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Books That Changed Our Lives: Favorite Books of College Students

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

Calling all bookworms! If you’re looking for a new read, here is a compilation of several amazing works hand-selected by college students that are sure to capture your interest, and maybe even your heart. 

“Performance Success: Performing Your Best Under Pressure” by Don Greene, Ph.D. – This informative novel is an amazing guide for musicians performing under pressure. It explains methods for how to manage fear and stress related to performing, as well as ways to increase your skill level and perform at the highest level. If you or someone close to you is an avid musician, give this book a read!

“Ways of Seeing” by John Berger – This text is made up of several essays and is based on a series of documentaries. It provides unique insight into how we as humans view art, as well as the societal differences between men and women. If you’re looking for a beautiful piece that might just change the way you think about art and gender, give this one a try!

“The Secret Life of Bees” by Sue Monk Kidd – This heavy coming-of-age story is about a girl named Lily who lives with her abusive father and longs for another life. When a series of events occur that lead Lily to find refuge with a family of Black beekeeping sisters who are tied to her mother’s past in South Carolina Lily learns the truth about her mother and builds lasting relationships with the people in her new home. This book is a work of fiction, although it does include some historical fiction as well, so for my history buffs, check this one out!

“The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck” by Mark Manson – This book is a non-fiction work about self-help and how to prioritize what aligns with your personal values. Even if you’re not much of a non-fiction reader, this short guide will change your perspective on life as a whole and might even motivate you to make some changes in your daily life!

“The Hunger Games” series by Suzanne Collins – This trilogy is one of my all-time favorites and has been for several years. It is set in Panem, a futuristic country in place of what was previously the U.S., in which there are twelve (previously thirteen) districts, where the less fortunate live and work, and a Capitol, where the rich reside. Each year, a Hunger Games is hosted as punishment for the revolt that led to the demolition of District Thirteen, with a male and female tribute being selected from each district to participate in a fight to the death. This story has so many underlying meanings about oppression and resilience, and I highly recommend giving it a read!

“Every Last Word” by Tamara Ireland Stone – This realistic-fiction story is about a girl named Sam who navigates her high school life living with Purely-Obsessive ObsessiveCompulsive Disorder (OCD). It will keep you constantly guessing, and the plot twists are sure to have you on the edge of your seat. This book is very special to me because it is the first (and so far, only) book I’ve read that depicts OCD as it really is, rather than downplaying it as a “quirk”. If you like books about mental health, definitely check this one out!

“All the Bright Places” by Jennifer Niven – This book has major mental health themes! It is about a boy named Theodore Finch and a girl named Violet Markey who are brought together by a school project, forcing them to embark on adventures across their home state of Indiana and ultimately bringing them closer together. Both are healing from their own wounds, and over time, being together helps them both heal. If you want a book that will leave you an emotional wreck, be sure to pick this one up!

“The Perks of Being a Wallflower” by Stephen Chbosky – This book. I cannot say enough about it. Actually, I have a line from it tattooed on my back, if that’s any indication as to how special it is to me. This book is about a high school boy named Charlie who meets two step-siblings, Sam and Patrick, and the trio becomes best friends. Sam and Patrick teach Charlie what it means to live, what it means to feel “infinite,” and it is the best coming-of-age book I’ve ever read. This one will also damage you emotionally, but in the best way possible. I cannot recommend it enough. 

Please be sure to check trigger warnings on these books if that is something you like to do, and happy reading!

Lauren Wafford

CU Boulder '26

Lauren is an freshman at CU majoring in English. She loves Harry Potter and her two dogs.