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5 Stress Free Novels to Read During Prelim Season

As we’re all locking ourselves away in libraries to study for prelims and silently mourning the speedy departure of last week’s unrealistically nice weather, sometimes we need to take a break. Foreign concept, I know, but in between studying for Thursday’s test, don’t feel guilty for taking a few moments for a breather. Studies have shown that taking short breaks in between intervals of studying helps your concentration, not to mention your sanity.

For that reason, I’ve compiled a list of some books I think would be a perfect fit for this time of year. That’s right, reading for fun and not for class. These books are relatively stress-free and while they do leave you thinking, for the most part they’ll bring your over-exhausted brain to different worlds, ones that are engaging and (best of all) exam-free.


1. I’ll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson

This is a super fun, yet heartbreaking, contemporary novel about artsy twins Noah and Jude. We get to see these characters at different points in their teenage years and watch as the mystery of their falling-out unfurls. It’s written in the most beautiful way and will completely captivate you.


2. Caraval by Stephanie Garber

What’s more entertaining than a dark circus setting? This brand new high fantasy novel will bring you right into the action of the enigmatic Caraval, run by the infamous Legend. This is the story of the bond of two sisters and the magic of performance.


3. Highly Illogical Behavior by John Corey Whaley

This lovely contemporary novel follows Solomon, who suffers from extreme agoraphobia, the fear of unfamiliar places and situations. Sol hasn’t left his house in three years. When his neighbor Lisa becomes determined to “fix” him, a story of friendship, heartbreak, and discovery emerges. Check out this video to see the author describe his book in under 30 seconds.

4. Heartless by Marissa Meyer

Perfect for childhood fans of the wonder and whimsy of Alice in Wonderland, this fantasy novel is a retelling of the infamous Queen of Heart’s backstory. Seamlessly combining magic, romance, and action, this story will draw you in and take your mind off anything relating to reality.


5. Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon

You might have seen the gorgeous trailer for this upcoming movie making its rounds in the internet. This charming story of a girl with a mysterious illness making her allergic to everything (everything) and the boy next door is actually a book! I definitely recommend reading it before you see the movie (coming to theaters May 19, 2017) as it is so lovely and makes your heart hum with feelings. Also, it’s super quick to read as it’s formatted like the main character’s journal entries, short and sweet, with doodles scattered throughout as well. You can find a link to the movie trailer here if you haven’t seen it yet, but fair warning, the trailer does give away a good portion of the book’s plot, so watch at your own risk.

Happy reading!  


Kelly Stone

Cornell '20

Kelly is a Senior Communication major at Cornell University with minors in Creative Writing and Information Science. She loves reading, writing, fashion, and her dogs.
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