Battling on the Cusp of Adulthood: 5 Coming of Age Crime Fiction
In these thrilling coming-of-age novels, these teens are forced to grow up too quickly as they deal with deaths and crimes propelling them into the cold reality of adulthood. From committing crimes to solving them, these YA thrillers show characters who are forced to reflect on themselves and the structures that have shaped them.
Burn It All Down
In this fun mother/son comedy, thirty-four-year-old Gia Rossi and eighteen-year-old Joey Rossi have an addiction to toxic jerks. So, it’s no surprise when Joey finds out his boyfriend has been cheating on him for the past ten months and a day later, Gia’s non-relationship also goes up in flames. For revenge, they commit a series of crimes then flee the state, running towards the only good man both know—Gia’s ex, Marco. As they hide in Marco’s secluded lake house, the mother and son must confront their mistakes and the bad habits that have led them to this moment to take responsibility for all they’ve done.
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Addy Hanlon and Beth Cassidy have always been best friends with Beth calling the shots and Addy carrying them out. Now, seniors who rule their intensely competitive high school cheer squad are feared and followed by the other girls until a young, new coach arrives. Coach Colette French draws Addy and the other cheerleaders into her life, and only Beth remains outside the Coach’s golden circle, unsettled by the new regime. But a suicide forces a police investigation on the Coach and squad. Addy tries to uncover the truth behind the death in this dark, beautifully written story that will ring in fans of Lord of the Flies if it were cast with a cheerleading squad.
Everything I Never Told You
Set in the 1970s in small town Ohio, a Chinese American family gets uprooted when Lydia, the family favorite, is discovered dead in the local lake. With Marilyn and James’ dreams shattered, the family is forced to reckon with how little they really knew their daughter as they uncover family secrets and struggle to do their own roles in a family dynamic that’s slowly crumbling apart.
by Ethan Hawke
by Greg Ruth
Told over the course of a single day, this electrifying graphic novel starts off in the quiet city of Huntsville, Texas. Jack “Meadowlark” Johnson and his teenage son, Cooper, embark on a journey as a consequence of Jack’s mistakes and the danger they’ve brought home. Together, they navigate threats of violence and must grapple with their own dysfunctional, but loving relationship. Combining ancient myths in this contemporary crime noir, this coming-of-age tale shows the shattering transition into manhood and will appeal to fans of Cormac McCarthy’s No Country for Old Men and Terrence Malick’s Badlands.
I'm the Girl
Upon the discovery of thirteen-year-old Ashley James’ dead body, sixteen-year-old Georgia Avis and Ashley’s older sister, Nora, team up to find the killer before he strikes again. Their investigation leads them into a world of unimaginable privilege and wealth, and as the killer closes in, Georgia discovers that when money, power, and beauty rule, it may not matter who is guilty but who is guiltiest. This beautifully crafted book shows how one young woman feels in her body as she struggles to navigate a predatory power structure. If this is the way of the world, do you just accept it?
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What to Read Next
Emily Hoang is a writer and editor, who is obsessed with haunted houses, ghosts, and dreams. More info can be found on her website.