Book List

16 Books That Will Get You Excited For Your First Year of College

August 4, 2022
Francie Crawford

It’s back to school season, and you know what that means… it’s time to put away those summer books and pick up your required reading list. Luckily, if you’re headed off to college, you likely didn’t have a required reading list, and probably managed to get through quite a bit of the stack that was piling up in your room. If you’re nervous to start school or college just seems daunting, pick up one of these books to give you a little courage!

16 Books That Will Get You Excited For Your First Year of College

1. See You Yesterday by Rachel Lynn Solomon

Barrett Bloom is hoping college will be a fresh start after a messy high school experience. But when school begins on September 21st, her first day is a disaster AND she finds herself stuck in a time loop! This feel-good magical romance will is sure to help you realize that no matter how weird your first day (or few) might be, there’s a light at the end of the tunnel!


2. She Gets the Girl by Rachael Lippincott and Alyson Derrick

Alex and Molly don’t belong on the same planet, let alone the same college campus. But as the two embark on a five-step plan to get the girls of their respective dreams to fall for them they both begin to wonder if maybe they’re the ones falling…for each other. 


3. Exactly Where You Need to Be by Amelia Diane Coombs

Not quite ready to let go of that last summer before college? This romantic road trip story follows Florie as she makes the most of her last chance to have an epic summer with her best friend, Kacey, before everything changes and Kacey heads off to school. 


4. Legendborn by Tracy Deonn

Bree might not *technically* be a college student yet, but as she heads off to a residential program for bright high schoolers at UNC-Chapel Hill she has to face the same challenges that many college freshmen do. Luckily, most college freshmen don’t have to face the wild demonic problems Bree does, though.


5. Today Tonight Tomorrow by Rachel Lynn Solomon

Still have graduation on the brain? Relive that last day before summer break with this unforgettable romantic comedy about two rival overachievers whose relationship completely transforms over the course of twenty-four hours.


6. Love Radio by Ebony LaDelle

Do the ghosts of college essays past (or essays yet to come) haunt you? Then you’ll relate to Dani, whose struggles with her own college essay end up bringing her together with Prince, a romantic DJ and self-professed “Love Expert.”


7. Start Here by Trish Doller

This book follows the tense friendship of two teen girls dealing with the loss of their best friend the summer between high school and college. It’s a heart-wrenching tale, but it’s also full of adventure and spontaneity—it’s a perfect bittersweet read for a bittersweet time in your life.

8. American Panda by Gloria Chao

This book follows a first-year student whose time away from home helps her branch out and find her true self, instead of the self her parents expect her to be. College is the perfect time to find your own path, and this book will inspire you to find yours.

9. Permanent Record by Mary H.K. Choi

One of the most common college tropes is the “broke college kid.” Well, in this book, you get that trope to the extreme. College isn’t easy to figure out, and managing the financial aspect can be extremely difficult and stressful. This book gives you a glimpse into the struggles of that side of things, but will also remind you that no matter how bad things get, you’ll always figure them out.

10. Emergency Contact by Mary H.K. Choi

Emergency Contact by Mary H.K. Choi

Another Mary H.K. Choi novel and a crowd favorite, this book follows two young college kids who barely outlived high school by focusing on the hope of getting their dreams within grasp in college. It’s not easy to chase your dreams, but this book reminds us that it’s well worth it, if only for the experiences and relationships you’ll find along the way.

11. Love From A to Z by S.K. Ali

Spring Break: we all know the term. It’s a magical time when college kids especially go on all kinds of new adventures. In this book, two college kids find love on their way to their spring break trips. What could get you more excited for college than the thought of finding love on spring break?

12. Run Away With Me by Mila Gray

College is a great time to get away from home. But that also means when you’re back for the summer, old flames can rekindle, old dramas can blow up again, and unexpected things can happen with unexpected people. If you’re looking to get away or looking for a second chance, this is the read for you.

13. Starfish by Akemi Dawn Bowman

Starfish by Akemi Dawn Bowman

Following along with artist Kiko as she explores the west coast touring art schools is sure to get you excited to hit whatever campus you’re headed to this fall. Leaving home is scary, sure, but finding a new one can be exciting and fulfilling. Kiko finding her new home is enough to get you to shake off those nerves and strike out on your own.

14. She’s the Worst by Lauren Spieller

If you’re staying in your hometown for college and feeling kind of ~eh~ about that, this is the perfect book to get the frown turned upside down. Following two sisters exploring everything their hometown has to offer before one of them starts college, this is the perfect read to inspire you to find some new pizzazz in your hometown, and to still have a new and exciting college experience, even from a quick drive away.

15. The Summer I Turned Pretty by Jenny Han

You won’t get to college until the last book in this trilogy, but you have to start at the top! This series lives for the summers and will get you totally ready to take that summer fling spirit to college with you.

Looking for more? Check out this list of books that will make you want to travel!

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