The Goldfinch, Donna Tartt’s novel about a 13-year old boy who miraculously survives an accident that kills his mother, won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction on April 14th. For other coming-of-age novels featuring protagonists struggling with loss, check out the following titles:
Tell the Wolves I’m Home by Carol Rifka Brunt
In Brunt’s striking debut, a young girl, reeling from the death of her beloved uncle, secretly befriends his lover against her mother’s wishes. A tender story of love lost and found, and an unforgettable portrait of the way compassion can make us whole again.
The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh
The Language of Flowers tells the deeply touching story of Victoria, who was abandoned at birth. After a childhood spent in the foster-care system, she is unable to get close to anybody, and her only connection to the world is through flowers and their meanings.
Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer
With humor, tenderness, and awe, Foer tells the story of nine-year-old Oskar Schell, a young boy whose mission is to find the lock that fits a mysterious key left by his father, who died in the World Trade Center on 9/11.
Ordinary Grace by William Kent Krueger
For thirteen-year-old Frank Drum, a preacher’s son, the summer of 1961 was a grim one in which death visited frequently and assumed many forms. Told from Frank’s perspective forty years later, Ordinary Grace is a brilliantly moving account of a boy standing at the door of his young manhood, trying to understand a world that seems to be falling apart around him.
The First True Lie by Marina Mander
An utterly compelling, heartbreaking novel about a boy named Luca, who must deal with the sudden death of his young mother.
The Death of Bees by Lisa O’Donnell
A riveting, brilliantly written debut novel, The Death of Bees is a coming-of-age story in which two young sisters attempt to hold the world at bay after the mysterious death of their parents.
The Sun and Other Stars by Brigid Pasulka
Within the past year, 22-year-old Etto has not only lost both his twin brother and his mother, but in his grief, has become estranged from his father. A beautifully rendered tale about families, compromise, and community, and how losses can be transformed into hope.
Help for the Haunted by John Searles
After her parents are murdered, 14-year-old Sylvie Mason pursues the mystery of their deaths, moving closer to the knowledge of what happened that night—and to the truth about her family’s past and the secrets that have haunted them for years.
Need more Recommendations?
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