The Greatest Irish, British "Coming of age, Fiction" Books Since 2000

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This list represents a comprehensive and trusted collection of the greatest books. Developed through a specialized algorithm, it brings together 313 'best of' book lists to form a definitive guide to the world's most acclaimed books. For those interested in how these books are chosen, additional details can be found on the rankings page.

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Coming of age

The "Coming of age" category of books typically refers to stories that explore the transition from adolescence to adulthood. These books often focus on the challenges and experiences that young people face as they navigate the complexities of growing up, including issues such as identity, relationships, sexuality, and personal growth. Coming of age stories can be set in any time period or cultural context, and may feature protagonists of any gender, race, or background. Overall, the genre offers readers a glimpse into the universal struggles and triumphs of youth, and the process of becoming a fully realized adult.

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  1. 1. White Teeth by Zadie Smith

    This novel follows the lives of two friends, a working-class Englishman and a Bangladeshi Muslim, living in London. The story explores the complex relationships between people of different races, cultures, and generations in modern Britain, with themes of identity, immigration, and the cultural and social changes that have shaped the country. The narrative is enriched by the characters' personal histories and the historical events that have shaped their lives.

    The 247th Greatest Book of All Time
  2. 2. Atonement by Ian McEwan

    Atonement is a powerful novel that explores the consequences of a young girl's false accusation. The narrative follows the lives of three characters, the accuser, her older sister, and the sister's lover, who is wrongly accused. This false accusation irrevocably alters their lives, leading to the accused's imprisonment and eventual enlistment in World War II, while the sisters grapple with guilt, estrangement, and their own personal growth. The novel is a profound exploration of guilt, forgiveness, and the destructive power of misinterpretation.

    The 272nd Greatest Book of All Time
  3. 3. Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro

    The novel is a haunting tale of three friends, who grow up together at a seemingly idyllic English boarding school. As they mature, they discover a dark secret about their school and the purpose of their existence, which is to become organ donors for the rest of society. The story is a profound exploration of what it means to be human, the morality of scientific innovation, and the heartbreaking reality of love and loss.

    The 425th Greatest Book of All Time
  4. 4. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J. K Rowling

    In this fourth installment of a popular fantasy series, a young wizard finds himself unexpectedly entered into a dangerous tournament between rival schools of magic. He must compete in a series of challenging tasks, including a deadly dragon chase and a terrifying underwater rescue mission. Meanwhile, he's dealing with regular teen issues like crushes, jealousy, and school dances. But as he unravels the mystery behind his selection for the tournament, he uncovers a dark plot that puts his life in danger and hints at the return of a powerful dark wizard.

    The 676th Greatest Book of All Time
  5. 5. The Line of Beauty by Alan Hollinghurst

    Set in the 1980s during the era of Margaret Thatcher's conservative government in Britain, this novel follows the life of a young gay man named Nick Guest. Coming from a middle-class background, he moves into the home of his wealthy friend's family and becomes infatuated with the opulence and power of the upper class. As he navigates his way through this new world, he also explores his sexuality, all while dealing with the societal and political implications of the AIDS crisis.

    The 978th Greatest Book of All Time
  6. 6. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince by J. K Rowling

    In the sixth installment of the series, the protagonist returns for his sixth year at a magical school, where he excels in potions class with the help of an old textbook once belonging to the mysterious "Half-Blood Prince". As he delves deeper into his enemy's past through private lessons with the headmaster, he learns more about the Dark wizard's history and his own destiny. Amidst this, the school is no longer the safe haven it once was, and danger lurks within the castle walls. The year ends with a devastating loss, setting the stage for the final showdown.

    The 979th Greatest Book of All Time
  7. 7. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by J. K Rowling

    In the fifth installment of this iconic series, the young wizard Harry Potter returns for his fifth year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, only to discover that much of the wizarding world, including the Ministry of Magic, is in denial about the teenager's recent encounter with the evil Lord Voldemort. Harry is also beset by disturbing dreams while the sinister prison guards of Azkaban have been stationed at Hogwarts to protect the school, and Harry's budding abilities as a wizard are put to the test. Meanwhile, a secret society, the Order of the Phoenix, is working to fight Voldemort and his followers, and Harry's role in the coming conflict is becoming ever more significant.

