Here's a list of some books, mostly NA, that you should definitely read before the start of your freshman year of college, as they provide a sampling of what you might experience!
1. You Were Here by Cori McCarthy
"You Were Here" tells a story of a group of teenagers in their post-high school summer, as they deal with grief, redemption and friendship. It's a lovely story of saying goodbye to the living and the dead, and mending relationships before leaving for college. Told in alternating chapters of 1st person, 3rd person, comic strips and art doodles, "You Were Here" is definitely an innovative and attention-grabbing novel.
2. What We Left Behind by Robin Talley
"What We Left Behind" is a LGBTQ+ novel that focuses on two girls who have to rediscover themselves once separated at two different colleges. Featuring a diverse cast of characters, both sexually and racially, "What We Left Behind" really strives to differentiate itself from other New Adult novels that usually focus on white, heterosexual relationships. Various gender and sexual orientations are explained and explored as one of the characters struggles to define herself. In addition to the LGBTQ+ aspect, there's also the concept of long distance relationships and the struggles that come along with it. It's a very interesting read, even for those who don't identify as LGBTQ+.
3. Beautiful Disaster and Walking Disaster by Jamie McGuire
"Beautiful Disaster" and "Walking Disaster" both tell the same story: that of Abby and Travis, two vastly different college students who meet and fall into a disastrous cycle of love and hate. Beautiful Disaster is from Abby's point of view, and Walking Disaster is from Travis'. Reading both novels definitely provides a great look into each character's mind and perspective of events. If you fall in love with these books, be sure to check out the companion series about Travis' brothers!
4. Sticky Fingers by Niki Burnham
Of all of the books on this list, "Sticky Fingers" is possibly the most important read. Although it takes place in high school, it focuses on an occurrence that could happen anywhere and anytime: date rape. With all of the potential parties and events that you might attend in college, knowing what could happen is very important. Hopefully nothing like this will ever happen to you, but it's definitely an eye-opener!
5. Scratch by Rhonda Helms
For a relatively short novel, "Scratch" sure does pack a punch! It tells a tale of trauma and acceptance in the context of a young female DJ scarred both physically and mentally. It really shows how a strong support network and opening up to people can have a big impact on one's emotional state. Future college students will find this to be an uplifting yet dark romance, with sweet undertones.
6. Rikki by Abigail Strom
"Rikki" is the first novel of the Hart University series, which tells the stories of college students and their relationships. Rikki tells the classic story of lifelong rivals falling in love, with all of the trials and tribulations in-between. It really shows the dynamics of love, pain and friendship in a realistic, believable way, showing that a love-hate relationship really can turn into true love.
7. We Own the Night by Ashley Poston
"We Own The Night" tells the story of a girl who runs a secret radio show at night, while dealing with bullies and caring for her grandmother by day. Featuring relatable concepts such as unrequited love, making important life decisions and saying goodbye to friends and loved ones, this novel is definitely something you should pick up!
These are just some of the many New Adult books that might help you transition and prepare for college life. You can find other great books like these on sites like Goodreads, or by asking a librarian for a suggestion! Happy reading!
Lead Image Credit: Moyan Brenn via Flickr Creative Commons