Monday, June 3, 2019

Ten Books with Girls Coming of Age

I'm linking up with That Artsy Reader Girl for another Top Ten Tuesday.

This week's topic is ten books in our favorite genre, but I feel like I've covered my favorite nonfiction plenty here: favorite journalistic nonfiction, favorite social science research, and recommended self-improvement books. Instead, I started thinking about a couple of books I'd read recently that included a female character still experiencing (at least at the beginning) the wide-eyed exuberance and innocence characteristic of pre-teens and young teens, reminiscent of the girl I remember being. I decided to come up with ten books that have this kind of girl in them.

1. Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery
I haven't read this since middle school, but it's a classic example of a sweet but feisty girl who gets into plenty of trouble but doesn't yet have any adult-size problems.

2. Cat's Eye by Margaret Atwood
Definitely much darker than most of these, this is one of the best books I've read that shows how grade-school girls can bully and manipulate one another.

3. The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank
Anne Frank's diary captures the voice of a young teen caught between childhood and adulthood (which she, of course, sadly never got to reach). She's starting to think profound thoughts about the world, but she is also self-centered and self-conscious like all girls her age.

4. Harriet the Spy by Louise Fitzhugh
It's been a long time since I read this book, but I remember being around her age (11) and loving the thrill of making secret plans and finding ways to be master of my own life.

5. The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter by Carson McCullers
This book follows the lives of several characters, the youngest of whom is Mick Kelly. She starts out the book full of childish enthusiasm coupled with a desire to be seen as an adult, though by the end she's had enough hard experiences to have lost her innocence about life.

6. The History of Love by Nicole Krauss
One of the two main characters in this book, Alma Singer, is a 14-year-old girl who concocts a plan to help her mother find love after her father's death and then ends up on the trail of a mystery.

7. I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith
This was the recent read that solidified for me how much I love characters with this specific kind of voice. Cassandra, our main narrator, is trying on different identities as she tries to figure out how she fits into her family and what she wants out of life.

8. From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E.L. Konigsburg
As a kid, I enjoyed both the mystery aspect of this book and seeing how 12-year-old Claudia strategizes the details of running away from home to live in a museum.

9. Summer of My German Soldier by Bette Greene
This was my favorite book in 5th grade because I could relate so strongly to the main character, Patty Bergen. She's smart and curious and gets herself into trouble asking too many questions, thinking out loud, and stretching the truth to try to win others' approval and affection.

10. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith
In this classic coming-of-age story, we see Francie Nolan grow from age 11 to age 16. It's a quiet book but captures well the experience of growing up and learning about the world.

Which books would you recommend with this kind of character?

Looking back:
One year ago I was reading: Castle of Wizardry and Disunity in Christ
Five years ago I was reading: Predictably Irrational and The Remains of the Day
Ten years ago I was reading: Metaphors We Live By

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