20 best books on leaving home – 2023 reading list & recommendations

Are you ready to embark on a literary journey into the realm of leaving home? Whether you are looking for inspiration, guidance, or simply a captivating story to escape into, there is a book on leaving home that is perfect for you. From timeless classics to contemporary gems, we have curated a list of the 20 best leaving home books that will tug at your heartstrings, challenge your perspective, and make you appreciate the journey of self-discovery. So, pack your bags and get ready to immerse yourself in these unforgettable tales of adventure, growth, and finding one’s place in the world.


by Tara Westover

Educated by Tara Westover is a captivating memoir that takes readers on a journey of self-discovery and liberation. It is a compelling book about breaking free and finding one’s own path in life.

The Goldfinch

by Donna Tartt

The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt is an extraordinary book about leaving home that takes readers on a mesmerizing journey filled with art, love, and the search for identity. This Pulitzer Prize-winning novel follows the life of Theo Decker, a young boy who survives a catastrophic event that turns his world upside down. From the moment he clings to a priceless painting called “The Goldfinch” in the midst of chaos, Theo’s life becomes a whirlwind of adventure and self-discovery.

The Great Alone

by Kristin Hannah

The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah is a captivating journey of self-discovery that takes readers on an unforgettable adventure in the untamed wilderness of Alaska. This compelling novel about breaking free is an emotional rollercoaster that will leave you breathless.

The Road

by Cormac McCarthy

The Road, written by Cormac McCarthy, is a captivating book about embarking on a perilous journey, a poignant tale of venturing away from the familiar and stepping into the unknown. This powerful narrative takes readers on a heart-wrenching odyssey, as a father and son navigate a desolate post-apocalyptic world, where every step is laden with danger and every decision carries tremendous weight.

The Glass Castle

by Jeannette Walls

The Glass Castle is a captivating memoir that delves into the extraordinary journey of Jeannette Walls, as she navigates the tumultuous terrain of her unconventional childhood. This remarkable book is a compelling and inspiring tale of resilience, self-discovery, and the indomitable spirit of a young girl determined to rise above her circumstances and forge her own path.

Set against the backdrop of a nomadic lifestyle, The Glass Castle takes readers on a poignant and often heart-wrenching exploration of Walls’ upbringing. With her charismatic but deeply flawed parents, Walls learns to adapt to a life filled with constant uncertainty and instability. Yet, amidst the chaos and eccentricity of her family, she finds solace in her vivid imagination and unwavering determination to create a better future for herself.

This powerful memoir is a poignant reminder that leaving home doesn’t always mean physical distance; it can also mean breaking free from the limitations and expectations that society places upon us. Walls’ pursuit of a life beyond her troubled upbringing is a testament to the universal longing we all have to find our place in the world and to create a sense of belonging that is true to ourselves.

With its raw honesty and poignant storytelling, The Glass Castle is a book that resonates deeply with anyone who has ever felt the pull to venture beyond the confines of their own upbringing and discover their own path. It is a book about leaving home, both literally and metaphorically, and the transformative journey that awaits those who dare to dream beyond the limitations of their circumstances.

The Catcher in the Rye

by J.D. Salinger

The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger is an iconic coming-of-age novel that explores the turbulent journey of a teenage boy named Holden Caulfield as he navigates the complexities of growing up and leaving the comforts of home behind.

The Alchemist

by Paulo Coelho

The Alchemist, written by Paulo Coelho, is a mesmerizing book that explores the essence of adventure and self-discovery. This enchanting tale, often described as a “book on leaving home,” takes readers on a transformative journey that ignites the spirit of wanderlust and encourages them to follow their dreams.

The Kite Runner

by Khaled Hosseini

The Kite Runner, a remarkable book about embarking on a journey beyond one’s homeland, unveils the captivating story of Amir, a young boy growing up in Kabul, Afghanistan. This powerful novel, penned by Khaled Hosseini, takes readers on a poignant exploration of love, friendship, betrayal, and redemption.

Set against the backdrop of a changing Afghanistan, the book delves into the bond between Amir and his loyal friend Hassan, both passionate about kite running, a traditional Afghan sport. However, their friendship faces a devastating test, leaving Amir with a heavy burden of guilt.

