Monday, May 23, 2011

What I Am Reading: College Books

Oh how hard (and I'm talking pull-your-hair-out HARD) it is to find any books that are set in college these days. It seems that young, twenty-ish-year-old readers fall into two categories: we're either teenagers or we're adults and there are no in-betweens. But if you're a little bit like me, and the craziness that is college still fascinates you--or maybe you're still a college student yourself--here are some (old and new) books/series you might be interested in reading.

  Secret Society Girl by Diana Peterfreund
Elite Eli University junior Amy Haskel never expected to be tapped into Rose & Grave, the country’s most powerful—and notorious—secret society. She isn’t rich, politically connected, or…well, male.

So when Amy receives the distinctive black-lined invitation with the Rose & Grave seal, she’s blown away. Could they really mean her?

Whisked off into an initiation rite that’s a blend of Harry Potter and Alfred Hitchcock, Amy awakens the next day to a new reality and a whole new set of “friends”—from the gorgeous son of a conservative governor to an Afrocentric lesbian activist whose society name is Thorndike. And that’s when Amy starts to discover the truth about getting what you wish for. Because Rose & Grave is quickly taking her away from her familiar world of classes and keggers, fueling a feud, and undermining a very promising friendship with benefits. And that’s before Amy finds out that her first duty as a member of Rose & Grave is to take on a conspiracy of money and power that could, quite possibly, ruin her whole life.

A smart, sexy introduction to the life and times of a young woman in way over her head, Secret Society Girl is a charming and witty debut from a writer who knows her turf—and isn’t afraid to tell all....

Psych Major Syndrome by Alicia Thompson

 Using the skills you've learned so far in Introduction to Psychology, please write a brief self-assessment describing how things are going in your freshman year.

Presenting Concerns:

The Patient, Leigh Nolan (that would be me), has just started her first year at Stiles College. She has decided to major in psychology (even though her parents would rather she study Tarot cards, not Rorschach blots).

Patient has always been very good at helping her friends with their problems, but when it comes to solving her own...not so much.

Patient has a tendency to overanalyze things, particularly when the opposite sex is involved. Like why doesn't Andrew, her boyfriend of over a year, ever invite her to spend the night? Or why can't she commit to taking the next step in their relationship? And why does his roommate Nathan dislike her so much? More importantly, why did Nathan have a starring role in a much-more-than-friendly dream?

Aggravating factors include hyper-competitive fellow psych majors, a professor who’s badly in need of her own psychoanalysis, and mentoring a middle-school-aged girl who thinks Patient is, in a word, naive.

Diagnosis: Psych Major Syndrome

We'll Always Have Summer (Book #3) by Jenny Han

Books 1 and 2 do not take place in college, but the third one does. I highly recommend reading all three!
It's been two years since Conrad told Belly to go with Jeremiah. She and Jeremiah have been inseparable ever since, even attending the same college-- only, their relationship hasn't exactly been the happily ever after Belly had hoped it would be. And when Jeremiah makes the worst mistake a boy can make, Belly is forced to question what she thought was true love. Does she really have a future with Jeremiah? Has she ever gotten over Conrad? It's time for Belly to decide, once and for all, who has her heart forever.

Better than Running at Night by Hillary Frank
 Having left behind the melodrama of her solitary high school days—and the beheaded martyrs in her paintings—Ellie arrives at the New England College of Art and Design. Looking forward to the opportunity to recreate herself and her art, she begins her first day by dirty dancing with the Devil. Then she makes out with him. Ellie soon learns a lot about herself in this story about independence, trust, and boys.

Charmed Thirds (Book #3) by Megan McCafferty
If you haven't read the Jessica Darling series yet, you must, you must! It's a crossover series that follows the protagonist from high school all the way to adulthood.

 Things are looking up for Jessica Darling. She has finally left her New Jersey hometown/hellhole for Columbia University in New York City; she’s more into her boyfriend, Marcus Flutie, than ever (so what if he’s at a Buddhist college in California?); and she’s making new friends who just might qualify as stand-ins for her beloved best friend, Hope.

But Jessica soon realizes that her bliss might not last. She lands an internship at a snarky Brooklyn-based magazine, but will she fit in with the ├╝berhip staff (and will she even want to)? As she and Marcus hit the rocks, will she end up falling for her GOPunk, neoconservative RA . . . or the hot (and married!) Spanish grad student she’s assisting on a summer project . . . or the oh-so-sensitive emo boy down the hall? Will she even make it through college now that her parents have cut her off financially? And what do the cryptic one-word postcards from Marcus really mean?

With hilarious insight, the hyperobservant Jessica Darling struggles through her college years—and the summers in between—while maintaining her usual mix of wit, cynicism, and candor.

Glass Houses by Rachel Caine
Sophomore Switch by Abby McDonald
The Ivy series by Lauren Kunze

Can you think of any more? Let us know in the comments (and we'll compile a list)!


Marquita Hockaday said...

These all sound interesting- the college years are a time period that's not written about nearly enough. How awesome would Felicity have been as a novel or series?

Jen Daiker said...

I'm so bookmarking this page! Brilliant! I agree there aren't enough college based novels. I have found several tucked in with Women's Fiction and I think that they should really get the New Adult section open so that us twenty-year-old girls can get our hands on some books that are made for us!

I'm hosting a contest today! 10 novels up for grabs!

Pam Harris said...

Ooh, great recommendations! You're right--it's so difficult to find college-aged protagonist, but this time period always fascinates me the most. :)

Carrie said...

Thanks for talking about these books.
I like the Maggie Quinn girl vs evil books by Rosemary Clement-Moore. Two of them take place during Maggie's freshman year in college. While not all freshman will fight off a sorority of succubi they are still pretty fun.

Sarah Wylie said...

I'm hoping with the "New Adult" line that was started a while back that we'll start seeing more college-aged books. I had no idea We'll Always Have Summer was set in college; I loved the first book!

Emy Shin said...

Thank you for this list. I'll definitely check some of them out. College is such an interesting time of life -- much more so than high school, in my opinion -- and it's sad that there aren't a lot of college novels. I agree with Sarah that I wish the "New Adult" line will take.