Last Updated on August 18, 2023 by Louisa
I absolutely loved Stephen Chbosky’s novel, The Perks of Being a Wallflower, which, admittedly, I only read after it became a movie starring Emma Watson in 2012!
The book reveals so much more than the movie could, as is always the case.
Still today, it’s as popular as ever before, and it’s easy to see why. The story captures the challenging side of high school life as a freshman.
The protagonist experiments with romances, drugs, alcohol, and sex and goes through depression and suppressed trauma.
Chbosky captures a side of high school many of us can relate to. It has honest themes of coming of age, transitioning from adolescence to adulthood, and finding one’s place in the world.
If you’re looking for other best books like The Perks of Being A Wallflower, you might enjoy these similar coming-of-age books!
Affiliate Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links, which means I may receive a small commission, at no extra cost to you, if you make a purchase through any of these links.
Quick Answer: 3 Best Books Like A Perks of Being a Wallflower!
Need a book quickly but don’t have much time? Here are my three favs…
#1 Best Highly Acclaimed Novel
13 Reasons Why by Jay Asher
- A story about a teen suicide who leaves behind tapes explaining her reasons
- A New York Times Bestseller for 228 weeks
- Winner of the California Book Award Silver Medal in 2008
#2 Best in Romance
Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins
- ALA Winner for Best YA Fiction in 2012
- A sweet romance story about a girl who falls for another boy while studying in Paris
- International bestseller
Summary of The Perks of Being A Wallflower
Before we look at comparable books to The Perks of Being A Wallflower, let’s recap the story without spoiling the ending.
Charlie, a socially awkward teenager, finds himself on the outside looking in until he meets Sam and Patrick, two charismatic students who introduce him to friendship, first love, and music.
However, despite his newfound confidence, Charlie’s underlying anguish begins to surface as his new friends prepare to leave for college.
This emotive coming-of-age narrative paints a picture of what it’s like being a high school teen as Charlie grapples with inner turmoil from those around him.
This acclaimed novel has won numerous ALA awards including Best Books for Young Adults in 2000 and following its movie adaption, it made its way onto the New York Times bestseller list.
Books Like The Perks of Being A Wallflower
Now you have been familiarised with the story, it’s time to take a look at the top similar books to The Perks of Being A Wallflower!
1. Looking for Alaska – John Green
Miles “Pudge” Halter has an obsession with famous last words. His life has been somewhat monotonous, so he transfers to a boarding school, searching for a “Great Perhaps.”
Once there, Miles meets Alaska Young, and his life becomes anything but boring. Alaska is unpredictable, wild, and self-destructive.
The two become extremely close friends, along with Chip “Colonel” Martin, and enjoy many wonderful experiences at Culver Creek Boarding School.
However, when tragedy strikes, Miles is forced to confront mortality, teaching him the value of living and loving wholeheartedly. This is a sweet best friends romance novel you won’t be able to put down.
2. Catcher in the Rye – J.D. Salinger
Holden Caulfield was expelled from another school for failing most of his classes. After a disagreement with his roommate, Holden leaves Pencey Prep and finds himself in New York City.
Holden’s perspective on the world and its people develops as he seeks comfort in fleeting interactions. He moves around the city like a ghost, always thinking about his little sister Phoebe and his ambition to escape the phonies (adults) and have a meaningful life.
Much like Perks of Being a Wallflower, The Catcher in the Rye is a coming-of-age narrative that captures the primal human urge for connection and the mystifying sense of loss we experience as we grow from children to adults.
Related Reading: Books Like Catcher in the Rye
3. The Fault in Our Stars – John Green
John Green’s The Fault in Our Stars is an Audie Award Nominee and poignant tale of youth, love and mortality, reminding us that life can be fleeting yet still full of moments if we appreciate them as they come.
Hazel and Augustus are both ill, striving to make the most out of their teenagehood amidst tragedy – they face challenges with belonging, approval and empathy.
On an incredible trip to Amsterdam, Hazel meets the author of her favorite book.