    The 1030th Greatest Book of All Time
  8. 8. Noughts and Crosses by Malorie Blackman

    "Noughts and Crosses" is a thought-provoking novel set in a dystopian society where racial segregation is reversed. It follows the lives of two main characters: a girl from the ruling class (Crosses) and a boy from the underclass (Noughts). Despite their different backgrounds, they form a deep bond that eventually turns into a romantic relationship, challenging the societal norms and prejudices. The novel explores themes of love, racism, and power, offering a poignant commentary on the repercussions of societal divisions.

    The 1082nd Greatest Book of All Time
  9. 9. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time by Mark Haddon

    This novel follows a 15-year-old boy with autism as he tries to solve the mystery of who killed his neighbor's dog. Along the way, he uncovers other secrets about his family and must navigate the world using his unique perspective and abilities. The book offers an insightful look into the mind of a character with autism, highlighting his struggles and triumphs in a compelling and empathetic way.

    The 1158th Greatest Book of All Time
  10. 10. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J. K Rowling

    In the final installment of this popular series, the protagonist and his friends decide to leave their school to complete the mission left to them by their late headmaster - to destroy the remaining pieces of the antagonist's soul, hidden in various objects. As they journey through the wizarding world, they uncover the truth about the antagonist's past and the legend of the Deathly Hallows. Amidst the escalating war, they are captured and narrowly escape, leading to the ultimate battle at their school where many lives are lost. The protagonist learns he must sacrifice himself to truly defeat the antagonist, but is given a second chance at life and finally triumphs, ending the war. The story concludes with a glimpse into the peaceful future they have all earned.

    The 1219th Greatest Book of All Time
  11. 11. The Sense of an Ending by Julian Barnes

    This novel revolves around a middle-aged man, Tony Webster, who is forced to reevaluate his understanding of his past when he unexpectedly receives a lawyer's letter that drags him back into his complex history with his university friends, Adrian and Veronica. The book explores themes of memory, history, and time, showing how our understanding of the past can be distorted by our own perceptions and emotions. As Tony delves into his past, he realizes that his memories may not be as accurate as he once believed, leading to a surprising revelation.

    The 1888th Greatest Book of All Time
  12. 12. The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman

    The novel follows the unusual life of a boy named Nobody "Bod" Owens who, after his family is murdered, is raised by the supernatural inhabitants of a graveyard. Under the protection of ghosts and his guardian, who is neither living nor dead, Bod learns about the living world and the dangers it holds, including the man Jack who continues to hunt for him. As he grows up among tombstones and crypts, Bod explores the limits of his graveyard home, encounters creatures of the night, and ultimately confronts the sinister forces that took his family from him, all while trying to lead a normal life despite his extraordinary upbringing.

    The 2654th Greatest Book of All Time
  13. 13. Brooklyn by Colm Tóibín

    The novel tells the story of a young Irish woman, Eilis Lacey, in the 1950s who, unable to find work at home, is sent to Brooklyn by a helpful priest where she builds a new life. She finds work, studies to become a bookkeeper, and falls in love with an Italian plumber named Tony. However, a family tragedy forces her to return to Ireland, where she must choose between her new life in America and her old life at home.

    The 2656th Greatest Book of All Time
  14. 14. Mother's Milk by Edward St Aubyn

    The novel follows the life of Patrick Melrose, a man battling with his drug addiction and his troubled relationship with his parents. Patrick tries to come to terms with his mother’s decision to leave her estate to a New Age foundation rather than to him, her only son. The story delves into the complexities of inheritance, parenthood, and the lasting impact of childhood trauma. The narrative shifts between the perspectives of Patrick, his wife, and their two young sons, providing a multi-dimensional view of the family's struggles.

    The 2766th Greatest Book of All Time
  15. 15. Girl, Woman, Other by Bernardine Evaristo

    The novel is a vibrant portrayal of the lives of twelve different characters, primarily black British women, spanning over a century. Each character has their own unique story, tackling issues such as feminism, politics, sexuality, and identity. The narrative is a blend of poetry and prose, exploring the interconnected lives of these women and their personal struggles and triumphs. It is a powerful exploration of race, gender, and the changing face of Britain.

    The 2946th Greatest Book of All Time
  16. 16. Old Filth by Jane Gardam

    The novel follows the life of Sir Edward Feathers, a successful but emotionally stunted barrister, who is known by the nickname "Old Filth" (Failed in London, Try Hong Kong). The protagonist's life is traced from his birth in Malaya, his upbringing in Wales, to his successful law career in Hong Kong, and retirement in England. The narrative explores themes of love, loss, and the lasting effects of the British Empire, while revealing the personal history and emotional landscape of a man who has spent his life avoiding introspection and emotional connections.

