I love coming of age novels. Especially ones which make me feel that life is worth living. That we will struggle through difficult times, but afterward find ourselves remade better, stronger, smarter, more self aware, less self destructive... happier, maybe.
And I love that these books can provide a lens through which to view, and better understand, others... and hopefully ourselves.
I just finished reading The Last Enchantments by Charles Finch. It's a wonderful book... about a young man who leaves his job and his girlfriend (his old life, really) in the U.S. to study for a year at Oxford University. It's a coming of age novel primarily; the main character Will Baker takes an emotional journey and matures as a result of his experiences. But he's 25 years old, so that's no surprise.
But the novel is also a critique of English life, specifically the life of the privileged few who attend Oxford University. And that's the part of the book that I found enchanting. Finch portrays life at Oxford through the eyes of an American, and thus an outsider, who takes neither its beauty, nor its traditions, for granted.