12 Must-Read Classic Books Like Catcher in the Rye

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Searching for a selective genre of books to read to fulfil one’s expectations and fantasy could be tiresome. Right???

But what if you could get all your favorite genre in one article. Yes, here I will provide you with a list of suggestions that will save your time and satisfy your needs. Any realistic fiction books like Catcher in the Rye would always be a great choice for a compulsive reader.

Book Name

Author/Authors Name



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To Kill a Mockingbird

Harper Lee

Domestic Fiction

Southern Gothic

The Great Gatsby

F. Scott Fitzgerald


Western Fiction

Lord of the Flies

William Golding

Psychological Fiction


The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

Mark Twain

Adventure Fiction


One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest

Ken Kesey

Psychological Fiction

The Outsiders

S. E. Hinton

Young Adult Fiction



Kurt Vonnegut


Time Travel Fiction

Of Mice and Men

John Steinbeck



The Old Man and The Sea

Ernest Hemingway

Nautical Fiction


Self-Reliance and Other Essays

Ralph Waldo Emerson


A Separate Peace

John Knowles

Young Adult Fiction


Fahrenheit 451

Ray Bradbury

Domestic Fiction

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Catcher in the Rye Summary:

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Catcher in the Rye is a noteworthy novel by J. D. Salinger. It was listed as one of the 100 best English language novels of the 20th century by Modern Library.

Catcher in the Rye begins on a Saturday in late autumn as a sixteen-year-old ‘Holden Caulfield’ has been kicked out of his boarding school ‘Pencey Preparatory Academy’ following a fight with his roommate. Holden packs his bag and leaves late at night. He travelled by train to his hometown New York City but because he wanted to delay his parents’ knowledge of his expulsion from school for as long as possible.

He plans to avoid returning to their apartment until Wednesday. So instead, Holden checks into a shabby hotel where he dances with some tourist girls. Then Holden visits a “Greenwich Village nightclub.” Back at the hotel, he hires a prostitute but doesn’t have sex with her and is roughed up by the prostitute’s pimp.

The catcher in the rye by J.D. Salinger

On Sunday, Holden wanders the city from Grand Central station to the theatre district to Radio City Music Hall to Central Park, reconnecting with various acquaintances.

Eventually, he sneaks into his parents’ apartment to visit his little sister ‘Phoebe.’ Later that night, he visits his high school English teacher ‘Mr. Antolini’ who appears to make a drunken pass at Holden. Holden leaves. The following day Holden meets Phoebe in Central Park, after which he falls ill, which leads to the situation at the time he tells the story. He is a patient at a mental hospital planning to return to school in September and thinking rather wistfully about some of the people he has known.

Top three things every reader should know about the novel. 

One: Like another iconic fictional character, Huck Finn, ‘Holden Caulfield’ is one of the well-loved fictional characters in American literature. Holden relates his own narrative in his own words, as if speaking aloud, and it is Holden’s voice on the page rather than the plot of The Catcher in the Rye that is best remembered.

Two: Although the Catcher in the Rye appears to be the raw thoughts and feelings of an actual teenager. J.D. Salinger was in his 20s and 30s when he wrote the novel, which began as a short story and developed into a book-length fiction work over the course of several years.

Three: The fundamental thematic conflict in the narrative pits Holden’s sister Phoebe’s innocence and sincerity of childhood. ‘Mr. Antolini’, for example, stands in stark contrast to the phoniness that Holden perceives in most people. Holden, who is neither a child nor an adult, fights maturation. He sees the process as one of loss rather than gain.

12 Coming-of-Age Story Books like Catcher in the Rye:

Here i include twelve Books Like Catcher in the Rye written by authors like J. D. Salinger

To kill a Mockingbird, By Harper Lee

To distil To kill a Mockingbird into one sentence doesn’t do the book justice, but here it is: the novel tells the story of scout finch and her family in the years leading up to – and immediately following – a ripped from the headlines courtroom drama. The trials especially dramatic because scouts father, Atticus, is defending Tom Robinson – a black man accused of raping a white woman in a small Southern town.

To distil it even further, To Kill a Mockingbird isn’t just a story about the prejudice and injustice of a particular time period or community; it’s about how to overcome prejudice and injustice. According to Harper Lee, here’s the how, not through laws and rules, not through the court system. Ultimately, overcoming injustice can only happen through innocence and pure goodness.

To kill a Mockingbird is about what it takes to bring out those qualities, even in hardened hearts. It’s also about how not to lose hope in the process. I added this book to the list’ books like Catcher in the Rye’ because it also shows various aspects of human behavior in society. And you will find some adolescents like Holden Caulfield in this book. To read eleven more classic books like To Kill A Mockingbird, check this list.

The Great Gatsby, By F. Scott Fitzgerald

Another tragic classic American books similar to Catcher in the Rye is The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald. The protagonist of the book is a self-made millionaire, Jay Gatsby. Despite being rich, he leads a tragic life. The love of his life is a beautiful young woman, ‘Daisy Buchanan’, married to a wicked wealthy man, Tom Buchanan. 

The story takes place where he tries to win his old love back. Being stuck in an unhappy marriage, Daisy herself looks for a place to breathe. The story shows the insincerity and evilness among people. And because of that, the pursuit of individualism and contentment is the hardest part of this wicked world.