    The 3748th Greatest Book of All Time
  17. 17. Brick Lane by Monica Ali

    This novel tells the story of a Bangladeshi woman named Nazneen who moves to London at the age of 18 for an arranged marriage to a man 20 years her senior. The narrative explores her life in the city, her struggles with her unhappy marriage, her affair with a young radical, and her attempts to reconcile her traditional upbringing with her new surroundings. The book also explores the lives of immigrants in the UK, the clash of cultures, and the struggle for identity.

    The 4185th Greatest Book of All Time
  18. 18. Swing Time by Zadie Smith

    This novel follows the lives of two biracial girls who dream of becoming professional dancers. Although they both have talent, only one of them has the ambition to pursue it. As their lives diverge, one girl becomes a personal assistant to a pop star while the other lives a life of relative obscurity. The narrative explores themes of race, class, friendship, and identity, weaving a story that spans decades and continents.

    The 4690th Greatest Book of All Time
  19. 19. The Power by Naomi Alderman

    "The Power" by Naomi Alderman is a speculative fiction novel that imagines a world where women develop the ability to produce electrical shocks from their bodies, giving them a newfound physical power over men. The novel follows the lives of four characters as they navigate this new reality and the societal and political upheaval that comes with it. Through their experiences, the book explores themes of gender, power, and the corrupting nature of authority.

    The 4780th Greatest Book of All Time
  20. 20. The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas by John Boyne

    This novel follows the story of a young boy who moves from Berlin to a house near a concentration camp during World War II. Unaware of the grim reality of his surroundings, he befriends another boy on the other side of the camp fence. The two develop a deep friendship despite the horrific circumstances, leading to a devastating and unforgettable ending.

    The 4805th Greatest Book of All Time
  21. 21. The Future Homemakers Of America by Laurie Graham

    The novel centers on a group of American military wives stationed with their husbands at an Air Force base in England during the 1950s. It follows their lives, friendships, and the challenges they face as they navigate cultural differences, personal dreams, and the shifting social landscape of the 20th century. Despite the varied paths their lives take over the years, the women share a bond that endures through love affairs, family strife, and societal changes, capturing the essence of an era and the enduring power of friendship.

    The 5191st Greatest Book of All Time
  22. 22. The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman

    The protagonist, a middle-aged man, returns to his childhood home for a funeral and is drawn to the farm at the end of the road where he encounters a pond that was once an ocean in his childhood memories. He recalls a series of strange and terrifying events that occurred when he was seven, involving the mystical Hempstock women who live on the farm and their battle against malevolent supernatural entities that threatened his existence. The book explores themes of memory, magic, and the darkness that lies beneath the surface of everyday life.

    The 5346th Greatest Book of All Time
  23. 23. How I Live Now by Meg Rosoff

    A 15-year-old New Yorker is sent to live with her eccentric British cousins on a remote farm in England, where she falls in love with her cousin. Their idyllic summer is shattered when war breaks out and the country falls under martial law. The protagonist must learn to survive in this brutal new world, while also grappling with love, loss, and the complexities of adolescence.

    The 5761st Greatest Book of All Time
  24. 24. Netherland by Joseph O'Neill

    "Netherland" is a post-9/11 novel set in New York City, which explores the life of a Dutch banker named Hans. After his wife and son move back to London, Hans becomes immersed in the world of cricket, where he befriends a charismatic Trinidadian named Chuck Ramkissoon who dreams of building a cricket stadium in the city. The novel is a meditation on the American Dream, identity, and the immigrant experience, all set against the backdrop of a city and a country grappling with a new reality.

    The 5793rd Greatest Book of All Time
  25. 25. The Wee Free Men by Terry Pratchett

    In this humorous fantasy novel, a young witch named Tiffany Aching embarks on a quest to rescue her kidnapped brother, armed only with a frying pan and the assistance of the Nac Mac Feegle—a clan of rowdy, blue-skinned, six-inch-tall pictsies. As Tiffany ventures into the realm of Fairyland, she must rely on her wits, courage, and newfound magical abilities to navigate a world filled with dreams and nightmares, where nothing is as it seems. Along the way, she learns valuable lessons about responsibility, the power of knowledge, and the importance of standing up for oneself and others.

    The 6012th Greatest Book of All Time

Reading Statistics

Click the button below to see how many of these books you've read!

Download

If you're interested in downloading this list as a CSV file for use in a spreadsheet application, you can easily do so by clicking the button below. Please note that to ensure a manageable file size and faster download, the CSV will include details for only the first 500 books.

Download