A decade of reading: coming of age in the 2010s

Mackenzie Cutruzzula  //  Dec 27, 2019

A decade of reading: coming of age in the 2010s

In brainstorming our On Our Minds Blog editorial calendar for the end of the year, we (your OOM editors Mackenzie and Raisa) became obsessed with the idea of the decade ending. We started tossing around ideas about rounding up the best books we’ve read this decade. We even asked the rest of the OOM bloggers about their favorite reads, which you can read here.

Naturally, Raisa and I got sucked into discussing all the books we read over the last 10 years and we realized we had a lot in common. From classic literature to modern dystopian YA, we had an epiphany: we ‘came of age’ during the last decade so many of books that impacted us most were of course popular coming of age or classic novels. (Along with many books not in either of these categories!)  

In 2009 Raisa was walking the halls of junior high, and Mackenzie had just entered high school. Over the last decade our English teachers and classes played a major role in shaping who we are today as readers. We spent time in high school reading about Jane Austen heroines and learned a lot about that green light in The Great Gatsby. We carried lessons from characters like Katniss Everdeen and Harry Potter with us as we sat in college classes. 

As we enter the new decade as adults (-ish) in the “real world” we wanted to reflect on the books we remember most from this pivotal time in our lives. See below books we read each year that impacted us:


I’ve always loved reading but discovering YA novels completely transformed me as a reader. I loved reading about characters who were my age and going through a lot of the same struggles I was. My high school and college English classes made me fall in love with classic literature, especially anything British with a love story. These themes still reflect the stories I read today! Choosing just a few titles that impacted me each year was difficult to say the least. As I’m halfway through my 20s now, I’m so glad each of these books and more shaped who I am. 

  • 2009: A Separate Peace by John Knowles, Before I Die by Jenny Downham, The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold, The Chocolate War by Robert Cormier
  • 2010: To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee, The Crucible by Arthur Miller, The Perks of Being a Wallflowerby Stephen Chbosky
  • 2011: Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte, Twilight series by Stephenie Meyer, Just Listen by Sarah Dessen, Great Expectations by Charles Dickens
  • 2012: Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling, The Fault in Our Stars John Green, It’s Kind of a Funny Story by Ned Vizzini, The Awakening by Kate Chopin
  • 2013: The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson, Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys, Emma by Jane Austen
  • 2014: Divergent series by Veronica Roth, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon, Much Ado About Nothing by William Shakespeare
  • 2015: Brooklyn by Colm Toibin, The Opposite of Loneliness by Marina Keegan, Beloved by Toni Morrison
  • 2016: To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han, The Raven Cycle series by Maggie Stiefvater, Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
  • 2017: Wonder by R.J. Palacio, Number the Stars by Lois Lowry, The Hate You Give by Angie Thomas, The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan
  • 2018: The Sun is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon, A Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket, The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho 
  • 2019: I Wish You All the Best by Mason Deaver, Listen to Your Heart by Kasie West, Truly Madly Royally by Debbie Rigaud


In the last ten years, I’ve read books from just about every genre out there, thanks to required reading in school and college. Not that I’m complaining—this has helped shape my reading preferences and furthered my interest in literature. It’s also what made sifting through and choosing ten years’ worth of books so difficult. Going through my list from 2009 to 2019 however allowed me to see patterns in my reading. Over the years, I’ve bounced from historical fiction to dystopian novels to psychological thrillers, while leaning on coming-of-age titles to get through my teenage years. More recently, I’ve been reading books that grapple with issues like identity and culture, which parallel my own experiences as I navigate through new phases in life.

Here’s to getting through the next decade with even more books!  

  • 2009: The Book Thief by Markus Zuzak, The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini, The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants by Anne Beshares 
  • 2010: A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini, Shutter Island by Dennis Lehane 
  • 2011: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson, The Firm by John Grisham  
  • 2012: Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen, Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë 
  • 2013: 1984 by George Orwell, Dracula by Bram Stoker 
  • 2014: Atonement by Ian McEwan 
  • 2015: Gone Girl by Gilian Flynn 
  • 2016: Maus by Art Spiegelman, Me Before You by Jojo Moyes 
  • 2017: Born a Crime by Trevor Noah, The House of Spirits by Isabel Allende 
  • 2018: Purple Hibiscus by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan 
  • 2019: A Place for Us by Fatima Farheen Mirza, Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

We're looking forward to another decade of reading! Next up, we'll be living out most of our 20s during the 2020s!

*This post includes part of 2009 to keep school years consistent. 

Raisa (left) and Mackenzie (right)