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10 Must-Read Books From College Students To Add To Your TBR

Let’s be real: Between classes and homework, college barely allows us enough time to read. My StoryGraph account always goes on hiatus whenever a new semester starts. Most of the reading I tend to do when I’m in school is academic, and while there may be some hidden gems in the syllabus, none of those books are necessarily on my TBR. 

Starting a new school or trying to manage the stress of a semester can feel pretty overwhelming. Though it may seem daunting to try to sneak some reading time into your busy schedule, it isn’t impossible. As a matter of fact, if you’re having trouble adapting to college life, books can be your guide. Reading poses a lot of benefits, from helping you escape the everyday pressures you face to offering advice on classes, relationships, and more. Her Campus asked seven college students what books have helped them navigate school, or what titles have made an impact on them throughout their academic career. I also sprinkled in some of my recommendations — I couldn’t resist. 

The Defining Decade by Meg Jay

Sammi Bray, a sophomore at Trinity College, kicks off the reading list with a self-help piece. The Defining Decade: Why Your Twenties Matter teaches its readers how to make the most of their early adulthood. Enjoy the freedom that your 20s brings — it won’t last forever.

Twisted series by Ana Huang

Brooklyn Frederes, a senior at the University of Iowa, recommends the Twisted series for all college students. Each of the four books is steamy, suspenseful, and the perfect way to decompress after a long lecture. Twisted has classic romance tropes, like grumpy x sunshine and brother’s best friend, if that convinces you to pick up the books.

If We Were Villains by M.L. Rio

Who doesn’t love a good ol’ dark academia book? I was going to recommend Donna Tartt’s A Secret History, but I thought that was a given. If We Were Villains has a very similar vibe to it, where instead of focusing on classics-students-turned-cult-members, it features a cast of Shakespeare students who get involved in the mysterious death of their classmate. As terrifying as the events in this book are, it’s sort of fun to imagine you’re studying drama alongside the characters.

The Silence of the Girls by Pat Barker

According to Paige Phillips, a junior at Trinity College, you need to read Pat Barker’s The Silence of the Girls. The first installment of a soon-to-be trilogy, The Silence of the Girls is a new iteration of Homer’s Iliad told from the often-overlooked perspectives of the women in it. If you loved Madeline Miller’s Circe, you’ll love this!

Queenie by Candice Carty-Williams

Feeling stuck at a crossroads in your life? College will do that to you. Follow Queenie, the titular protagonist of Carty-Williams’s debut novel, as she grapples with similar matters of identity, independence, and what she wants to do with her life.

Make it Stick: The Science of Successful Learning by Henry L. Roediger III, Mark A. McDaniel, and Peter C Brown

Hannah Mullaney, a sophomore at Trinity College, swears by this educational title. Make it Stick advocates the benefits of sticking to a routine for studying, as well as explores other facets of cognitive psychology and their relation to learning. This book promises to make learning and remembrance easier for its reader, which would definitely come in handy during midterms season.

Outlawed by Anna North

Alicia Casey, a senior from California State University, suggests checking out Outlawed By Anna North. According to Casey, “It’s not what you’d expect from a Western narrative, and that’s why I love everything about it. From its empowering characters to its discussion of important concepts related to those who identify as women, it will be a read that you can’t put down.” Casey goes on to add, “Mark my words on this one, this needs to be on your TBR if it isn’t already.” BRB, adding it now.

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid

Loving the Amazon Prime adaptation of Daisy Jones & The Six? If you are, Anastasia Hanifin, a senior at Trinity College, recommends giving Taylor Jenkins Reid’s other bestseller a shot. Full of glitz, glamor, love, and tears (lots of tears), The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo tells the success story of Hollywood star Evelyn Hugo and how she rose to fame.

Bridgerton series by Julia Quinn

Bridgerton needs no introduction. As you wait for the prequel of the popular Netflix series to drop, consider picking up the books. Libby Perler, a senior at Trinity College, seems to think that Bridgerton is just as good in print as it is on-screen.

The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

The Little Prince has been a favorite of mine since I was a kid. As graduation quickly approaches, I feel myself edging closer and closer to the adult world. But just because I’m getting older, it doesn’t mean I have to grow up. This book is a very sweet reminder of that, and it’s surprisingly philosophical.

Jill Schuck

Trinity '23

Jill Schuck is currently a senior at Trinity College in Hartford, CT. There, she majors in creative writing and minors in rhetoric and media studies, with hopes of working in publishing. Aside from reading and writing, Jill enjoys traveling, practicing self-care, and spending too much money on matcha.