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  • Olivia Swindler

Back to School Books


Back to school season is here! In the words of my favorite movie, fall "makes me wanna buy school supplies. I would send you a bouquet of newly sharpened pencils if I knew your name and address." But since there seems to be no way to send someone a bouquet of pencils, here are some fall books to help you get your back-to-school season fix!


The Idiot

This literary fiction takes place between Harvard and Hungary. It is dense but feels like fall. Following Selin's freshman year, this book is perfect if you want to reminisce on the hope, promise, and disappointment of being a first-year college student. This book is really unique, and the characters stick with you.


Trust Exercise

Another literary fiction campus novel. Though this one is about a third of the length of The Idiot it felt equally as dense. This book takes place at a performing arts school in the American suburbs. The book takes place in three parts and you will either love or loathe the writing style.


All the Bright Places

This book is heartbreaking. If you are looking for a YA campus novel that will break your heart, this is the one. This book carries a lot of depth and covers a lot of heavy topics that are so relevant to high schoolers. Be warned, this book left me very teary on the couch.


To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before

Even if you have already seen the movie, this book is worth reading. It is just a wonderfully light, teenage angst-filled book. I read and really enjoyed the whole series. If you are having a bad day and just need a YA book that is just light and lovely, this is the one.


A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder

There are so many YA campus novels, but I tried to limit myself on this list. I could not put this book down. Set in England (so if you are wanting a peek at another country’s high school experience) this book is really charming. I don’t know if I loved it so much because I could relate to the nerdy-ness of the main character or if it was just refreshingly different, but I loved this book!


Beartown

This is one of my five favorite books of all time. There are few things that say fall to me like sports. This book covers a wide range of themes and is deeply moving and heartbreaking all at once. If you have not read this book yet, I cannot recommend it enough.


Educated

Though this book follows much more of Tara Westover’s life than just her education, it is a great reminder of the importance of education, and how our education and family or origin shape who we are. If you have not read this memoir yet, I highly recommend it. Read with tissues.


The Boys in the Boat

I put off reading this book for a while simply because it took place at my rival university, but I highly recommend this book. If you want a biographical and historical campus novel this book is incredible. I am a huge sports fan, and this book does a beautiful job highlighting the importance and history of sports on a college campus.


The Maidens

This thriller feels like fall. It takes place at Cambridge University and weaves in aspects of Greek mythology. I know very little about Greek mythology, but reading this book brought back memories of high school English class. I found this book so hard to put down. I listened to this on audio, and I loved it.


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