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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Tampa chapter.

We all know the routine: back-to-back classes, busy coffee stops, club meetings, and barely any downtime. What do you do in your free time? Maybe you are an extrovert, and it’s party time or just dinner with friends. Or maybe you are more like me, an introvert, and you don’t go to parties; you’ve had a long day of classes and finally have time to unwind and relax by your lonesome. So what can you do with that time? Sure, you can play some games or Facetime a friend, but what about unplugging to read a book? I know reading is kind of a cliche, but it’s actually a nice time filler. It’s nice holding a physical book and reading about some fictional adventure in real pages. An e-book is simply not the same thing! If you are not a fan of reading well, you chose the wrong article… Not really (you are clearly here for a book list). Believe me I am not an avid reader, and my “library” is limited. It takes me a hot minute to find a book that I am absolutely captivated by. Here are a few of those books in my little “library” that I think are really great time-filling reads.

You will see the cover of the book, the genre, where to find the book, and its price, as well as its blurb directly from the book and my thoughts about the book and why it has a place in my library. The sources are Barnes and Nobles Booksellers, The library on campus (The University of Tampa), Amazon, and a website called Thriftbooks. Thriftbooks is the one that is less known; it is kind of like a used books website. You can get books for super cheap and  affordable for college students) and the books are well taken care of. You can also get textbooks for a third of the price on this website. I recommend it always as a go-to for those trying to save money as well as those who have been on the search for a pre-loved book!

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  1. The Fault in our Stars by John Green (313 Pages)
    1. Genre: Young adult/Romance
    2. Where to find it:
      1. Thriftbooks.com Paperback: $4.79-$12.33/ Hardcover: $4.19-$16.39
      2. Barnes and Nobles Booksellers Paperback $13.49/Hardcover $17.99
      3. Mackdonaled-Kelce Library 1 copy, 2nd-floor Barcode: 31872078223955
      4. Amazon.com Paperback: $9.42

Book Blurb: “Despite the tumor-shrinking medical miracle that has bought her a few years, Hazel has never been anything but terminal, her final chapter inscribed upon diagnosis. But when a gorgeous plot twist named Augustus Waters suddenly appears at Cancer Kid Support Group, Hazel’s story is about to be completely rewritten.”

Reasoning: This book is actually a comfort book for me. I am also a huge nerd for anything John Green, so his entire collection of writings has its own place in my mini “library”. This is a love story that talks about the troubles of a girl with cancer who is also battling the beginning of a depressive disorder. I personally think it is an ironic book because my significant other had cancer, and it reminds me of our story. This is a comfort book for me as it is just a  fictional love story. It has no bigger worldly meaning; at least, John Green says it doesn’t. I could not find the direct quote, but it gives you curiosity to read another book possibly. It is a reminder that things may suck sometimes, but there is always something better coming to you.

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  1. Ruthless by Carolyn Lee Adams
    1. Genre: Mystery/young adult fiction
    2. Where to find it:
      1. Thriftbooks.com Paperback: $4.09-$10.49/Hardcover: $4.69-$4.79
      2. Amazon.com Paperback: $8.99
      3. Barnes and Nobles Booksellers Paperback: $10.99/Hardcover: $17.99

Book Blurb: “Ruth Carver has always competed like her life depends on it. Ambitious. Tough. Maybe even mean. It’s no wonder people call her Ruthless. When she wakes up with a concussion in the bed of a moving pickup truck, she realizes she has been entered into a contest she can’t afford to lose. At a remote, rotting cabin deep in the Blue Ridge Mountains, Ruth’s blindfold comes off and she comes face-to-face with her captor: A man who believes his mission is to punish bad girls like Ruth. A man who has done this six times before. The other girls were never heard from again, but Ruth won’t go down easy. She escapes into the wilderness, but her hunter is close at her heels. That’s when the real battle begins. That’s when Ruth must decide just how far she’ll go in order to survive.”