This heartbreaking and emotive novel will leave you reaching for the tissues.
4. Eleanor & Park – Rainbow Rowell
Eleanor is the new girl in town, and her wild red hair and patchwork ensembles make it difficult for her to fit in.
She finds herself on the bus next to Park, whose passion for comic books contrasts with the rest of his family’s love of sports.
Every day, they sit in awkward silence until Park discovers Eleanor reading his comics over his shoulder; he begins to push them closer to her side of the bench, so their love story begins.
Their relationship grows gradually until they both look forward to the bus ride more than any other part of the day.
But things aren’t as easy as they seem. Eleanor is bullied at school and then goes home to a threatening family situation; Park’s parents disapprove of Eleanor’s awkward ways.
Eleanor and Park is the story of two star-crossed misfits who are wise enough to realize that first love nearly never lasts but bold and desperate to try, nonetheless.
Related Reading: Books Like Eleanor and Park
5. All The Bright Places – Jennifer Niven
Death fascinates Theodore Finch. Every day he thinks of ways he might kill himself, but every day he also searches for —and finds—something to keep him here, alive and awake.
Violet Markey lives for the future, counting down the days until graduation when she can escape her small Indiana town and the agony of her sister’s recent death.
It’s unclear who saves who when Finch and Violet meet on the ledge of the school bell tower, six stories above the ground. It’s only with Violet that Finch can be himself. And it is only with Finch that Violet can stop counting the days and begin living them.
If you liked The Perks of Being a Wallflower, you must read this book. All the Bright Places is a story of two young people trying to deal, in completely different ways, with two different types of suffering.
It’s about finding joy and hope and disappointment and despair and handling them with humor and insight.
6. They Both Die At The End – Adam Silvera
Death-Cast is an intriguing novel set in an alternative world where a company gives people a 24 hour warning of their impending death.
The story follows Rufus and Mateo as they use the precious time they have left to say their goodbyes, fulfill bucket list items or take care of things that need to be done.
Although the title spoils the ending, this book presents an incredible concept and will keep you captivated until the very end. A must read for something out of the ordinary!
Related Reading: Books Like They Both Die At The End
7. Thirteen Reasons Why – Jay Asher
13 Reasons Why takes an honest look at how our actions can have a tremendous impact on other people’s lives.
Clay Jensen unexpectedly finds a mysterious package containing tapes recorded by his crush and friend, Hannah Baker, who had committed suicide.
The recordings reveal the 13 reasons that led to her final decision, and Clay is stunned to learn he was one of them.
**Disclaimer: This book contains some scenes of abuse, suicide and self-harm that may distress readers**
8. We Were Liars – E. Lockhart
Have you ever come across a book that made you speechless? We Were Liars by E. Lockhart might be the one to do it.
Cady has had a luxurious life, spending summers on a private island with her three cousins until tragedy strikes and she is left without any memory of what happened.
The suspenseful plot will keep you turning the pages late into the night, and with its poetic writing style, you’ll find yourself connecting deeply with each character in the story, which leads up to an amazing resolution.
If you think this sounds like a good book, then you might like these similar books to We Were Liars.
9. Call Me By Your Name – André Aciman
Call Me by Your Name, written by André Aciman, is a heart-warming coming-of-age novel about the relationship between Elio Perlman, an American-Italian Jewish boy who is intelligent and curious at 17 years old, and Oliver, a 24-year-old American Jewish doctoral student staying in his family’s home for the summer.
Set in the 1980s, this book does a stunning job of illustrating Elio’s inner life as well as depicting the intricacy of same-sex relationships at that time.
It was even awarded the Gay Fiction category at the 20th Lambda Literary Awards.
10. The Outsiders – S. E. Hinton
The Outsiders, written by S. E. Hinton, follows Ponyboy Curtis, a 14-year-old boy on the brink of adulthood who’s contending with the concepts of right and wrong in a world where he feels like an outsider.
According to Ponyboy, there are two groups of people – the well-off “socs” whom can get away with almost anything and his own greaser gang.