As the story unfolds, Amir finds himself grappling with the consequences of his actions, leading him to flee his homeland and embark on a new life in the United States. Yet, no matter how far he may run, the memories of his past continue to haunt him.

The Kite Runner is a compelling tale of self-discovery and the pursuit of redemption as Amir, driven by a desire to make amends, journeys back to Afghanistan. In doing so, he confronts his past, the scars left by war, and the chance to find forgiveness.

Through Hosseini’s evocative storytelling, readers are transported to a world filled with vivid imagery, complex characters, and cultural nuances that bring the narrative to life. The Kite Runner serves as a poignant reminder of the universal longing we all share to find our place in the world, to heal our past wounds, and to ultimately find redemption.


by Cheryl Strayed

Are you ready to embark on an extraordinary journey of self-discovery? Look no further than Wild by Cheryl Strayed, a captivating book about stepping out of your comfort zone and venturing into the unknown. This mesmerizing memoir is the ultimate guide for anyone who craves adventure and seeks solace in nature.

In this remarkable tale, Strayed shares her courageous decision to hike the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT), a grueling 1,100-mile journey that stretches from Mexico to Canada. With only a backpack and an insatiable thirst for redemption, she sets off on an epic adventure that will test her physical and mental limits.

But Wild is more than just a book about leaving home; it’s a profound exploration of the human spirit. As Strayed navigates the rugged terrain of the PCT, she confronts her deepest fears, grapples with her past mistakes, and finds healing in the solitude of the wilderness.

Strayed’s raw and honest writing will transport you to the heart of her journey, allowing you to experience every blister, every triumph, and every moment of self-discovery alongside her. Through her vivid descriptions and introspective reflections, she reminds us of the transformative power of nature and the resilience of the human soul.

So, if you’re yearning for a book that will inspire you to embrace uncertainty, confront your demons, and find strength in the face of adversity, Wild is the perfect choice. Prepare to be swept away by Strayed’s captivating storytelling and embark on a transformative adventure of your own.

The Secret Life of Bees

by Sue Monk Kidd

The Secret Life of Bees is a captivating and heartwarming tale that beautifully captures the essence of a coming-of-age story. Set in the 1960s, this extraordinary novel takes readers on an unforgettable journey of self-discovery and the search for belonging.

At its core, The Secret Life of Bees is a book about leaving home. It delves into the yearning to break free from the familiar and venture into the unknown. The protagonist, a young girl named Lily Owens, finds herself on a quest to uncover the truth about her mother’s past and ultimately, to find her own place in the world.

As Lily embarks on this transformative journey, she finds solace and enlightenment in the company of three remarkable beekeeping sisters. Together, they embark on a remarkable adventure that will forever change their lives. Through the mesmerizing world of bees, Sue Monk Kidd beautifully explores themes of love, forgiveness, and the power of female friendships.

With its richly drawn characters, vivid imagery, and lyrical prose, The Secret Life of Bees is a book that will tug at your heartstrings and leave you feeling inspired. It is a story that reminds us that no matter how far we may wander, true happiness can always be found by embracing our true selves and finding our place in the world.

The Color Purple

by Alice Walker

The Color Purple: A Journey of Self-Discovery and Liberation

Prepare to embark on an extraordinary literary voyage with Alice Walker’s iconic novel, The Color Purple. This captivating masterpiece is not just a book about leaving home; it is a profound exploration of breaking free from the shackles of oppression, finding one’s voice, and reclaiming one’s identity.

Set in the early 20th century, in the deep American South, The Color Purple delves into the life of Celie, a young African-American woman who endures unimaginable hardships and abuse. Through her poignant letters to God, Celie intimately shares her heart-wrenching journey as she navigates the treacherous path towards self-empowerment and liberation.

The novel beautifully captures the essence of leaving home, using Celie’s experiences as a metaphor for escaping the confines of societal expectations and finding one’s own path. As she embarks on this emotional odyssey, Celie encounters a diverse cast of characters who shape her understanding of love, friendship, and resilience.

Walker’s remarkable prose weaves a tapestry of emotions, capturing both the pain and the triumphs that come with leaving home. With each page, readers are transported into the heart of Celie’s world, feeling her sorrows, her hopes, and her fierce determination to rise above adversity.

