I absolutely loved my time in college and now I'm a professor so I really enjoy reading books that depict college life. Here are three books that I've read recently that are set in college:
Author: Abby McDonald
Publisher: Candlewick Press, 304 pages
Publication Date: March 10, 2009
Take an administrative snafu, a bad breakup, and what shall heretofore be known as "The Hot-Tub Incident," and you’ve got two unprepared sophomores on a semester abroad. For American party girl Tasha, an escape to Oxford may be a chance to ditch her fame as a tabloid temptress, but wading Uggs-deep in feminist theory is not her idea of a break. Meanwhile, the British half of the exchange, studious Emily, nurses an aching heart amid the bikinis and beer pong of U.C. Santa Barbara. Soon desperation has the girls texting each other tips — on fitting in, finding love, and figuring out who they really are. With an anthropologist’s eye for detail and a true ear for teen-speak, exciting new novelist Abby McDonald has crafted a funny, fast-paced, poignant look at survival, sisterhood, and the surprising ways we discover our true selves.
Cute fast read. It's a story about figuring out who you are, who you want to be, how to fit in, friendship, feminism, and romance. There's party girl Tasha who is more serious than people give her credit for. And then there's serious Emily, who is starting to realize that having everything planned out may not be the best way to live and that she needs to loosen up a bit. The author does a great job of creating two unique characters and you feel like you get to know them since each chapter alternates between Emily and Tasha's POV. Even though the girls are both sophomores, since they have switched schools there's still that adjustment period and both of them trying to figure it all out. I enjoyed reading about the girls trying to fit in (definitely a culture shock), and I also liked both romantic interests. Emily and Ryan...initial dislike turning into attraction...love that! One of the guys acts in a pretty horrible way at one point which I thought was a bit inconsistent for his character, but I admired the way the girl handled it and I admire the author for having it end that way for that particular couple (I know this is a bit vague but I don't want to give anything away). There's character development for both Tasha and Emily, a growing friendship between them that I enjoyed, and both girls were believable and relatable. Fun book!
Author: Rainbow Rowell
Publisher: St. Martins Press, 433 pages
Publication Date: September 10, 2013
Cath is a Simon Snow fan.
Okay, the whole world is a Simon Snow fan . . .
But for Cath, being a fan is her life — and she’s really good at it. She and her twin sister, Wren, ensconced themselves in the Simon Snow series when they were just kids; it’s what got them through their mother leaving.
Reading. Rereading. Hanging out in Simon Snow forums, writing Simon Snow fan fiction, dressing up like the characters for every movie premiere.
Cath’s sister has mostly grown away from fandom, but Cath can’t let go. She doesn’t want to.
Now that they’re going to college, Wren has told Cath she doesn’t want to be roommates. Cath is on her own, completely outside of her comfort zone. She’s got a surly roommate with a charming, always-around boyfriend, a fiction-writing professor who thinks fan fiction is the end of the civilized world, a handsome classmate who only wants to talk about words . . . And she can’t stop worrying about her dad, who’s loving and fragile and has never really been alone.
For Cath, the question is: Can she do this?
Can she make it without Wren holding her hand? Is she ready to start living her own life? Writing her own stories?
And does she even want to move on if it means leaving Simon Snow behind?
I absolutely loved this book. Rainbow Rowell is a fantastic writer. Great dialogue, interesting characters, and the book just made me smile. College can be a difficult time for some students, especially the beginning, and the author definitely captured some realistic moments of college life in this book. Not knowing where to go, not feeling that comfortable with dorm life, your roommate, etc.
Cath was a unique character (maybe a bit too unique), and I did like her, although she frustrated me a lot of the time (Just go to the dining hall already!) And the fact that she was in college but really had no desire to meet new people and didn't even seem that interested in her classes. All she wanted to do was write fan fiction. So, a little different.
Levi...oh Levi. I loved him, then I was quite mad at him, then I was hopeful again. He was what Cath needed. I could just picture him smiling all the time. Wren was such a great character, and Reagan as well, I sort of wish we had some chapters from their POVs. My only complaint is that the MC (and Wren) were portrayed as such extremes. If you don't drink or party, you're practically a shut in and if you do drink and party, you're basically an alcoholic. There is a happy medium to college life that's barely portrayed (although you get the sense that Levi, Reagan, and Jandro fall into that category).
Still, a fabulous book that I wholeheartedly recommend.
The Ivy (The Ivy #1)
Authors: Lauren Kunze and Rina Onur
Publisher: Greenwillow Books, 312 pages
Publication Date: August 31, 2010
Congratulations! You have been admitted to the most prestigious university in the world. Now what are you going to do?
Callie Andrews may not have money or connections or the right clothes, and she may have way too many complications in her love life, what with
the guy she loves to hate ...
the guy she'd love to forget ...
the guy she'd love to love ...
the guy she really should love ...
all vying for her attention.
But she has three fantastic roommates (best friends or her worst nightmare?) and a wholesome California-girl reputation (oops) and brains and beauty and big, big dreams.
Will it be enough to help her survive freshman year at Harvard?
I really enjoyed this book. The authors went to Harvard and it shows. They even include real professors (Professor Sandel's Justice class is actually pretty famous). I loved the different characters and thought the authors did an excellent job describing them in such a way that I could picture them. None of them are perfect, they are all flawed in their different ways. Callie makes some really poor decisions, let me tell you. They make mistakes as they navigate their way through their first year of college (actually the book ends before Thanksgiving). They do normal college things (go to classes, get drunk, study, hang out, hook up, join different clubs, try and join Harvard Final Clubs--sort of like sororities and fraternities) and I appreciated what a realistic portrayal of college life this book gives. The dialogue is so natural and evokes the way people talk in real life while at the same time revealing the personalities of the different characters. I had no idea this was a series so be warned that the book ends in a cliffhanger (which is a bit unusual for a contemporary YA). I will definitely be reading the rest of the series. A highly recommended read.
Posted by: Pam