55 Fascinating Adult Books – Teaching Expertise

Adult books are part of a genre that spans generations, telling greater truths about the human experience. Through themes of romance, sexuality, grief, racial identity, and the conflict of adolescence, readers can find common ground with the characters that make them true page-turners.

Here are 55 adult books everyone needs to know, from historical classics to new hits.

1. Andre Eichmann Call Me By Your Name

This book has become the box office classic everyone is talking about. At his parents’ summer house on the Italian Riviera, a teenage boy and a guest embark on a summer romance. It’s a coming-of-age story that shakes up the genre like never before.

Learn more: Amazon

2. Where the Crawdads sing

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The book quickly swept the bestseller lists and has a much-anticipated film adaptation. One story follows Kya’s life in the North Carolina Everglades, while the second involves a murder mystery in a nearby town. It’s a gripping coming-of-age story reminiscent of Harper Lee’s “To Kill a Mockingbird.”

Learn more: Amazon

3. Julie Murphy’s Dumplings

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Dumpling never imagined herself a beauty queen, much to the dismay of her pageant-winning mother. But when Dumpling decided to enter the pageant as a plus-size girl, her mother was ashamed of the so-called “spectacle” her daughter caused. Here’s a fun take on the mother-daughter relationship and learning to love yourself.

Learn more: Amazon

4. Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo

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“Poet X” follows Dominican teen Xiomara Batista who lives in Harlem, New York. Through poetry, she grapples with family strife, while dealing with impending confirmations, tensions with her brother, new love interests, and an increasingly complicated relationship with her mother.

Learn more: Amazon

5. Midnight by Sarah Nicole Smetana

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Susannah was uprooted when her mom moved them to Southern California following the sudden death of her former rock star father. She sees this as an opportunity to reinvent herself and potentially become the singer-songwriter she’s always dreamed of being.

Learn more: Amazon

6. Everything within and between Nikki Barthelmess

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Ri was never allowed to accept her Mexican heritage, but she embarked on a journey with a mother she never met. This journey of personal growth and self-discovery offers a relevant storyline and a lesson in heartbreaking introspection.

Learn more: Amazon

7. Black Flamingos by Dean Atta

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Michael is a mixed-race teenager living in London who is coming to terms with his gender identity and sexuality. Through the colorful world of drag, he takes readers on a journey that explores all aspects of human nature.

Learn more: Amazon

8. Leah on the Offbeat by Becky Albertalli

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This is a heartfelt follow-up to Simon vs. Homo Sapiens Agenda and follows the journey of Leah, a closed bisexual teen with a passion for drumming and art. She can’t even reveal her sexuality to her openly gay friend Simon, but with prom looming in the near future, she’s faced with many questions about the rest of her high school years.

Learn more: Amazon

9. My Heart Is Underwater by Laurel Flores Fantauzzo

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Abandoned Corey’s obsession with a teacher goes a little too far after her father is distraught when he falls into a coma. She was transported to her family in Manila and left to sink or swim. She is forced to explore her legacy and see how a home she never knew would shape her future.

Learn more: Amazon

10. Various Others by James Sie

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As if high school wasn’t messy enough, Jack and Jules begin to develop feelings for each other. However, one is identified as cis and the other as trans. When they were thrust into the spotlight in high school, they needed to decide whether they would live a lie or claim their identity.

Learn more: Amazon

11. If You, Then Me by Yvonne Woon

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“What’s it like to kiss someone?” These are the questions that Silicon Valley teen Xia answers to her future self on the app. She joined a tech incubator for young people, her chance to break out of the cycle of mundane life. This is a fascinating coming-of-age book, perfect for the technologically cutting-edge world we live in.

Learn more: Amazon

12. The Thing We Call the Heart by Sheba Karim

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Like most great coming-of-age books, this one begins with a dread of boring, lonely summers. Shabnam is exploring childhood friendships but also pursuing a new love. To navigate this minefield, she found help from her father’s beloved Urdu poems and embarked on a journey of self-discovery.

Learn more: Amazon

13. How to live without you Sarah Everett

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Amy’s sister is missing, but many believe she just ran away. Not so sure, Amy discovers a series of dark secrets her sister is keeping from her. Who is her sister? The coming-of-age novel explores themes of sisterhood, grief, and second chances.

Learn more: Amazon

14. Ciara Smyth is not my problem

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Aideen is an outcast with a lot of questions on her plate. But she unexpectedly found a problem she could fix: helping her nemesis with a sprained ankle so she could break free from her hectic schedule. Seems easy? This leads to a semester full of deal favors and shenanigans, all of which make for a hilarious coming-of-age story.

Learn more: Amazon

15. This will be fun someday Katie Henry

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Izzy is only 16, but she lives a double life. On the one hand, she is the doting girlfriend of a controlling boyfriend, fulfilling her role as a dutiful daughter. On the other hand, she’s acting as a stand-up comedian with a new group of friends who think she’s also in college. Where would her lies collide?

Learn more: Amazon

16. Ashley Woodfolk Nothing is brighter than you

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It all happens in one day; two girls explore queer love, the human experience of grief, and the complexities of friendship between women. Girls try to tame their hearts, but the nuances of their past, present and future seem insurmountable.

Learn more: Amazon

17. Jennifer Wilson We’ll Find It One Day

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Bliss is in her 17th summer and her sixth motherless. But when her mother unexpectedly returns, it’s just as Bliss begins to forge a new life for herself. Her whole world has been turned upside down, and she’s at a crossroads; will she embrace life with her estranged mother, or continue on the path she’s burning for herself?

Learn more: Amazon

18. Submarine Joe Dunsohn

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Submarine is a hilarious coming-of-age novel set in the Welsh coastal town of Swansea. Oliver is only 15 years old, but he is seeking to lose his virginity and trying to understand the complexities of his parents’ failed marriage. His comedic narrative made the film an instant classic.

Learn more: Amazon

19. The Atonement of Ian McEwan

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Briony is a 13-year-old girl whose innocent mistakes ruin her life. See British high society through her eyes in the early days of World War II and see how she looks back on her youth at the end of her life. This book explores themes of love, grief, and reflection from childhood to adulthood.

Learn more: Amazon

20. David Copperfield by Charles Dickens

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Charles Dickens was one of the greatest British novelists of the 19th century, and David Copperfield is his semi-autobiographical take on a coming-of-age book. Follow David from his early life as a lower-class child to adolescence and into his career as a novelist.

Learn more: Amazon

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