Based on the acclaimed novel by Gregory Maguire that re-imagined the stories and characters created by L. Frank Baum in ‘The Wonderful Wizard of Oz’, Wicked tells the incredible untold story of an unlikely but profound friendship between two girls, Elphaba and Glinda, who first meet as sorcery students during their time at university. To celebrate the recent announcement that this clever adaptation that reveals so much more happened before Dorothy dropped in is now the tenth longest running West End show, we thought we’d take a look at the top ten coming of age stories!
Tris in Divergent
Divergent stars Shailene Woodley and is an adaptation of the novel by Vanessa Roth. In a world divided by factions based on virtues and qualities, Tris learns she’s ‘Divergent’, an individual that doesn’t fit within just one of these factions. Tris is forced to keep her ‘Divergent’ status a secret and chooses to move to the Dauntless faction. However, Tris soon discovers a plot to destroy all Divergents and with some help from the mysterious Four, they work together to find out more about this plot against the Divergents and how they can stop it.
Katniss in The Hunger Games
Featuring Jennifer Lawrence as the lead in The Hunger Games, Katniss has to ‘come of age’ from an early stage in her life in order to survive and look after her sister and mother. However, as the story progresses, Katniss has to learn how to not only continue looking after herself but how to become someone that others look up to, follow and depend on as she takes the place of her sister in the annual Hunger Games tournament.
Charlie in The Perks of Being a Wallflower
Based on the novel of the same name by Stephen Chbosky, The Perks of Being a Wallflower is the story of Charlie, a freshman who is nervous about beginning his first year of high school. After initially making friends with his English teacher, Charlie is soon taken under the wings of two seniors who welcome him to the real world where he experiences a high school dance, house parties, his first kiss, love, heartbreak and more.
Elphaba in Wicked
As a prequel to the stories featured within ‘The Wonderful Wizard of Oz’, Wicked focuses on Elphaba as a young woman as she blossoms into adulthood. Elphaba attends Shiz University where she meets Glinda. Despite being an outcast all of her life due to her unnaturally green skin, Elphaba’s unlikely friendship with the rich and popular Glinda helps Elphaba to fit in with the other students at Shiz.
After learning that The Wizard is not as great and powerful as she first thought during a trip to the Emerald City, Elphaba has to mature into the Witch she needs to be to oppose his regime and restore order and hope once again in the Land of Oz.
Juno in Juno
Starring Ellen Page as the title character, Juno is an independent-minded teenager who has some big choices to make when she discovers she is pregnant. We follow Juno through her struggles with her emotions and relationship with Paulie, the father of the baby, and Juno’s decision as to whether she wants to have an abortion or give the baby up for adoption.
The Breakfast Club
The Breakfast Club is a coming of age comedy drama written and directed by John Hughes. The storyline follows five teenagers, each a member of different high school cliques, who spend a Saturday in detention together and come to realise that there’s more to them than just their respective stereotypes. We follow each character throughout the film as their attitudes and perspectives begin to change.
Bella in The Twilight Saga
Played by Kristen Stewart, Bella moves to live with her father and is enrolled into a new school. It is at this school where she meets Edward Cullen, who she later finds out is a vampire. They soon fall in love and take their relationship to the next level by getting married in The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 1 after overcoming several obstacles that threatened their relationship (including werewolves). Bella soon becomes pregnant and, after a difficult labour, they both have to quickly adapt to parenthood to look after their half mortal, half immortal child.
Jenna in 13 Going on 30
Jennifer Garner stars as Jenna Rink in 13 Going on 30, a 13 year old girl who desperately wants to grow up. After her disastrous 13th birthday party involving an accidental sprinkling of magic dust, her wish becomes true and she finds herself seventeen years in the future at the age of thirty as a highly successful New York fashion editor.
Sephy in Noughts and Crosses (book series)
This book series is by English author Malorie Blackman and examines an alternative history. Sephy is a Cross, meaning she is a member of the ruling class. Callum is a nought, depicted as a ‘colourless’ member of the underclass who were once slaves to the Crosses. Friendships between Noughts and Crosses are frowned upon, but Sephy and Callum have been keeping their friendship a secret. As the division between the Noughts and the Crosses intensifies, the two must learn and face up to the prejudice and distrust that awaits them.
Bend It Like Beckham
This film is about an 18 year old girl, Jesminder “Jess” Bhamra, who is infatuated with football but her parents have forbidden her to play. Nevertheless, Jess joins a local women’s team and keeps her training and matches a secret from her parents. With the help of some of her team mates and friends, Jess has the opportunity to play in a match that could allow her to take the next step in her life and her career.