The fairly new genre “New Adult” has been bridging the gap between “Young Adult” and “Adult” for romance novels. We’ve selected ten great romance reads when you’re ready to take a break from equally wonderful Young Adult novels. From One Day, which begins and ends in college, to Just One Day, following a girl and her European adventure the summer between high school and college, there’s something for everyone looking for a little college romance.
Beautiful Disaster by Jamie McGraw
This novel follows Abby Abernathy as she enters her freshman year of college. Abby seems like a typical freshman, a little reserved, and just trying to get away from her past—particularly a family she’s not proud of. When she meets Travis Maddox, resident underground fighting champ, she finds him to be a nuisance and doesn’t understand his fascination with her. Things, of course, take a turn as she discovers what she never wanted is what she needed all along. This book has a great flow to it, with dynamic characters like Abby’s best friend, America, and Travis’ best friend, Shepley—who (shockingly!) are also together. Though slightly predictable you will definitely root for these characters.
Take What You Want by Jeanette Gray
Jumping from freshman to college year, this story follows Ellen Price and her determination to get into medical school. When her friends leave for vacation over spring break, Ellen decides to become the carefree woman she has always wanted to be—starting with picking up the hot guy at the bar. What she doesn’t realize is that he isn’t a stranger at all—but in her pre-med classes. This story is about more than romance. It really dives into the discussion about what the characters truly want to do with their lives—a topic very familiar to those wrapping up their college careers or out in the real-world for the first time.
One Day by David Nicholls
Even though this book only takes place in college for two chapters, we still consider it a great college romance read because the characters meet on graduation night at Edinburgh College in 1988. For the next twenty years, the book meets up with Dexter and Emma on July 15 (St. Swithin’s Day). Although they start as just friends, their relationship continue to grow—sometimes together, sometimes apart. Through different relationships, family issues, career ups and downs, Emma and Dexter’s story is a unique look at how the choices we make affect our future. The way Nicholls tells their story is very impressive, and definitely a must-read.
Just One Day by Gayle Foreman
Don’t be confused by the similar title to our previous pick! This novel follows Allyson Healey’s post-high school trip through Europe. On the last day of the snooze-fest, she meets the free-spirited Wilhelm, an actor who convinces her to go to Paris with him. This 24 hour whirlwind romance will have you reminiscing about your first time abroad…or perhaps one that hasn’t happened yet…
A Little Something Different by Sandy Hall
This impressive new novel is told from the viewpoints of fourteen different people who all have the opinion that Lea and Gabe should be together. From their creative writing teacher to the baristas at Starbucks, this creative book will keep you interested. Lea and Gabe like all the same things, but of course, this being college and all, something is keeping them apart. Be it the fact that she is reserved, or that he has issues, it just doesn’t look like it’s going to work out. However, the fourteen storytellers might have a different ending in mind.
Forever in Blue: The Fourth Summer of the Sisterhood by Ann Brashares
Even though this is a book about friendship, we swear it deals with college relationships too! The fourth novel in The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants series, Forever in Blue follows four friends Lena, Tibby, Carmen, and Bridget as they spend a summer in college. Though in different places, as in most Sisterhood novels, their stories intersect as Lena spends the summer at RISD painting, Tibby stays at NYU, Carmen attends an acting camp, and Bridget goes to Turkey on an archeological dig. While mostly about friendship, all of the girls also have romantic interests and turn to their friends to help figure everything out.
Anywhere With You by Kaylee Ryan
This novel revolves around Allison Hagan’s senior year of college. Her parents died in a car crash when she was ten, and she has been living with her grandmother ever since. When she goes to college, she chooses the same one as her best friend Aiden. When she meets Aiden’s friend and fellow football player, Liam, things change. Liam suddenly can’t think of anything but her, but Allison wants a stable relationship and family she never had. This book, while a pretty stereotypical read, does fulfill it well. You’ll be wanting to read the rest of this series too!
One Tiny Lie by K.A. Tucker
Another novel involving the main character’s parent’s death, One Tiny Lie follows Livie Cleary as she enters her freshman year at Princeton. Her goals? Set herself up for medical school with excellent grades, meet someone respectable she can marry someday, and fulfill her father’s last wish to “make him proud”. However, when her adventurous roommate introduces her to parties she can’t say no to, and Ashton, the captain of the men’s rowing team—things go a bit off course. This novel is definitely one to check out for anyone who’s ever been distracted by love.
Dearest Clementine by Lex Martin
After a having a hard time with love, Clementine goes to college with one rule: no dating. However, when she accidentally signs up for a romance writing class, she finds inspiration in her RA, Gavin. Although it seems like a typical college romance, surrounding their relationship is the mystery of a missing Boston University student—with Clementine becoming a possible target. This book is about learning to open your heart again and trust others, a trait we definitely learn in college.
The Year We Fell Down by Sarina Bowen
This is the first novel in the series The Ivy Years. Corey and Hartley, two college hockey hopefuls, meet in the dorms after both injuring themselves. Over mutual disappointment, their friendship blooms, and turns into something more. The problem? Hartley has a girlfriend and Corey considers Hartley to be way out of her league. This book speaks to many college students who have had to deal with first loves and the unwillingness of someone to love you back. After you finish this one be sure to check-out the other books in this series!