but mostly each other) are not correct. I love this book for that reason (and many others). There are so many adults out there who would benefit from learning this lesson.
The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, by L. Frank Baum (classic): First off, I have to say this… the book is VERY different from the movie. The same main characters are there, and the same basic thing happens, but the book has so much more. When the book starts, Dorothy gets swept away to the land of Oz, and all she wants is for someone to send her back home. She (and eventually the Scarecrow, Tin Man, and Cowardly Lion) go to seek out Oz to give them the things they want. Along the journey, they have to find their courage and will to fight through obstacles. In the process, Dorothy learns about herself and what’s really important.
A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, by Betty Smith (bildungsroman): I read this last year for the Popsugar challenge, “a genre you’ve never heard of.” Bildungsroman is “a novel dealing with someone’s formative years or spiritual education.” It follows Francie from the time she’s about 11 up until about 16. She’s growing up in the slums with a mother who works too hard and a father who’s a drunk. But through it all, Francie finds ways to stay happy and survive. It’s a quiet novel with little action, but Francie is so compelling that it kept me turning pages.
What books about growing up do you love?
Anne of Green Gables is one of my all time! A new favorite that is similar to ATGIB is Manhattan Beach by Jennifer Egan. It’s not YA but I think you’d like it. I can have Ramona forward it to you.
Sounds good! And I liked Anne of Green Gables a lot. There were too many to choose from in this category.
Of course Oz. I think I read A Tree Grows In Brooklyn for school but perhaps it’s time to re-read some of these classics.
Catcher in the Rye in a very dark way.
True. I know a lot of people who liked that book, but it wasn’t my thing.
Several books by Dickens would fit nicely in this category.
I can’t answer your question so now you have me thinking. I haven’t read some of these books so will check them out.
Sue from Sizzling Towards 60 & Beyond
G is for Generosity
I was a big fan of Nancy Drew, The hardy boys, and Donna Parker books. Loved the Wizard of Oz. As a teacher, I taught a number of books on this theme including Holes, The Outsiders, and the sci-fi Z for Zachariah. I suppose all of the Harry potter books cover this theme too.
Susanne from Living the Dream
I just posted on another blog about how Pride and Prejudice is my go-to movie that I watch and re-watch. I also love the book and reread it every few years. Weekends In Maine
Bildungsroman is a genre we don’t hear much about. I’ve seen that on reading challenges too but haven’t taken the leap into finding a book that fills the bill.
Excellent collection. I’ve read most of them so I guess I grew up fine!
My mother had me read A Tree Grows In Brooklyn when I was in junior high, and it quickly became one of my favorite books. I had my kids read it and I even got my husband to read it, and everyone loved it. I think Judy Blume books are excellent “growing up” books, especially Are You There, God, It’s Me, Margaret and Forever. I have well-worn copies of both, and my daughter has loved them as well.
Good point, I read Judy Blume growing up, but I didn’t even think about her when writing that. I should have.