Since school/college/university is upon us and I know how hard it can be to go back, or how scary it can be to start in a new school or eviroment, I thought I’d make a list of books that are set in high school and college, in which school is very present in the story and the characters have a positive expiernce there. Hopefully this will help us face the new year with at least a little bit of hope.
SET IN HIGH SCHOOL
Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli
We all know about this amazing story and characters so I won’t go into too much detail as why I think this is such a great book to put you in the mood for back to school. Becky Albertalli really captured what it’s like to be in high school. The atmosphere, the homework, the friendships and a little bit of drama. This book is one of my faves and if you haven’t read it yet or are thinking of doing a reread, I think now it’s the perfect opportunity to do so.
These two companion novels are some of my favorite books of all time. They both are set in high school, although it is much present in Letters to the Lost. In that story we have an amazing teacher figure that I adore with my entire heart. The friendships in these books are also 10/10 and the romances are the cutest thing in the world.
The Hate You Give by Angie Thomas
I couldn’t not mention this masterpiece of a book. Is the enphasis of the book high school? No, absolutely not. But there are some very interesting discussions about racism, friendships and love between high schoolers. I also really loved the friend group and how it goes through some ups-and-downs, that’s something that happens to everyone and also, how the book tackles outgrowing some friends. Again, this happens all the time during high school and it’s not usually represented in books.
A Very Large Expanse of Sea by Tahereh Mafi
Here we have another great book that features after school clubs, an IN-CRE-DI-BLE TEACHER, and a MC that has just transfered to a new high school and is trying to fit in, make friends and maybe even find love. The sibling dynamics in here were also 10/10. I would highly recommend this one if you didn’t pick it up last year when it came out.
The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo
You wanted more great teachers? Then give this book a shot. In this book, the teacher figure helps engaging the MC on a slam poetry after school club and that helps her find her voice and overcome her struggles. Honestly, this book is so good you should read it no matter the reason, but that teacher was amazing.
Heretics Annonymous by Katie Henry
Do you go to a religious school? Then maybe you should give this book a try. Although set in a catholic high school, this is not a conversion story and it features a wide variety of beliefs and religions. The MC is atheist, the BFF catholic, and we have jewish, pagan, unitarist side characters. Also, this is one of the funniest books out there!
Dear Martin by Nic Stone
This is an amazing book for those of you who are about to start your senior year or last year in high school. Dear Martin tackles the end of the year, finding out what you want to study in the future and the feeling of going away perfectly. At the same time, this is one of the best books I read in 2018 and one I feel like should be mandatory reading. The discussions about racism and white privilage in high school AND college were some of my favorite aspects of the story.
Want to read next:
Always Never Yours by Emily Wibberley and Austin Siegemund-Broka
The Problem with Forever by Jennifer L. Armentrout
Moxie by Jennifer Mathieu
The Nowhere Girls by Amy Reed
Isla & the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins
This is the third book in the Anna & The French Kiss trilogy, but these are all companion novels so you don’t need to read them in order at all. The only one I feel comfortable recommending out of all of them is this one. It takes place in a boarding school in Paris. This book offers a lot of things that aren’t normally featured in books. One of them is that the MC is a senior while the love interest a junior, so they have to overcome the fact that next year they aren’t going to be, not only at the same high school, but probably they won’t even be in the same country. This also features an autistic side character that was incredible as well as some traveling around Eruope that made me want to study abroad myself.
Want to read:
London Belongs to Me by Jaquelyn Middleton
SET IN COLLEGE / UNIVERSIRTY
Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell
Are you about to be a freshman in college/university? Are you scared of making new friends and socializing? Then this is the PERFECT book for you. Again, very popular so I won’t gush about it too much but it is very beloved for a reason. Cath is a bookworm by heart and I think the fact this book is so hyped and well loved is because a lot of us see ourselves represented in her. She’s a bit awkard, very shy but with the biggest heart.
Red, White & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston
If by now you still haven’t at least heard about this m-m love story that has taken over the book community, you might have been living under a rock. And it may be time to come out. What a lot of people aren’t really mentioning is that in ths book, Alex (the MC) is at university! He doesn’t live in a dorm (duh, being the son of the President of The USA and all that) but he does study and does attend classes. Plus, I wanted an excuse to recommend this amazing story one more time.
Giant Days by John Allison
More freshman at college? Let me introduce you to the best roomates you’ll find in the NA-literature right now. This three girls couldn’t be more different from each other and yet fit so perfectly together. This first volume tackles their freshman year but as the volumes advance, so do their lives. This captures the day to day life of a university student PER-FEC-TLY. We have crushes, parties, mountains of homework, study sessions that will last entire nights and way, waaaay too much caffeine.
Off Campus Series by Elle Kennedy
Don’t be fooled by that cover guys. Yes, this does include a bit of sexy times, but it is not a smutty story without plot. This is a series of companion novels and, honestly, I can only recommend the three first ones since I haven’t gotten to the last one yet (I’ve heard it’s the worst of them), but the ones I’ve read are amazing. My favorite new adult reads by far. They tackle the importance of friendships, finding what you are passionate about and working hard to become what you want to be. None of the characters in the stories have had easy lives, they’ve all fought hard to get where they are, and I loved seeing how some of them had scholarships and therefore needed to maintain certain grades to continue being there. Some of them have part-time jobs, which is also very relatable for some us (hey!) and I just think this series has so much good in it I couldn’t not recommend it.
Want to read:
Learning Curves by Ceillie Simkiss
The Chase by Elle Kennedy
180 Seconds by Jessica Park
The Hook Up by Kristen Callihan
What are you guys going to study this year? Are you finished with uni? Do you have any recommendations for back-to-school reads? Let me know!
Until next time,