Spring is in the air – or at least we’re all pretending it is – and that means, for you college-bound seniors, the clock is ticking down to college. Whether you made your decision months ago or are still weighing the options, I wanted to highlight a few books set in college, or right before. These books will either help you feel collegiate and academic while you procrastinate on your decision, or get you psyched about where you already know you’ll be going in the fall.
Fangirl, by Rainbow Rowell – Disclaimer: I am currently obsessed with this book. To the point where I have actually dreamed about it and am considering reading it several times in a row to get it out of my system. But I will at least try to describe it in a way that is not scarily enthusiastic.
Cath and her twin sister Wren have always done everything together. Always, that is, until college. Now instead of rooming with Cath and helping her write her epic fanfiction based on the popular Simon Snow novels, Wren has decided she wants to live with another roommate in another dorm and abandon Simon Snow for more normal college pursuits. So Cath starts college alone, anxious, and hurt. She hides in her room writing fanfiction and living off of protein bars for the first two weeks of college, and even when she begins to branch out a little, it is really hard for her. Whether you’re wondering what “fanfiction” is or you’ve been writing it since you were three, whether you are a Wren looking to branch out or a Cath with no desire to leave your comfortable routine, you can almost certainly find something to sympathize with in Cath’s struggle to find herself and figure out what kind of adult she wants to be.
Roomies by Sara Zarr and Tara Altebrando – East Coast Elizabeth and West Coast Lauren begin exchanging e-mails when they find out they will be rooming together when they start college in the fall. Throughout the course of the summer, their e-mails fly thick and fast. Elizabeth and Lauren begin to develop a friendship before even meeting, as the summer leads to surprises and worries for both of them. Roomies shows how just one small thing – an e-mail to a future roommate – can change the course of a summer, or even the course of a life. The e-mail exchange format and the distinct voices of each girl make Roomies a unique read, and a must for anyone whose thoughts are traveling to this fall’s new roommates.
The Moon and More by Sarah Dessen – Emaline is planning on enjoying the summer before she starts college in her hometown of Colby, and in the company of her boyfriend of several years, Luke. But when an artistic newcomer shows up in Colby, Emaline is drawn to him immediately. Theo represents the academically elite world that Emaline could enter by attending an Ivy League school. But she also still loves Luke, and Colby, and the world she has grown up with. Emaline wrestles with tough choices about her future while at the same time trying to enjoy her last summer before moving into whatever future she chooses. Sarah Dessen fans will of course love The Moon and More, but it will also be a great read for anyone still questioning their college decision or wondering how they will transition into a new life.
The Final Four by Paul Volponi – For those of you more excited about college sports than roommates or academics, The Final Four is for you. Set at the end of March Madness, this book focuses on four players on the last four teams in the competition. Although they each have different reasons for wanting to win, Malcolm, Roko, Crispin, and M.J. are all desperate to leave the tournament with the championship. Readers will get to know each character’s history and personality as the moment of decision approaches, and find themselves rooting for their favorite or mourning his loss. The Final Four will appeal to not only sports fans, but to most fans of realistic fiction and stories with multiple perspectives.