5 Free PDF Books About Adolescence

Presented by BetterHelp. Adolescence is one of the most difficult parts of life. It’s filled with constant changes, new expectations, and the burning need to figure out who you are and what’s important to you. If you’ve already experienced adolescence, the following titles will bring you back to that time of confusion, newness, and discovery.

If you’re currently going through adolescence or haven’t yet experienced it, you might be surprised to find many of your feelings mirrored in each of the books below. Trust that you are not alone in these changes and that reading about others going through adolescence can help you feel heard and understood.

The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky

Even if you haven’t read this coming-of-age novel before, you’ve probably heard of it, thanks to the major motion picture of the same name starring Logan Lerman and Emma Watson. The Perks of Being a Wallflower follows Charlie as he enters high school, makes new friends, goes through family drama, and experiences alcohol and drugs for the first time. It’s a simultaneously hilarious, honest, and heartbreaking look at adolescence (learn more here) that has long been a cult favorite.

The Defining Decade by Meg Jay

The Defining Decade is a nonfiction read exploring what some call “the second adolescence.” It discusses brain changes, the importance of identity, changing social networks, personality, relationships, work, and more. Meg Jay uses her decade of work with twenty-something clients and students, plus the latest science, to offer up helpful tools for making the most of your twenties. 

Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women has long been a classic. It follows four sisters, Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy, as they transition from adolescence to adulthood. Loosely based on Alcott’s own life, Little Women is full of sorrow, joy, and many relatable situations and feelings that resonate with readers even 150 years after its first publication.

Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank

Another classic, The Diary of a Young Girl, offers an honest and remarkable look at adolescence during the Holocaust. Anne Frank and her family were forced to go into hiding and spent much of the last years of their lives hidden away in the secret annex of an old office building. Constantly facing hunger, boredom, and the ever-present fear of being discovered, Anne still managed to be hopeful, humorous, and insightful.

Youth by Tove Ditlevsen

Tove Ditlevsen is the author of the Copenhagen Trilogy, of which Youth is the second volume. Youth offers up an immersive and honest portrait of adolescence, filled with vulnerability, poeticism, and sometimes humor. It follows Tove as she is forced to leave school early, take on menial jobs, and navigate exploitative situations while always striving for independence.


Adolescence is a time filled with angst, hope, and so many other emotions. We hope you enjoy reading the books we’ve selected to encompass the experience of straddling the line between childhood and adulthood. No matter what you’re going through, know that you’re truly never alone. Happy reading!


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