Instead of turning to Netflix when you have free time, see if you can spend some downtime reading a book. To make your search easier, here are 10 young adult books that you should aim to read before the end of your freshman year, listed in no particular order.
Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell
Main character Cath Avery is a freshman at University of Nebraska, and while she is shy and suffers from anxiety in real life, she is a popular fanfiction writer online. Cath’s twin, Wren, attends the same school, and their relationship is tested, especially when they get unexpected news concerning their long-absent mother. This book is a must-read during freshman year, especially for people who suffer from anxiety and depression. Reading this book made me realize that no matter how alone I may feel, there are other people in the same boat. Fangirl is a stand-alone novel. Get it here for $13.16.
Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare
This series follows Tessa Gray, a teenager from New York who travels to London in 1878 to live with her brother after her aunt dies unexpectedly. From the moment she steps off the boat, Tessa is immersed in a world that she previously had no knowledge of, and she discovers that no one is who they seem to be, including herself. This book is a must-read for history nerds and people who like a fast-paced read; Cassandra Clare has an amazing ability to weave a multi-facet story. Clockwork Angel is the first book in the Infernal Devices trilogy. Get it here for $9.79.
Confessions of a Murder Suspect by James Patterson and Maxine Paetro
Main character and amateur detective Tandy Angel’s rich entrepreneur parents die under mysterious circumstances in their bed one night, and Tandy and her brothers become the prime suspects in their murder. As the police work to solve the case, Tandy discovers deadly family secrets. This book is a must-read because Tandy is a well-crafted main character, and Patterson, an established adult murder mystery writer, seamlessly crosses over into the young adult genre in these books. Confessions of a Murder Suspect is the first installment in a four-book series. Get it here for $6.29.
Looking For Alaska by John Green
Main character Miles leaves his home in Florida to attend a boarding school in Alabama, where he makes friends, including the intriguing but troubled Alaska. Miles and his friends have many adventures throughout the year, but when tragedy strikes, Miles is left to pick up the pieces. This book is a must-read because it effortlessly deals with the issue of the meaning of life while addressing universal teenage problems. Looking For Alaska is Green’s debut novel and, in my opinion, his best work, but you can be the judge. Get it here for $7.99.
The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey
Aliens have attacked Earth in a series of waves, effectively knocking human civilization back to the Stone Age. Main character Cassie Sullivan aims to save her 5-year old brother from a training camp run by the aliens (referred to as “The Others”). This book is a must-read because it takes a realistic approach in portraying a future apocalypse on the Earth, and it analyzes human nature itself. The 5th Wave is the first book in a trilogy; the third and final book was released in May 2016. And it was made into a movie! Get it here for $8.78.
Slide by Jill Hathaway
People believe that main character Sylvia Bell has narcolepsy, but she actually has the ability to slide into another person’s body and see through their eyes. One night, she slips into a killer’s body immediately after he/she has committed a murder. The police conclude that the victim committed suicide, but Sylvia knows otherwise. This book is a must-read thriller that also explores familial relationships. There are two books; the first is called Slide, and the second is called Impostor. Get it here for under $6.
Vanishing Girls by Lauren Oliver
Twins Nick and Dara were involved in a car crash. Several months later, their already fragile-relationship becomes non-existent as they attempt to put their lives back together. At the same time, nine-year-old Madeline Snow goes missing, and the residents of the town scramble to find her. This book is a must-read because at first glance it appears to be a mystery novel, but as the plot thickens it expands to explore other themes such as identity and grief. Vanishing Girls is a stand-alone novel. Get it for $9.97.
Everything That Makes You by Moriah McStay
Fiona Doyle had an accident when she was 6 years old, and half of her face is burned and disfigured. Fi Doyle is the same girl as Fiona, but she lives in an alternate universe where she did not have the accident, and her life is completely different as a result. This book is a must-read because it follows the two main characters during three of the most critical years in a person’s life (junior year in high school to freshman year in college), and it shows how one event can completely change someone. Get it for $7.55.
Endgame: The Calling by James Frey and Nils Johnson-Shelton
The gods have begun Endgame, and Earth will be decimated at its conclusion. But there is still hope because 12 teenagers descended from the ancient lines of humankind will fight each other to win a prize: the last player standing guarantees the survival of their line. This book is a must-read because it is a fast-paced thriller that evaluates the human condition. Endgame: The Calling is the first book in a trilogy. Get it here for under $7.
Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs
Main character Jacob follows clues left by his recently deceased grandfather to an abandoned orphanage in Wales. There, he discovers that the former inhabitants of the orphanage are still alive, and Jacob has powers that he never knew he had. This book is a must-read because Riggs tells the story in a unique format, frequently using photographs to enrich the plot. Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children is the first book in a trilogy. Get it here for $9.11.