"I can't stop thinking about it." 11 women on the coming-of-age book that changed them.

A good coming-of-age book has the ability to stick with you for life.

Whether it's a coming-of-age book you read in the midst of your teenage years or one you discovered in adulthood, these are the books that inspire us, challenge us, and ultimately change us.

This week, we asked the Mamamia community to share the coming-of-age books that resonated with them.

From Where The Crawdads Sings to The Perks of Being a Wallflower, here's what they had to say.

Where The Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens. 

"I read Where The Crawdads Sing at the end of the last year and I can't stop thinking about it. I didn't want to leave it. I think it's a coming of age story for all ages and it proves that everyone 'comes of age' at different times and under different circumstances." - Keryn.

"There are a 100 different stories in this book so there's something relevant for almost everyone. I remember crying my eyes out at a story about a girl losing her mum to cancer. It touched me in a way movies and other books hadn't before because they are all real-life stories written by teens." - Emmeline.

Tully by Paullina Simons.

Image: HarperCollins Publishers.

"I picked this book up at random as a young teen when I was sick and took it to bed with me. My god. I was positively plunged into this intense and deeply emotional story. I loved Tully, I hated her. I laughed, I cried, I threw it across the room then raced to pick it back up. I re-read it every few years and each time it slays me in a different way at every life stage. I feel like I have grown up with this book." - Polly.


Looking for Alibrandi by Melina Marchetta.

"I read Looking for Alibrandi during high school and Josie was just so relatable with fighting with her mum, navigating dating, dealing with the stress of school, and also feeling like an 'outsider' because of her heritage." - Melody.

Peeling the Onion by Wendy Orr.

"I first read Peeling the Onion at about 14 years old and it is a book that really stuck with me growing up. The book follows a teenage girl after a terrible car accident. The story gave a great insight into the depths of character, depression, and strength that I had not read about before." - Courtney.

Angus, Thongs and Full Frontal Snogging by Louise Rennison.

Image: Piccadilly Press.

"I remember reading Angus, Thongs and Full Frontal Snogging and feeling like it was such an accurate reflection of my friends and I. Especially how we talked, and how we acted when we were together versus when we were with boys. It sounds a bit cheesy, but it's the first time I realised being quirky is cool rather than something to be embarrassed about." - Hannah.

Queen Kat, Carmel and St Jude Get a Life by Maureen McCarthy.

"This book featured a plus-sized female protagonist, who has a love interest! It CHANGED ME. I found it revolutionary to read about someone like myself being loved and accepted." - Haylie.

The Tomorrow series by John Marsden.

"Although quite full on, these are brilliant, riveting books. The story revolves around a teenage girl named Ellie who is a kick arse strong heroine trying to keep herself and her friends alive in a rural Aussie town after it’s invaded. I loved the books and the character Ellie so much when I was younger that I ended up naming my daughter after her 25 years later." - Sophie.

Looking for Alaska by John Green.

Image: Dutton Children's Books.


"Looking for Alaska was one of my favourite books growing up. It's such a moving story and you can't help but fall in love with every single character. It's an easy read, but it also teaches so many important lessons about life and love and loss. Oh, and it definitely requires tissues." - Sara.

Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret by Judy Blume.

"I have no idea how I would have got through puberty without this book. Judy Blume has this incredible way of making kids feel normal." - Susan.

The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky.

"I read The Perks of Being a Wallflower multiple times during high school. The book follows 'wallflower' Charlie as he moves between adolescence and adulthood while dealing with first dates, new friends, sex, drugs, mental health, and devastating loss. I'm not the type of person who cries while reading books or watching movies, but this book has made me cry every single time I've read it. It helped me see life through a different lens and perfectly captured the essence of the struggles adolescents face." - Jess.

What's your favourite coming of age novel? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.

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Feature Image: Mamamia.

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