As the story unfolds, themes of sexual liberation, racial inequality, and female empowerment intertwine, making The Color Purple an unapologetically bold and provocative exploration of the human spirit’s capacity to overcome even the darkest of circumstances.

This leaving home book is not just a tale of survival; it is a testament to the transformative power of love, sisterhood, and self-discovery. It invites readers to reflect on their own journeys and encourages them to find the strength to break free from their own metaphorical chains.

So, if you are ready to embark on a literary adventure that will leave an indelible mark on your soul, dive into the pages of The Color Purple and prepare to be inspired, moved, and forever changed.

The Joy Luck Club

by Amy Tan

The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan is a captivating journey of self-discovery and resilience. This unforgettable novel explores the intricate relationships between four Chinese immigrant mothers and their American-born daughters, delving into the complexities of cultural identity, family bonds, and the adventurous leap of leaving home.

The Grapes of Wrath

by John Steinbeck

The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck is a powerful and moving book about leaving home. Set during the Great Depression, it follows the Joad family as they are forced to abandon their Oklahoma farm and embark on a treacherous journey to California in search of a better life. This book on leaving home explores the themes of poverty, resilience, and the human spirit in the face of adversity.

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

by Mark Twain

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn: A Journey of Escape and Self-Discovery

Embark on a thrilling and thought-provoking journey with Mark Twain’s timeless masterpiece, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. This iconic novel, often referred to as the ultimate ‘book on leaving home,’ takes readers on a rollercoaster ride through the heart of America’s untamed wilderness, exploring themes of freedom, friendship, and the unyielding pursuit of one’s own identity.

Set in the pre-Civil War era, the story revolves around the mischievous and independent-minded Huck Finn, a young boy who escapes from his abusive father and sets off on a daring adventure down the mighty Mississippi River. Driven by a burning desire to break free from the constraints of society, Huck seeks solace in the vast expanse of nature, where he discovers a world teeming with danger, excitement, and the possibility of self-discovery.

As Huck embarks on his perilous journey, he encounters a diverse cast of characters, each representing a unique facet of American society. From the cunning yet endearing runaway slave Jim, to the captivating and conniving Duke and King, Twain masterfully crafts a narrative that shines a light on the complexities of human nature and the stark realities of a divided nation.

Throughout the novel, Twain ingeniously employs rich dialects and vivid descriptions to immerse readers in the sights, sounds, and emotions experienced by Huck and his companions. This immersive storytelling style not only captivates the imagination but also provides a profound commentary on the moral dilemmas faced by individuals navigating a world filled with prejudice and injustice.

At its core, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is a story of leaving home, a poignant exploration of the universal desire for freedom and the lengths one is willing to go to achieve it. It challenges societal norms, forces readers to confront their own prejudices, and ultimately reminds us that the true path to self-discovery lies in embracing the unknown and forging our own destinies.

So, if you are ready to embark on an unforgettable adventure, pick up this groundbreaking leaving home book and join Huck Finn as he navigates the turbulent waters of the Mississippi River, proving that the journey toward self-discovery is as treacherous as it is rewarding.

The Hobbit

by J.R.R. Tolkien

The Hobbit, written by J.R.R. Tolkien, is a captivating tale that takes readers on an extraordinary adventure beyond the boundaries of comfort and familiarity. This legendary masterpiece, often referred to as a ‘book on leaving home,’ unravels the story of Bilbo Baggins, a hobbit who yearns for a life beyond the cozy confines of his hobbit-hole.

To Kill a Mockingbird

by Harper Lee

To Kill a Mockingbird:

Embark on a literary journey through the mesmerizing pages of Harper Lee’s timeless masterpiece, a captivating book on leaving home. Set in the 1930s, this Pulitzer Prize-winning novel transports readers to the fictional town of Maycomb, Alabama, where Scout Finch, a young and curious girl, narrates an extraordinary tale of prejudice, justice, and the bittersweet process of growing up.

In this book about leaving home, Scout and her brother Jem become acquainted with the enigmatic Boo Radley, an elusive figure who resides near their neighborhood. As they navigate their youthful adventures, they also witness the unfolding of a riveting courtroom drama. Scout’s father, the honorable Atticus Finch, defends an innocent black man named Tom Robinson against false accusations of rape, challenging the deeply ingrained racial biases of their community.

