08/29/2013 AT 5:00 PM ET
It’s back-to-school season – but growing up and gaining wisdom doesn’t always happen in the classroom. Check out three coming-of-age novels our staffers love and let us know what you’re reading.
Her Pick: My Education by Susan Choi
Wrapped up in the complicated love life of Regina, a 21-year-old graduate student enamored of her professor, I experienced a young woman discovering herself. The story takes a surprising turn, and it kept me turning the pages, even as I worried about what she’d do next. But if Regina’s choices are impulsive, they’re heartfelt, and the author’s witty observations made this a fun read all the way through.
Christy Ellinger, Senior Director, Digital Marketing
Her Pick: Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell
This Young Adult read, sweet and jarring, is perfect for grown-ups of all ages. It brought back high school in all its wonder and horror, like the moment you board the school bus and hope that no one and everyone will notice you. What I loved most of all were Eleanor and Park themselves, lovable and flawed as any characters you’ll find. It’s a unique love story.
Sara Luckey, Imaging Manager
Her Pick: Summerland by Elin Hilderbrand
Reading this while on a sailing trip, I was drawn into the tale of Nantucket teens involved in a tragic accident the night of high school graduation. They and their families are changed forever, of course, and the reverberations reveal long-held secrets of the heart. As much as it’s a tale about grief and its aftermath, the book isn’t a downer; it offers hope and healing in the end.
Check back every Thursday for another round of staff picks, and see more book reviews each week in PEOPLE magazine, on newsstands now. Plus, check out last week’s awesome audiobooksand more great book finds here.