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Books that Helped Me Escape During Finals Season

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.

We have now entered the long dreaded season of finals, and this is when we most need escapism. And what better way to escape reality (and/or avoid our responsibilities) than reading an amazing book? Films also have the capabilities to take us elsewhere, but books are what I like to call “three dimensional.” When we read, we are given the blueprint of a whole other world, and it is up to us to create it in our own minds. Therefore we get to escape to a whole other universe and live out the story in our very own heads. With this in mind, here are some of my top picks of books that are perfect for escapism:

Caraval by Stephanie Garber

This is a fantasy book that will reel you in from the start and never let you go. It has the perfect fusion of fantasy, romance (morally gray love interests included) and mystery. The gist of it is that the main character, Scarlet, had dreamed about attending the famous and magical game of Caraval her entire life. Caraval is like a traveling circus, except for the fact that it is actually a game that you can either participate in or watch. In order to attend, you must be invited by the Caraval master named Legend. After Scarlet gets an invitation and arrives at Caraval, her sister, Tella, goes missing- and the game includes searching for clues in order to find her. This book is captivating, enchanting, and absolutely addicting. I cannot recommend this book enough. Even if reading is difficult for you, this book is fast paced and is a great place to start. Along with the actual story, Garber’s writing is incredibly beautiful and the way that she can write a romance is addictive. If you love fantasy, mystery, and morally gray characters (who wear top hats), then it is time for you to start reading Caraval!

The Cruel Prince by Holly Black

This is yet another fantasy recommendation, but it revolves around the world of fae. The Cruel Prince follows the main character, Jude, as she navigates the fae world of Elfhame as a human girl. Of course being a human in Elfhame is hard as it is, but there is one person who makes it unbearable for Jude: Cardan Greenbriar… excuse me, Prince Cardan Greenbriar, who is prejudiced against humans (but of course has a soft spot for our main character). The witty banter, the knife-to-throat trope, the badass main character and the morally gray love interest just ties this book together into perfection. This is one of those books that you can just never get enough of- and even after the third and final book, you still want more. The slow-burn enemies to lovers trope was written so well that it nearly drove me to madness when I first read it. It is the best when two characters claim to hate each other but you can cut the sexual tension with a knife. If you love a good enemies to lovers fantasy novel and want to fall in love with Cardan Greenbriar, this is the book for you!

A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas

I’m sure that many of you have heard all about this book by now, but it is truly amazing if you want to escape your current world. The plot of this book is a Beauty and the Beast retelling that takes place in the fae world of Prythian. The story follows a human girl named Feyre who is forced to live in Prythian after killing a faerie disguised as a wolf. She discovers that her captor is not who she thought he was, and actually turns out to be a powerful faerie who once ruled her mortal lands. The world building is not completely complex, but enough to utterly immerse yourself in the novel. I ate up all of the books in the series so incredibly fast, and I would do absolutely anything to be able to read them for the first time again. This book sucked me in from the first chapter and has had a chokehold on me ever since. The enemies to lovers romance is next-level with Sarah J. Maas and you can just never get enough. But if you get through the first book and love the romance, then buckle up and get ready for the second book because you are in for a real treat!

The Unhoneymooners by Christina Lauren

Now that everything is cold and gray on campus, you may be wishing that you were someplace warm and tropical- well this book is your escape route! Our main character Olive takes her sister’s honeymoon after she gets food poisoning at her own wedding. However, the groom also gets food poisoning and offers the second honeymoon spot to his brother and best man, Ethan- who Olive despises. Despite this, both go on the trip with the intention to separate right when the plane lands, but of course this is not what happens (wink, wink). This is yet another book with witty banter and the illusion that the love interest doesn’t care about the main character (but of course he does) and I eat it up every time. The characters are hilarious and the dialogue is unmatched. And what makes this even better is that it mostly takes place in the exotic islands of Hawaii! The rom-com energy is through the roof and it is certainly going to make your heart melt along with making your standards get even more high! 

She/Her. CofC freshman. Feminist. Environmentalist. Mental health advocate.