Getting It Wrong to Get It Right

Christmas Critics

No one says growing up is easy, and four of the novels I’ve read this year reiterate just how challenging the journey from youth (or youthfulness) to maturity can be. More than mere coming-of-age tales, these books also manage to situate often painful emotional experiences within the context of larger societal concerns.

When, in Meg Wolitzer’s The Interestings (Riverhead, $27.95, 480 pp.), protagonist Julie Jacobson is initiated into the most intriguing group of...

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About the Author

Alyssa Rosenberg is features editor at ThinkProgress and the television columnist for Women and Hollywood. Her work has appeared in the New York Times, the Atlantic, New York, Slate, and elsewhere.