Reasoning: This book actually is not at all what you would think. Ruth is a competitive farm girl who is really good at, well, being ruthless when it comes to it. I was really surprised at the plot of the book, it is a thriller that really involves all of the senses; it doesn’t have a drawn-out start like a lot of other books. It gives some ideas, and then after you finish the book, it’ll be a totally different ending than you were expecting. Her kidnapper is a real creep, and it just adds to it; everything she has to do in this book is really wild, and none of it was expected at all. I really encourage people to read this thriller as it’s one of my personal favorites and will keep you on the edge of your seat, all while keeping you guessing as to what happens next.

  1. The Cellar by Natasha Preston (347 Pages)
    1. Genre: thriller/fiction
    2. Where to find it:
      1. Thriftbooks.com Paperback: $3.99-10.17
      2. Amazon.com Paperback: $8.11
      3. Barnes and Nobles Booksellers Paperback: $10.99

Book Blurb: “My stomach dropped as a tall, dark-haired man stepped into view. Had he been hiding between the trees?

“No. Sorry.” Gulping, I took a step back. “I’m not Lily.” 

He shook his head, a satisfied grin on his face. “No. You are Lily.”

“I’m Summer. You have the wrong person. “You utter freak!

1 could hear my pulse crashing in my ears. How stupid to give him my real name. He continued to stare at me, smiling. It made me feel sick.

“You are Lily,” he repeated.

Before I could blink, he threw his arms forward and grabbed me. I tried to shout, but he clasped his hand over my mouth, muffling my screams. My heart raced. I’m going to die.


with the man who took her and three other girls: Rose, Poppy, and Violet. His perfect, pure flowers. His family. But flowers can’t survive long out of the sun. and time is

running out..”
Reasoning: My sister introduced me to Natasha Preston; although The Cabin by Natasha Preston is actually my favorite, this particular storyline goes a little above and beyond. My heart will always be drawn to camping thrillers, but this book takes the cake. It shows just how strong young women can be when push comes to shove. It has a really well-done ending. It is not your typical teen gets trapped storyline either. The storyline in this book is totally new compared to all the other movies and books we see on TV and on shelves nowadays. The Cellar has really earned its place in my limited “library” because of the way it was written. I also recommend The Cabin and any books of her’s with a flower on the front. They portray a young woman as the protagonist and display a truly amazing story.

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  1. The Outsiders by S.E Hinton (180 Pages)
    1. Genre: Young adult fiction/ Drama
    2. Where to find it:
      1. Thriftbooks.com Paperback: $5.09-$11.40/Hardcover: $6.19-$16.26
      2. Amazon.com Paperback: $5.98
      3. Barnes and Nobles Booksellers Paperback: $12.99/Hardcover 415.16
      4. Macdonald-Kelce Library 1 copy, 2nd floor, Barcode: 31872077170197

Book Blurb: “Ponboy can count on his brothers. And on his friend. But not much else besides trouble with the socs, a vicious gang of rich kids whose idea of a good time is beating up “greasers” like Ponyboy. At least he knows what to expect-until the night someone takes it too far.”

Reasoning: All of you who rolled your eyes at this one, just hear me out!!! This is actually a really good book if you choose to read it. If you were forced to read it in class, I get the hatred of it; it tires out the literature and dumbs the story down a lot. I personally love this classic because it is a single day’s read; curl up on a cold day with some hot chocolate or tea, OR sit outside by the pool all day and give this book another read. Believe me, it will feel totally different after a second read. This was not added until later in high school when I did my second read-out in the sun of our front lawn at home. It read like a totally new story, and I was able to really get into the themes and coming-of-age trials in the books. Again, a full-second read will make this tired book so much better!

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  1. Everything Everything by Nicola Yoon
    1. Genre: Romance/Young adult fiction
    2. Where to get it:
      1. Thriftbooks.com Paperback: $3.99-$12.11/Hardcover: $4.19-$15.16
      2. Barnes and Nobles Booksellers Paperback: $13.99/Hardcover $18.99
      3. Amazon.com Paperback: $9.03

Book Blurb:” What if you couldn’t touch anything in the outside world? Never breathe in the fresh air, feel the sun warm your face . . . or kiss the boy next door? In Everything, Everything, Maddy is a girl who’s literally allergic to the outside world, and Olly is the boy who moves in next door . . . and becomes the greatest risk she’s ever taken. 

