Tuesday, February 23, 2016

My Top 5 Coming-of-Age Novels

Webster's Dictionary defines the term coming-of-age this way:  "the act or instance of reaching maturity: often used attributively."  In my mind, a coming-of-age novel often features kids who face an obstacle bigger than themselves and are forced to grow and change in order to succeed/overcome adversity/stay alive.  Since I read a lot of speculative fiction the obstacle the children face is often of the evil, supernatural variety.  Incidentally, this is one of my favorite types of books to read.            

Over the years I have tried my hand at lots of different types of stories (to varying degrees of success).  I am currently immersed in finishing up my own coming of age thriller featuring a group of kids who are promised an unlikely set of miracles by a mysterious stranger. Among the promises....Brady's mom will be healed of terminal cancer, Jimmy's dad will return to him and his mother after running out on them 10 years earlier, and Presley's brother, Marky, will be brought back from the dead after perishing in a car accident. The only catch...they must do everything the stranger asks of them with no exceptions even if it means casting aside their values, beliefs, and everything they know to be right. As the kids find out the stranger's true intentions for the town of Fairpointe, they are forced to examine the true nature of miracles, their own faith, and the lengths they would go to for the ones they love. Think Stand by Me meets Something Wicked This Way Comes.

Given my most recent foray into this type of book, I have been thinking about which books make my top five list for coming-of-age titles.

So here they are without further ado (in no particular order):

#1.  Midnight Rain by James Newman 

#2.  Boy's Life by Robert McCammon

#3.  Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury

#4.  The Bottoms by Joe R. Lansdale

#5.  Fear by Ronald Kelly

In the coming weeks, I will be discussing each of these, nailing down exactly what it is about each book that I enjoy so much, and what makes them work.