Top Ten Books Set In College


Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.

This week was Top Ten Books With X Setting (top ten books set near the beach, top ten book set in boarding school, top ten books set in England, etc). I picked Top Ten Books with college as the setting.

It’s almost the end of summer which I can’t tell if I’m actually excited for or not. Boo to no more rad weather but how could I not be stoked about all things fall… and more time to blog obviously. The apple orchard opens at the end of the month and I can start wearing boots again and sweaters and yay! Also, my baby brother starts college this week which is crazy to me. I swear just last year I was at his flag football games (in this memory my glasses and braces have been conveniently left out). But alas he is 19, so much craziness. Anyway now that I’m done reminiscing and realizing how old I am and not still 17, so here are my favorite books about college, the struggle of getting and being there, as well as the journey into adulthood and realizing you can’t live on captain crunch berries and popcorn *ahem, me circa 2012*.


The Other Wes Moore: One Name, Two Fates by Wes Moore

“Two kids with the same name lived in the same decaying city. One went on to be a Rhodes Scholar, decorated combat veteran, White House Fellow, and business leader. The other is serving a life sentence in prison. Here is the story of two boys and the journey of a generation.”

Dear Committee Members by Julie Schumacher

“The vehicle this droll and inventive novel uses to tell that tale is a series of hilarious letters of recommendation that Fitger is endlessly called upon by his students and colleagues to produce, each one of which is a small masterpiece of high dudgeon, low spirits, and passive-aggressive strategies.”

Where They Found Her by Kimberly McCreight

“At the end of a long winter, in bucolic Ridgedale, New Jersey, the body of an infant is discovered in the woods near the town’s prestigious university campus. No one knows who the baby is, or how her body ended up out there. But there is no shortage of opinions.”

Just One Day by Gayle Forman

When Allyson returns home from her summer in Europe she embarks on her next big adventure and realizes everything is not all of a sudden better in her life because, college. She becomes incredibly depressed, is forced to deal with the fact she has such severe helicopter parents that they even picked her major and created her class schedule, and has a severe lack of friends. 

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

“Now that they’re going to college, Wren has told Cath she doesn’t want to be roommates. Cath is on her own, completely outside of her comfort zone. She’s got a surly roommate with a charming, always-around boyfriend, a fiction-writing professor who thinks fan fiction is the end of the civilized world, a handsome classmate who only wants to talk about words… And she can’t stop worrying about her dad, who’s loving and fragile and has never really been alone.”

Missoula: Rape and the Justice System in a College Town by Jon Krakauer

“Missoula, Montana is a typical college town, home to a highly regarded state university whose beloved football team inspires a passionately loyal fan base. Between January 2008 and May 2012, hundreds of students reported sexual assaults to the local police. Few of the cases were properly handled by either the university or local authorities. In this, Missoula is also typical. In these pages, acclaimed journalist Jon Krakauer investigates a spate of campus rapes that occurred in Missoula over a four-year period.”


Adulting: How to Become a Grown-up in 468 Easy(ish) Steps by Kelly Williams Brown

“If you graduated from college but still feel like a student . . . if you wear a business suit to job interviews but pajamas to the grocery store . . . if you have your own apartment but no idea how to cook or clean . . . it’s OK. But it doesn’t have to be this way.”


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.”


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 TheSisterhood of the Traveling Pants series, Forever in Blue follows four friends Lena, Tibby, Carmen, and Bridget as they spend a summer in college.”


The Girls from Ames: a Story of Women and a Forty Year Friendship by Jeffrey Zaslow

“This nonfiction book is a tribute to women’s friendships, in particular those of a group of eleven girls, who still keep in touch after four decades. After writing a newspaper column on this subject, the author received so many letters that he joined the women from Ames on a retreat and through interviews and photographs reconstructed their stories.”



15 thoughts on “Top Ten Books Set In College

    • Bri says:

      Oh Missoula made me so angry for a long time…I definitely agree, there are times I wish I could back but then I remember I have a job that actually pays me and feel better lol


  1. Sarah's Book Shelves says:

    You came up with a good number of books for this setting! And I’m a sucker for books set on campuses! Loved Where They Found Her and Missoula was a powerful read too. I’d like to read Dear Committee Members at some point.


    • Bri says:

      I thought dear committee members and laughed through probably the whole thing. I was actually surprised at how easy it was to come up with books, I assumed it would be hard and I’d just pick something else lol


  2. Greg says:

    I loved Fangirl and thought it really captured the college feel in a lot of ways. Where They Found Her And Just One Day both sound good- I’m kinda curious about that last one with the helicopter parents, that might be a fun read.


    • Bri says:

      Oh it definitely is an adorable read but also really frustrating because my parents were never like that so reading books with helicopter parents I always get frustrated. Oh I love fangirl for that reason too! I hate when characters make new friends just immediately all of the time lol


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