The Greatest "South Carolina, Coming of age" Books of All Time

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This list represents a comprehensive and trusted collection of the greatest books. Developed through a specialized algorithm, it brings together 305 '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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South Carolina

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. Bastard Out of Carolina by Dorothy Allison

    "Bastard Out of Carolina" is a poignant coming-of-age story set in South Carolina. The narrative follows the life of a young girl who, despite being born out of wedlock, strives to find her place in a world that continuously subjects her to physical and emotional abuse. The book explores themes of poverty, violence, and resilience in the face of adversity, providing a raw and unflinching look at the protagonist's struggle for acceptance and love.

    The 503rd Greatest Book of All Time
  2. 2. The Prince of Tides by Pat Conroy

    "The Prince of Tides" is a gripping narrative about a troubled man who must confront his traumatic past in order to help his twin sister, a poet who has attempted suicide. The protagonist, in the process of aiding his sister's psychiatrist, is forced to delve into their shared history of growing up in a dysfunctional family in South Carolina. The story is a deep exploration of family dynamics, mental health, and the enduring impact of childhood trauma, all set against the backdrop of the Southern United States.

    The 1247th Greatest Book of All Time
  3. 3. Sassafrass, Cypress, And Indigo by Ntozake Shange

    This novel explores the lives and struggles of three African American sisters from the South as they pursue their individual paths towards self-discovery and empowerment. Each sister embodies distinct artistic and cultural identities, with one becoming a weaver, another a dancer, and the third a musician and writer. Their stories, rich with elements of folklore and spirituality, weave together themes of family, heritage, and the quest for personal and artistic freedom. Through their journeys, the sisters confront issues of race, gender, and sexuality, navigating the complexities of love, responsibility, and the bonds that tie them to each other and their shared past.

    The 2191st Greatest Book of All Time
  4. 4. Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson

    This is a poignant memoir written in verse, detailing the author's childhood as an African-American growing up in the 1960s and 1970s, split between South Carolina and New York. The narrative explores her experiences with segregation, her growing awareness of the civil rights movement, her deep love for storytelling and her gradual understanding of her own identity as a writer. The book provides a powerful portrayal of a girl finding her voice in a time of social and political unrest.

    The 2373rd Greatest Book of All Time
  5. 5. Edisto by Padgett Powell

    The novel revolves around a precocious twelve-year-old boy named Simons Manigault, who lives with his mother on Edisto Island, South Carolina. As a child prodigy, Simons is pushed by his mother to embrace literature and intellectual pursuits, but he is equally drawn to the local culture and the earthy wisdom of the island's inhabitants. The story captures his coming-of-age experiences, his struggle with his parents' divorce, and his interactions with a cast of colorful characters, including a drifter who becomes an unlikely mentor. Through lyrical prose and a Southern Gothic ambiance, the narrative explores themes of identity, adolescence, and the complex relationship between a boy and the adult world he is entering.

    The 5101st Greatest Book of All Time
  6. 6. The Revolution Of Little Girls by Blanche McCrary Boyd

    The novel is a coming-of-age story that explores the tumultuous journey of a Southern girl as she grapples with her identity amidst the backdrop of the civil rights movement and the cultural upheavals of the 1960s. Through a series of vignettes that blend humor and pathos, the protagonist navigates the complexities of her family dynamics, her burgeoning sexuality, and her quest for self-discovery. The narrative delves into themes of feminism, rebellion, and the transformative power of personal revolution, ultimately painting a portrait of a young woman's struggle to break free from societal constraints and forge her own path.

    The 5174th Greatest Book of All Time
  7. 7. I Been In Sorrow's Kitchen And Licked Out All The Pots by Susan Straight

    This novel follows the life of Marietta Cook, a tall, resilient African American woman from the Gullah community in South Carolina, as she endures the hardships and complexities of the American South. Through her journey, we witness her strength and determination as she raises her twin sons, contends with racial and social challenges, and strives to maintain her cultural heritage. The narrative, rich with Gullah dialect and traditions, paints a vivid portrait of a woman's struggle for survival and dignity against a backdrop of historical events that shape her community and the nation.

    The 5329th Greatest Book of All Time
  8. 8. The Sisterhood Of The Traveling Pants by Ann Brashares

    The book follows four best friends—Lena, Tibby, Bridget, and Carmen—who discover a pair of jeans that miraculously fits each of them despite their different body types. Dubbed the Traveling Pants, the jeans become a symbol of their friendship and a way to stay connected as they spend their first summer apart. As the pants circulate among the girls, they experience a series of personal growth and life-changing experiences, from first loves to family conflicts. The story is a heartwarming exploration of the bonds of friendship, the pains of growing up, and the belief that a bit of magic can appear in the most unexpected places.

    The 6464th Greatest Book of All Time
  9. 9. Copper Sun by Sharon M Draper

    The novel is a poignant tale of a young African girl's harrowing journey through the brutalities of slavery. After being captured from her village, she endures the middle passage and is sold into slavery in the American South. There, she forms a bond with another girl, and together they escape in search of freedom. The story is a testament to the resilience of the human spirit and the enduring hope for a life beyond the chains of enslavement, set against the backdrop of historical events in the 18th century.

    The 6865th Greatest Book of All Time
  10. 10. Scarlet Sister Mary by Julia Peterkin

    This novel is a powerful portrayal of the life of an African American woman named Mary, who grows up in a religious community in the South during the early 20th century. Mary, who is initially a devout follower of her faith, is led astray by her desires and ends up bearing many children out of wedlock. Her community ostracizes her for her transgressions and she must find a way to survive and care for her children on her own. The story explores themes of faith, sin, redemption, and resilience in the face of adversity.

    The 10138th Greatest Book of All Time
  11. 11. Root Magic by Eden Royce

    "Root Magic" is a middle-grade novel set in the 1960s in the Gullah community of South Carolina. The story follows twins Jezebel and Jay as they navigate their family's legacy of root magic, a form of African American folk magic. When their grandmother, who was the family's root worker, dies, they must learn to harness their own magical abilities to protect their family and community from a dangerous outsider who threatens to destroy their way of life. Along the way, they discover the power of family, friendship, and their ancestral heritage.

    The 10848th Greatest Book of All Time

Reading Statistics

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


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.