11 YA Books to Get You Ready for College

This year might be different than we’d all expected, but one thing hasn’t changed—people still need to get ready for college! While it’s a super exciting time, it can be stressful, too. But never fear, we’re here to offer help. In book form, of course!

Scandals, romance, mysteries, plus tips and tricks—we’ve got them all. Whether you want fiction or nonfiction, these books will help you get ready for college in every way!

Thrilling Page-Turners for Seniors

Admission

Admission

By Julie Buxbaum

If it weren’t for the stress of college applications, Chloe would be living her best life. But as a mediocre student, she doesn’t have much hope for getting into the college of her dreams. When she gets accepted, she’s thrilled—until the FBI arrests her mom for bribery. If you’ve been watching the real-life college admissions scandal in the news, you won’t want to miss this highly readable YA novel!

The Ivies

The Ivies

By Alexa Donne

On Sale 05.25.21

A boarding school setting + girls with ruthless ambition = a must-read YA thriller! What would you do to get into an Ivy League college? For the five girls who make up the exclusive clique known as the Ivies, no price is too high. They’d kill to get that acceptance letter. Literally.

Monsters Among Us

Monsters Among Us

By Monica Rodden

After surviving a horrific attack during her first semester at college, Catherine returns home for winter break. When someone she cares about gets killed, she wants justice. With the help of a childhood friend and a mysterious new boy, Catherine tries to piece together the clues in both crimes to figure out what happened. This thriller will keep you on the edge of your seat!

Neverworld Wake

Neverworld Wake

By Marisha Pessl

As long as we’re talking about thrillers set in college, we need to discuss Neverworld Wake. The summer after her first year of college, Beatrice gets together with her old group of friends. She’s hoping to get some answers about the night her high school boyfriend died. Instead, Beatrice and her friends find themselves in a bizarre time loop where they repeat the same day over and over. You’ll love every twist in this dark YA book!

Romance and Friendship Stories for Graduation Day

Field Notes on Love

Field Notes on Love

By Jennifer E. Smith

Fate (and an online ad) bring Hugo and Mae together on an unforgettable train trip across the United States. It’s the summer after graduation, and even though they’ve never met, the teens feel an instant connection. As they make their way from coast to coast, Mae and Hugo learn about each other, themselves, and what it means to fall in love.

Freshmen

Freshmen

By Lucy Ivison

New beginnings, long-time crushes, romance, rumors, and scandal! This novel about Phoebe and Luke’s first year in college will keep you turning pages well past your bedtime. You’ll adore this realistic YA book that celebrates everything—good and bad—that college has to offer.

Rayne & Delilah's Midnite Matinee

Rayne & Delilah's Midnite Matinee

By Jeff Zentner

Senior year brings a lot of changes for Delia and Josie. They’ve been best friends forever, and they even have a campy TV show together. But graduation is looming, and the two friends face tough choices about their friendship, going to college, and growing up. If you need a friendship story to carry you through senior year, grab a copy of this book.

Say Yes Summer

Say Yes Summer

By Lindsey Roth Culli

Raise your hand if you’re the straight-A student who did everything right in high school. This book is for you! When Rachel reads an old self-help book, she decides to enjoy her last summer before college to the fullest. How? By saying yes to everything. Bring on the fun, adventure, and boys!

Nonfiction Books to Give You a Competitive Edge

College Admissions During COVID

College Admissions During COVID

By Robert Franek

If you can only get one book about the college admissions process, this is the one to get. With advice from an expert, this is the only book with information specifically for students graduating high school in 2021 or 2022. From taking a gap year to taking your ACT at home, you’ll find answers to all your biggest questions related to college and COVID.

Complete Guide to College Application Essays

Complete Guide to College Application Essays

By The Princeton Review

We can all agree that this school year has been strange. With so many people stuck in virtual classes with pass/fail grades and no standardized tests, your college application essays are more important than ever. Not to worry! With the help of this guide, you’ll master those pesky essays in no time!

Paying for College, 2021

Paying for College, 2021

By Kalman Chany

Okay, it’s time to talk about money. College is expensive! And unless your parents have a money tree in the backyard, you need to figure out how to pay for it. That’s where this book comes in. You’ll learn how to maximize your financial aid, reduce costly mistakes, and minimize college costs. It has tips for students in every situation, including independent students and those from divorced or blended families.

Check out the entire collection of College Admissions Guides from The Princeton Review for more books that cover topics like picking the right school, taking time off, and college life for LGBTQ+ students.

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