Image description: A header illustration of a film reel projector displaying four silhouetted, youthful figures mid-movement with text over them reading
Image description: A header illustration of a film reel projector displaying four silhouetted, youthful figures mid-movement with text over them reading


The Gazelle Recommends: Coming of Age Books, Shows and Movies

What's a better story about transition than coming-of-age books, movies and other cultural artefacts? Here is what our staff recommends.

May 8, 2023

Alya Al Zaabi, Multimedia and Columnist Recommendation: Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens
The book is extremely interesting. It is mainly a coming of age book with a slight murder mystery intertwined into the story line. The main character Kya does not have the best relationship with her parents and one day, she is left all alone in her home with her parents and siblings gone. As a child, this was very difficult for her to process, but you get to see how Kya deals with the everyday struggle of having to feed herself and the way she spends her time. She is forced into being independent and having to provide for herself. While it may seem sad that she was left alone, Kya does meet people who are very loving. Kya,as a character felt very real and flawed like a normal human being. She is interested in the marshes she lives by, and she spends a lot of her days there looking at the creatures that live in it and studies them. It’s very interesting to see what Kya had to go through and you get to experience all kinds of emotions through Kya and her thoughts.
Yana Peeva, Senior Columns Editor
Recommendations: Killing Bono: I was Bono's Doppelganger by Neil McCormick, Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi, Tell The Wolves I'm Home by Carol Rifka Brunt
These three books are about children who were either forced to or chose to grow up way too early. The loss of a proper childhood is seen as both lamentable, but not a pitiful experience. These are recommended specifically for anybody who has been told that they are too mature for their age because in these books, you will find out that it is never too late to be a child and to dream beyond your limits.
Sidra Dahhan, Managing Editor
Recommendation: The Stray Cats of Homs
This novel is about growing up and about becoming an adult in a war-torn city. It is about a person who stayed, rather than fled, in a nation undergoing destruction and who experienced both the best and the worst of humanity. It is not an easy read but is so beautifully written, and is one of the books that stuck out most in my mind in 2021.
Simon Zhang, Deputy Opinion Editor and Staff Writer
"Doctor Faustus: The Life of the German Composer Adrian Leverkuhn As Told by a Friend" by Thomas Mann;
"Fear and Trembling" by Søren Kierkegaard
"Les Misérables" by Victor Hugo
"War and Peace" by Leo Tolstoy
"Confessions" by Augustine
Movies and TV Shows
Liyan Mustafa, Features Editor
Recommendation: Dead Poets Society (1989)
This movie highlights the importance of following your passion rather than social and familial expectations.The pressure to pursue employable interests, and acceptable career paths are universal themes that can often overshadow what we love to do and want to achieve. Friendship, courage, and a love for literature is so beautifully depicted in this film. I may have shed a few tears watching this for the first time on a plane.
Yana Peeva, Senior Columns Editor
Recommendations: Sing Street (2016), Me and Earl and the Dying Girl (2015)
If there is one thing that I love about coming-of-age movies, it is the blend between the impossible and the absolutely, heartbreakingly relatable situations the characters go through. All of these movies are severely underrated, mostly because they appear simple and silly on the surface. But if you actually take the time to reflect on them, you discover that our own memories of our own growing up stories are filled with all kinds of impossibilities that are worthy of their own movies.
Linh Hoang, Staff Writer
All About Lily Chou Chou (2001)
Bleak Night (2010)
The Perks of Being A Wallflower (2012)
I Told Sunset About You (2020)
Sidra Dahhan, Managing Editor
West Beirut (1998)
Almost Famous (2000)
Omar (2013)
Eighth Grade (2018)
Pen 15 (2019)
Sidra Dahhan is Managing Editor. Email her at
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