Your 20s can be both an amazing and scary time in anyone's life, which is why these books to read in your 20s may be helpful! They are full of both advice and stories to learn from that will help you to tackle your 20s! Whether you're moving after college, losing friends, feeling lost in your career, or unhappy being single while you feel like everyone is getting married, just know you're not alone! Try reading these books to read in your 20s to help get you through!
1. Girls in White Dresses by Jennifer Close
This first book to read in your 20s tells the story of three women dealing with heartbreak, career change, family pressure, and new love, all while suffering through an endless round of weddings and bridal showers. Jennifer Close uses her wit and humor to guide you through the confusing early adult years, when everyone seems to have a job or a plan or a marriage on the horizon, but you're still wondering what you want to be when you grow up.
2. MWF Seeking BFF by Rachel Bertsche
When Rachel Bertsche moves to Chicago, she’s so glad that she's finally living with her boyfriend. Unfortunately, after they get married, she comes to realize that she's now missing friends, leading her to go on a succession of "friend-dates" so she can hopefully meet her BFF. It's a great read for your 20s as you may find that after college, friends start to feel far and few!
3. Oh, the Places You'll Go! by Dr. Seuss
This Dr. Seuss classic should be read by everyone in their 20s at some point! In this beloved story, Dr. Seuss addresses graduates from preschool to grad school, offering up plenty of motivation for moving forward. It's a great (and colorful) book to flip through when you're feeling lost to remind you that everyone does! You will find what you want to do in life eventually, so don't worry!
4. The Devil Wears Prada by Lauren Weisberger
It's the story of a girl who gets a dream job with the boss from hell. If you haven't read it, you've probably seen the movie. While you might not dream of getting a job at a big fashion magazine, this is a great read for women in their 20s to read to realize what their self-worth is in the career world.
5. The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath
Esther Greenwood is smart, beautiful, talented, and successful, but she is steadily going crazy. In this classic novel, Sylvia Plath pulls you in and reveals the darkest places a person can go. I would recommend this read to those in their 20s to remember to keep their sanity through it all!
6. Overqualified by Joey Comeau
If you're having difficulty finding a job or making yourself look like the best candidate, try this. In the course of writing cover letters, Comeau ends up addressing everything from his own childhood to humanity. You don't want to write your own cover letters this way, but this book will give you a laugh when you feel like you've written over 100 cover letters with no luck.
7. Someday, Someday, Maybe by Lauren Graham
This book tells the tale of Franny Banks, an actress in NYC who is struggling to find work as an actress while dreaming of more important things. She's more interested in legitimate work than mundane commercials. She's worried partly because she feels like she has no real skills. This is a great book that illuminates the fears lots of girls have in their 20s, plus it's written by Lauren Graham! Someday, Someday, Maybe is funny and charming, and it's a great read for those of you dreaming big!
8. What She Saw by Lucinda Rosenfeld
Breaking up is something that is very difficult, but when you are breaking up and growing up at the same time? It's even harder! This book is all about what she saw. It's a light-hearted, amazing book that everyone should read in their 20s!
9. Main Street by Sinclair Lewis
This is absolutely one of the classics to read when you are in your 20s! It's all about a big-city girl that marries a doctor and settles in the Midwest. She falls to being narrow-minded and unimaginative and she tries to get out of that rut.
10. Even Cowgirls Get the Blues by Tom Robbins
This story is all warm, totally funny and is all about private wishes. It's a fiction tale that you can really get sucked into in a matter of moments and truthfully, you'll relate to it a lot in your 20s, as you are searching for your own freedom!
11. How to Lose Friends and Alienate People, by Toby Young
This is a book that everyone in the world should read! Not only is it extremely funny, but it's such a true book! The off-color jokes and the extreme wit is enough to make you want to read this book in one sitting!
12. The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz
This book will blow you away! It's about poor Oscar, an overweight author who decides to end the tragic curse that has plagued his family for many years. Oscar sets out to change his life and he takes you along for the ride. Get ready!
13. The Secret History by Donna Tartt
If you've never read one of Donna Tartt's novels, you are seriously missing out. This one surrounds Richard, an impressionable college student who falls prey to peer pressure as he attempts to feel accepted and loved. What happens is tragic and changes his life forever. You aren't going to be able to put this one down.
14. Generation X: Tales for an Accelerated Culture by Douglas Coupland
This book might just speak to you. It tells the tale of kids raised in the 80s and 90s and how their upbringing turned them into the people they are now. As they work dead end jobs and drink away their suffering, you get an inside look at how generation xers are struggling.
15. The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway
No doubt, World War I had many far reaching consequences. This novel, called one of Hemingway's masterpieces, chronicles the life of a couple of lost souls after the war ends and life must return to normal. Get a peek at life in Paris in the 1920s and how the war changed everyone and turned the entire world into a different place to live. You'll be thinking about this book long after you turn the last page.
16. Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell
Mitchell only ever wrote this book and it's probably because she could never top it. Follow Scarlett O'Hara as her family lives their life of luxury on their southern plantation, called Tara. Experience her grief as the Civil War rips through the country and takes everything she holds dear. This story of triumph and overcoming hardship will inspire you in ways you never thought possible.
17. My Misspent Youth: Essays by Meghan Daum
If non-fiction is more your cup of tea, try out this collection of essays penned by Meghan Daum. Her real world approach to everything facing young people today will have you on the edge of your seat. You will love that you'll be able to identify with a lot fo what she says.
18. On the Road by Jack Kerouac
Jack Kerouac spent many years traveling around North America with a good friend, and this book highlights the road trip for you. He's a standout writer and his words are so magical that they'll draw you in and will never let you go. You'll love his passion for America and will feel like you're spending time with a good friend. This book has been recommended numerous times for people in their 20s.
19. Just Kids by Patti Smith
If you wish you could have lived in the 1960s and 1970s, you will want to grab this book right away. It's all about the author and her relationship with a famous photographer. Take a look at a bygone era through her eyes as she falls in love at the Chelsea Hotel. You'll wish more than ever that you could go back in time after you read this stunning book.
20. The Fortress of Solitude by Jonathan Lethem
In this great book, recommended over and over for readers in their 20s, you get to follow two best friends over the span of thirty years as they experience all the epic changes that occur in New York City. That includes everything from street art to the changing face of music. Full of characters and events, this book will suck you in and never let you go.
21. Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert
If you've ever experienced lost love or a feeling of being lost in life in general, Gilbert will speak to your soul in this book. It's a true account of her divorce and spiral into depression. Then you get to go along for the ride as she travels the country finding herself and creating a life that's worth living. If you need inspiration, you'll get no lack of with this book.
Coming from someone who is almost halfway through her 20s (that's so scary to say!), I can assure you it gets better. After first graduating college I was so scared entering the real world, had no idea what I was doing, couldn't find a job, and was still single. 4 years later and I have solved all of those issues! What books have you read (or are reading) that are great books for 20-year-olds to read?
This article written in collaboration with editor, Eliza Martinez