He prides himself on being a greaser and is prepared to fight for its members when need be.
This coming-of-age story takes us through Ponyboy and his friends’ hardships and friendships as they live their lives as greasers, told from the perspective of a young adolescent boy making it accessible to any reader regardless of age or background.
Related Reading: Books Like The Outsiders
11. It’s Kind of a Funny Story – Ned Vizzini
It’s Kind of a Funny Story is a coming-of-age story inspired by Vizzini’s short hospitalization for depression in 2004. The story has themes of finding out who you are and learning to be yourself.
It’s narrated by the main character, Craig Gilner, a 15-year-old in a middle-class family living in Brooklyn.
He goes to the prestigious Executive Pre-Professional High School, which required him to study hard to get in. Once in, however, the hard work begins.
He becomes overwhelmed by the academic pressure of school and navigating through adolescence. He has a huge crush on his best friend’s girlfriend, Nia, and feels alienated.
His stress causes an eating disorder, insomnia, and suicidal thoughts. So he goes to a psychiatrist who helps him through the challenging time.
But what follows is a series of ups and downs, all to eventually find a place where he can be happy with his life and work towards a brighter future.
**Disclaimer: this book has some scenes of suicidal thoughts that readers may find upsetting**
12. Anna and the French Kiss – Stephanie Perkins
Anna is looking forward to her senior year in Atlanta, where she has a terrific job, a devoted best friend, and a crush about to become more.
So, she is dismayed when her father abruptly sends her to a boarding school in Paris.
That is until she meets the perfect boy, Étienne St. Clair. Étienne has it all: intelligence, charisma, and beauty. The only issue? He’s already taken, and Anna could be as well if anything happens with her crush back home.
But in the City of Light, wishes have a way of coming true. Will a year of romantic near-misses end with their long-awaited French kiss?
Anna and the French Kiss was the 2012 winner of the American Library Association (ALA) award for Best Fiction for Young Adults.
13. For Today I Am a Boy – Kim Fu
Peter Huang is the only boy in a family of women. He has three sisters, Adele, Helen, and Bonnie.
They grew up in a small town in Ontario before moving to Montreal, California, and Berlin.
Peter struggles to find a place amongst his family as the only man in the house, unable to conform to what his Chinese father sees as the perfect son. But Peter is certain he is a girl trapped in a boy’s body.
He meets playground bullies, Christian ex-gays, and misogynists.
For Today I Am A Boy is a sensitive and sometimes witty coming-of-age story about forsaking your path in deference to one given to you by others.
14. Me and Earl and the Dying Girl – Jesse Andrews
Another book like The Perks of Being a Wallflower is Me and Earl and the Dying Girl, which also has themes of high school adolescence and finding one’s place in the world.
The story is narrated by the main character, Greg Gaines, who can live undetected on the social radar with his good friend, Earl.
They spend their days making movies inspired by Coppola and Herzog cult classics.
One day, Greg’s mother forces him to befriend a girl he was once friends with as a child, Rachel, who has been diagnosed with leukemia.
When Rachel stops her treatment, the two boys decide to make a film for her, which turns out terribly and becomes a turning point in their relationship.
Now Greg must step out of the shadows and into the spotlight.
15. To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before – Jenny Han
Lara Jean has never openly admitted to having crushes, instead writing each boy a letter about how she felt, sealing it, and hiding it in a box under her bed.
Because her letters are only for her eyes, she pours out her heart and soul and says things she would never say in real life.
But one day, Lara Jean discovers that her secret box of letters has been mailed, prompting all of her past crushes to confront her about what she wrote—five in total.
Lara Jean’s love life progresses from fictionalized to out of control. However, as she learns to confront her past loves, Lara Jean realizes that something good may come from these letters.
Like this post? Don’t forget to save it on Pinterest!
Final Word on Best Books Like The Perks of Being A Wallflower
This concludes my list of the best young adult books like The Perks of Being A Wallflower, and as you can see, there are so many good books to add to your reading list.
I hope you find something that interests you on this list. If you have any more recommendations, let me know in the comments!