Getting through your 20s in one piece is no mean feat. You experience some of the best times of your life—like college, new friends, romance, and the excitement that your prospective future brings. On the other hand, there is also heartbreak, school and work pressure, and looming adulthood. These 10 books are perfect for each year of the growing process and are reminders that you are certainly not alone in trying to figure it all out!
Age 20: Fangirl
Fangirl is a romantic comedy about a young woman starting college who must deal with roommates, love interests, being away from family, and a disagreeable professor. She has always escaped reality by reading and writing fan fiction but now is faced with the challenge of putting down the proverbial fangirl pencil and writing her own real-life story instead.
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Age 21: The Bell Jar
Twenty-one is the age when the reality of graduation and the ending of the college era really kicks in. We have to start thinking about internships, jobs, and the future. Sylvia Plath’s The Bell Jar captures the darker side of dealing with growing up and facing the world — so if you’re feeling a little overwhelmed at the thought of what’s to come, this book will definitely make you feel less alone.
Age 22: Graduates in Wonderland: The International Misadventures of Two (Almost) Adults
Cowritten by two best friends fresh out of college, Graduates in Wonderland: The International Misadventures of Two (Almost) Adults covers all the postgraduate bases: love and heartbreak, excitement and disappointment, and how friendship got them through it all.
Age 23: The Best of Everything
The Best of Everything, a 1958 novel by Rona Jaffe, follows a group of young people who work at a publishing company in New York and comically (as well as accurately) depicts the struggles women face in the job world and in their personal lives then and even half a century later now.
Age 24: Life After Life
What if you could do it all over again until you finally got it right? The protagonist of Kate Atkinson’s Life After Life is given this chance. In this historical fiction, a young woman is reborn over the course of half a century and has the ability to change things for the better each time.
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Age 25: I Don’t Care About Your Band
Anyone who has ever been on a date in their 20s (or their lives) can relate to I Don’t Care About Your Band, a memoir that candidly reflects on the good, the bad, and the ugly parts of the world of dating after college.
Age 26: Girls in White Dresses
Jennifer Close’s Girls in White Dresses follows a group of girlfriends in their 20s who — while dealing with heartbreak, family problems, and career changes — must also watch as everyone they know (or so it seems) gets married.
Age 27: The Girls’ Guide to Hunting and Fishing
A collection of loosely linked stories, The Girls’ Guide to Hunting and Fishing finds comedy in the ordinary struggles of a girl growing up, becoming a woman, and dealing with everything that goes along with that hilarious, difficult, and personal process.
Age 28: She’s Come Undone
She’s Come Undone chronicles a woman’s struggles with family, weight, and relationships and is both touching and comical in its portrayal of a heroine who tries to find strength within in herself to rise above both the consequences of her own decisions and the hand she has been dealt.
Age 29: Tiny Beautiful Things
Tiny Beautiful Things is essentially all you need to know about everything, ever. Cheryl Strayed, the voice behind Dear Sugar and the bestselling author of Wild, shares a collection of columns and quotes that put the ups and downs of life into heartfelt and humorous perspective.
Photo: Getty Images
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