Lord of the Flies, By William Golding

‘Holden Caulfield’ as an outcast teenager, faces the ‘phoniness’ among adults and the difficulties of finding human interactions in Catcher in the Rye. Through that, he finds his way to adulthood. Here is Lord of the Flies by William Golding shows the coming of age of some preadolescence boys.

The story takes place in the middle of a wartime evacuation. With only a group of boys as survival, a plane crashes on a remote island. As they find themselves without any governance, they celebrate their freedom. In order to survive, they attempt to build a civilization on their own. By which a lot of unwanted adventure will be created. 

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, By Mark Twain

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One of the greatest picaresque novels of all time is The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by American author Mark Twain. The story is about a teenage boy, ‘Huck’, in the nineteenth century and his adventurous journey. The story takes place as he flees from his house with a fugitive slave named Jim. Through the journey, he encounters a lot of adventures and sees the insincerity and cruelty in society. The journey opens his eyes to humanity as it is.

This novel is one of the mandatory books to read from the list of similar books like Catcher in the Rye. Because both books have similar kind of protagonist, both Huck and Holden are at coming of age process through their adventurous journey. If you like The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, here are nine classic books like it.

One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, By Ken Kesey

One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest is a tragic novel written by Ken Kesey. The story takes place in an ‘Oregon Psychiatric Hospital’. An oppressive nurse rules over the patients with a strict and forbidding routine. No one is there to oppose her as they all are intimidated by mind-numbing medication or the threat of electric shocks.

But after the arrival of a fellow patient named ‘McMurphy’, the situation gets out of control. His rebellious and hostile nature brings chaos into the hospital. The story brings out a clear image of the edges between saneness and insanity. 

The Outsiders, By S. E. Hinton

Another young adult fiction books like Catcher in the Rye is The Outsiders by S. E. Hinton. The story narrates the viewpoint of a fourteen years old boy, Curtis, how he defines society and individualism. As he struggles to fit in the society, he starts to consider himself as an outsider. Social people can easily get whatever they want or do whatever they want to do in society. But, on the other hand, the outsiders like him have to be careful in order to survive. But after a horrifying night, his perception is going to change forever.   

Slaughterhouse-Five, By Kurt Vonnegut

One of the best antiwar classic American novels of all time is Slaughterhouse-Five. This science-fiction war novel is written by Kurt Vonnegut and listed by Modern Library as one of the 100 best novels of all time.

The story narrates through the life’s experiences of Billy Pilgrim. In the book, he appears as a time traveler.

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Through time travel, he encounters the pre and posts war events. As he sees the chaos among people, he begins to question the meaning of life. Thus, the story can easily be related to the present world and the fear and restlessness among people all over the world. 

Of Mice and Men, By John Steinbeck

Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck is a story of two migrant field workers. As they enter the world of wickedness, misunderstanding, jealousy and apathy. They struggle to survive in this situation. And because of their struggle and loneliness, they seek each other companion and a safe place to live.

The title of the novel is a reference to the poem ‘To a Mouse’ by Robert Burns. Where it is pointed that “The best laid plans of mice and man, go often askew.” In addition, here are eight Of Mice and Men similar books. So, check them and get one that mesmerize you with it’s storyline.

The Old Man and the Sea, By Ernest Hemingway

Nobel Prize-winning author Ernest Hemingway’s one of the best creation of all time is The Old Man and the Sea. It narrates the story of an old Cuban fisherman named Santiago.

This masterpiece starts to seem like a simple story of a fisherman tale. But as the story goes on, it becomes much more. The audacity of a simple man while struggling with self-doubts is the main attraction of the story. Additionally, here are six more books to read if you like The Old Man and The Sea.

Self-Reliance and Other Essays, By Ralph Waldo Emerson

Self-Reliance and Other Essays is a philosophy book written by an American essayist, lecturer, poet and philosopher Ralph Waldo Emerson. He points out the importance of self-reliance, individualism and self-cultivation through the book. So, he puts his own views and thoughts to label moral idealism in society. And also, later, he shows a hint of cynicism that altered his thoughts and views.    

A Separate Peace, By John Knowles

Another classic coming of age books like Catcher in the Rye is A Separate Peace by John Knowles. The story shows the natural and dark side of adolescence. The story takes place during World War II at a boarding school in New England.

The protagonist of the story is two boys. One is intellectual and socially awkward, and the other is an athlete and extremely extrovert. After an astonishing event, their lives change forever. The purity and innocence of their childhood banish from their life.  

Fahrenheit 451, By Ray Bradbury

One of the best dystopian novels portraying humanity’s destruction in the distant future is Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury. 

A fireman, Guy Montag, destroys illegal commodities and the houses where they are hidden as his job. However, he never thoughts about the cruelty and damages because of his work. Until his odd and young neighbor introduces him to the past when people used to live without destructions. After that, he starts to see his actions and the world in a different view.  

Final Words

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1 thought on “12 Must-Read Classic Books Like Catcher in the Rye”

  1. Good list, but I didn’t find any of these to be like Catcher. Catcher is super unique. The closest books I found to Catcher in the Rye are the Alon Bersharder books. Both are a more modern continuation of Holden in many ways.


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