Back in print and easily available once again is Larry McMurtry's modern classic, this time being issued by Penguin. You may not have read the book, but you have probably seen the film in which Cybil Shepherd made her big screen debut.
Set in a fictional small town, Thalia, Texas (although this is believed to actually be Archer City in Texas in real life). This is a coming of age tale with regards to the more prominent characters, but also this is how you imagine a small sleepy town to be. On the surface you don't expect much to happen, you have a few oddball characters, and that is it. But beneath the surface you soon find that the town is a seething hotbed of sex. The main character is Sonny, who ends up having an affair with the Phys Ed teacher's wife, you also have Jacy, a girl that just wants to get attention and have all the men after her; as well as more characters and situations.
Why this works is that you won't like all the characters, but you can understand them, so it feels more real life and gritty. Thalia seems so real that you feel like you have been there. There is humour in this book, but it is more along the lines of dark comedy, and there is a certain bleakness to the story.
One thing is definite though, long after you finish this it stays fresh in your mind and imagination, it feels like you have really been to the town, and that you intimately know most of the citizens.