Leaving home takes on multifaceted meanings as Scout and Jem slowly unravel the complexities of their small town and confront the harsh realities of prejudice and injustice. Through Lee’s evocative storytelling, readers are immersed in a world that captures the essence of childhood innocence, familial bonds, and the indomitable spirit of standing up for what is right.

With its poignant narrative and richly drawn characters, this leaving home book is an enduring exploration of societal issues that remain relevant today. Prepare to be enthralled by the resounding themes of compassion, empathy, and the enduring power of truth. To Kill a Mockingbird is a literary masterpiece that will leave an indelible mark on your heart and mind.

Little Women

by Louisa May Alcott

Little Women: A Captivating Tale of Growing Up and Finding One’s Place in the World

Looking for an enchanting book about leaving home that will whisk you away to a world of heartwarming adventures? Look no further than Louisa May Alcott’s beloved classic, Little Women. This timeless tale takes us on a captivating journey through the lives of the four March sisters—Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy—as they navigate the trials and tribulations of adolescence, love, and the bittersweet process of leaving home.

Set against the backdrop of the Civil War era, Little Women transports readers to the cozy March family home, where dreams are born and shattered, and where the bonds of sisterhood hold strong. As the sisters grapple with the challenges of growing up, they learn the true meaning of independence, friendship, and the importance of staying true to oneself.

Jo, the fiercely independent and tomboyish sister, yearns for a life beyond the confines of their small town. Her ambitions as a writer take her on a remarkable journey of self-discovery, as she learns to navigate the complexities of love and sacrifice. Meg, the eldest sister, dreams of a traditional life filled with love and domestic bliss. Beth, the gentle and kind-hearted sister, finds solace in music and brings the family together with her unwavering strength. And Amy, the youngest and most spirited of the four, longs for adventure and a life filled with beauty and art.

Through joys and sorrows, triumphs and setbacks, Alcott paints a vivid portrait of sisterhood, resilience, and the boundless power of love. As the March sisters face the challenges and uncertainties of their individual paths, they ultimately discover that home is not solely defined by a physical place, but rather by the love and support they find in each other.

So, if you’re in search of a heartwarming and inspiring book on leaving home that will resonate with readers of all ages, look no further than Little Women. Immerse yourself in the enchanting world of the March sisters and uncover the timeless lessons of love, sisterhood, and the pursuit of one’s dreams.

The Outsiders

by S.E. Hinton

The Outsiders is an electrifying book about breaking free from the confines of home. S.E. Hinton’s timeless masterpiece delves into the gripping tale of a group of young boys struggling to escape the boundaries of their suburban lives. Set in 1960s Oklahoma, this captivating story of liberation takes readers on an emotional rollercoaster, exploring themes of identity, rebellion, and the unbreakable bonds of friendship.

The Bell Jar

by Sylvia Plath

The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath is an extraordinary journey of self-discovery that takes readers on a rollercoaster of emotions. This classic coming-of-age story is a captivating exploration of identity and the challenges of leaving the familiar behind.

The Odyssey

by Homer

The Odyssey by Homer is an epic poem that takes readers on an extraordinary journey, a book on venturing out into the world beyond familiar walls. Homer’s masterpiece explores the trials and tribulations faced by the legendary hero Odysseus as he embarks on a remarkable odyssey, a book about departing from his homeland. With its captivating storytelling and mesmerizing imagery, this leaving home book delves into the theme of exploration, as Odysseus encounters mythical creatures, battles treacherous gods, and navigates treacherous waters on his quest to return to his beloved Ithaca. Through his courage, wit, and determination, Odysseus embodies the universal desire to leave home, to embark on a journey of self-discovery and growth. The Odyssey is a timeless tale that continues to captivate readers with its timeless message of the human spirit’s indomitable will to explore the world beyond, making it a truly unforgettable leaving home book.


In conclusion, these 20 books about leaving home offer readers a diverse and captivating collection of stories that explore the universal theme of venturing into the unknown. From coming-of-age tales to gripping memoirs, these books transport us to different worlds, allowing us to navigate the complexities of leaving our comfort zones. Whether you’re looking for inspiration, solace, or simply a great read, these books will undoubtedly resonate with anyone who has experienced the bittersweet journey of leaving home.