My disease is as rare as it is famous. Basically, I’m allergic to the world. I don’t leave my house have not left my house in seventeen years. The only people I ever see are my mom and my nurse, Carla. 

But then, one day, a moving truck arrives next door. I look out my window, and I see him. He’s tall, lean, and wearing an all—black T-shirt, black jeans, black sneakers, and a black knit cap that covers his hair completely. He catches me looking and stares at me. I stare right back. His name is Olly.

Maybe we can’t predict the future, but we can predict some things. For example, I am certainly going to fall in love with Olly. It’s almost certainly going to be a disaster.”

Reasoning: I love my sick people books, which is not great to say, but it’s evidential; however, for your sake, I only added two books about “sick” people, not three. This is really a story about a parent who can’t cope with a loss, and unfortunately, the daughter has to suffer until, you guessed it, she meets the boy. It’s always the guy (boys are better in books!) The guy is the final push the protagonist needs. This story earned its place because of how the characters in the story develop. How they grow and fight against what’s actually going on. I can relate to this a lot. (I have lived in some not-ideal situations, and it took me leaving to figure that out.) So this is definitely a must-read for those who want to relate to trauma or even self-healing.

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  1. (*Bonus*-What am I reading now?) Cujo by Stephen King (392 Pages)
    1. Genre: Horror Fiction
    2. Where to get it:
      1. Thriftbooks.com Paperback: $8.29-$15.19/Hardcover: $10.59-$11.59
      2. Amazon.com Paperback: $12.62
      3. Barnes and Nobles Booksellers Paperback: $16.98
      4. Macdonald-Kelce Library 1 copy, 2nd floor, barcode: 31872076320386

Book Blurb:” Cujo used to be a big friendly dog, loveable and loyal to his trinity (THE MAN, THE WOMAN and THE BOY) and everyone around him, and always did his best not to be a BAD DOG. But that all ends on the day this nearly two-hundred-pound Saint Bernard makes the mistake of chasing a rabbit into a hidden underground cave, setting off a tragic chain of events. Now Cujo is no longer himself as he is slowly overcome by a growing sickness, one that consumes his mind even as his once affable thoughts turn uncontrollably and inexorably to hatred and murder. Cujo is about to become the center of a horrifying vortex that will inescapably draw in everyone around him-a relentless reign of terror, fury, and madness from which no one in castle rock will truly be safe…”

Reasoning: Down to the bonus. I live in MA, and we are home to the Salem Witch Trials in 1692. About an hour or so away is Maine, the state where horror writer Stephen King took residency for most of his continued life. If you are from New England, you are a horror fanatic; no question about it. There is simply so much rich (and spooky) history embedded in every step. This gem has earned its place not just because of the author but the storyline. I am a dog lover, and I love a good, spooky story about dogs gone wild. (Better than any girls going wild, in my opinion.) Granted, I have plenty of pages ahead of me, but it is off to a very enticing start, which is my favorite part of King’s books; he jumps right into it!

Now that you have read my recommendations, how many do you think will end up on your shelves? I personally think taking time to yourself and reading a book is the best way to settle after a busy day of classes and, well, absolute college chaos. I hope my list helps you improve your self-care routine!

Haley Miller is a proud member of the Her Campus Tampa chapter. Her main focus is physical well-being, mental health, and all things pivitol to surving the independent world. Outside of Her Campus, Haley is a second year transfer student at The University of Tampa. She is working towards a bachelors degree in the science of psychology, with a minor in writing. Her passion for psychology comes from her mental health advocacy and personal experiences which she shares here to help others. In her freetime Haley spends as much time as she can learning about canine and other animal behaviours. Otherwise she fills her time spinning flags fot the UT colorguard. In her downtime she loves to cook for other people and play video games with friends. When she isnt playing with puppies or cooking she is watching re-runs of old Disney shows and everyone’s favorite, Friends.