5 Books Set in College for the Class of 2022

Congratulations, Class of 2022! Over the summer, check out these 5 books set in college to help you get ready for your next chapter.

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It’s June, and that means the Class of 2022 has either graduated already or will pretty soon. For a lot of people, that means heading to college in the fall, and it can be hard to know what to expect. Bookstr is here to help! Not all these books are strictly about college life, and some aren’t even set fully within in our world, but these stories will definitely help you feel a bit more prepared. Here are five great books set in college for you to read this summer!

1. The Idiot by Elif Batuman

Books set in college, #1: The Idiot by Elif Batuman

The Idiot follows Harvard freshman Selin, the daughter of Turkish immigrant parents, as she tries to navigate her first year at college. She makes new friends, starts her degree in linguistics, and develops feelings for an older student named Ivan. After the year ends, her adventure over the summer helps Selin figure out who she is and have amazing new experiences, including her first love. This book was a Pulitzer Prize finalist in 2018, which is no surprise: it deals with growing up and self-discovery in a way that makes it both fun to read and very relatable.

2. Freshmen by Tom Ellen and Lucy Ivison

'Freshmen' by Tom Ellen

This book also deals with the first year of college with a romance, but it does so with a backdrop of some serious topics too. Phoebe goes to the same college as her high school crush, Luke, where they start spending more time together and eventually start a relationship. But soon, a Wall of Shame exposing girls’ compromising pictures run by Luke’s soccer team starts to cause problems. Freshmen deals with some of the issues facing college students today around dating and consent, while still managing to be a funny, romantic story on top of it all.

3. Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

'Fangirl' by Rainbow Rowell

This one is for the nerds. Fangirl follows Cath Avery, a shy creative writing major who isn’t really interested in making friends. Instead, she spends a lot of her first year at school finishing Carry On, Simon, a popular fan fiction based on the fictional Simon Snow fantasy series (author Rainbow Rowell has also since written some Simon Snow fiction of her own). Cath tries to juggle her anonymous internet fame with her classes, her family problems, and her newfound love life, and her fanfic obsessive status. I think it’s something that some of us, at least, can relate to.

4. The Magicians by Lev Grossman

The Magicians by Lev Grossman

Set in a fantasy world, The Magicians is an outlier on this list, but this book still definitely captures a lot of the college experience. Quentin starts out as a recent high school graduate with no idea what he wants to do, still obsessed with the fantasy book series he read as a child. But when he finds out he is a magician and enrolls at Brakebills University for Magical Pedagogy, that obsession might be the only thing that will save him from a mysterious force threatening his whole world. The Magicians is about growing up, letting go of (and holding on to) your childhood, and figuring out who you are, and does it all with amazing world-building of an intense and mysterious college for magicians.

5. The Secret History by Donna Tartt

The Secret History

A campus novel classic, The Secret History is the oldest book on this list, and definitely the darkest. After dropping out of his school back home, Richard starts a classics major at the fictional Hampden College and meets the five other students in the exclusive program others call a cult. When a secret project of the students’ goes horribly wrong and two people wind up dead, Richard is forced to ask himself: how well does he really know his new friends? The Secret History is a dark, cynical look at academia, but the mysterious characters and their questionable actions make it almost impossible to put down.

Find more book recommendations right here on Bookstr, like these 7 brainy romance novels to read this summer!