By: Christina Samek, Marketing Specialist.

The transition from high school to college is one of the biggest and most significant changes in a young person’s life. They are experiencing a world of responsibility and true freedom for the first time. It’s easy to get swept up in the excitement of re-starting their life, figuring out who they want to be, and occasionally skipping a class or two. It will be one of the best times in their life, as most post-grads will tell you, as I’ll tell you. But, it’s really hard too. They are as prepared for it as they can be. As educators, you explain the vigor of classes, the lack of hand-holding, the “NO EXTRA CREDIT.” You do your best to warn them but it’s up to them how they take that advice, those 12 long years of learning, and grow up.

As fun as it is, college life requires a balance that is sometimes hard-fought. There are no parents to call for lights out, ensure the books stay open, a vegetable is occasionally consumed, etc. It can be equal parts exhilarating and overwhelming. No matter how wonderful the exhilarating parts, they’ll each have that moment (or several) where they miss home, the comforts of their high school, the guidance of their teachers, simply: the easy joys of being a child. So, here’s a list of titles for college-aged students getting swept up, taking it all in, and figuring it all out for those overwhelming days. It’s okay to be sacred and stumble through it. They’ll find that’s most of adulthood. They’ll find that no, they probably won’t need the Pythagorean theorem, but, they’ll realize how glad they are for you.

Roomies by Sara Zarr and Tara Altebrando

When Elizabeth receives her freshman-year roommate assignment at the beginning of summer, she shoots off an email to coordinate the basics: TV, microwave, mini-fridge. She can’t wait to escape her New Jersey beach town, and her mom, and start life over in California.

 by Rainbow Rowell

Cath’s sister has mostly grown away from fandom, but Cath can’t let go. She doesn’t want to.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.

Positively Mine
 by Christine Duval

An imperfect heroine plagued by bad choices and isolated during what should be the best time of her life, readers are sure to identify with Laurel as she confronts teen pregnancy, in secret.

A Little Something Different
 by Sandy Hall

Lea and Gabe are in the same creative writing class. They get the same pop culture references, order the same Chinese food, and hang out in the same places. Unfortunately, Lea is reserved, Gabe has issues, and despite their initial mutual crush, it looks like they are never going to work things out.

The Queen of the Tearling
 by Erika Johansen

On her nineteenth birthday, Princess Kelsea Raleigh Glynn, raised in exile, sets out on a perilous journey back to the castle of her birth to ascend her rightful throne. Plain and serious, a girl who loves books and learning, Kelsea bears little resemblance to her mother, the vain and frivolous Queen Elyssa. But though she may be inexperienced and sheltered, Kelsea is not defenseless: Around her neck hangs the Tearling sapphire, a jewel of immense magical power; and accompanying her is the Queen’s Guard, a cadre of brave knights led by the enigmatic and dedicated Lazarus. Kelsea will need them all to survive a cabal of enemies who will use every weapon—from crimson-caped assassins to the darkest blood magic—to prevent her from wearing the crown.

The Last Lecture 
by Jeffrey Zaslow

When Randy Pausch, a computer science professor at Carnegie Mellon, was asked to give such a lecture, he didn’t have to imagine it as his last, since he had recently been diagnosed with terminal cancer. But the lecture he gave—”Really Achieving Your Childhood Dreams”—wasn’t about dying. It was about the importance of overcoming obstacles, of enabling the dreams of others, of seizing every moment (because “time is all you have…and you may find one day that you have less than you think”). It was a summation of everything Randy had come to believe. It was about living.

So Much I Want to Tell You 
by Anna Akana

In So Much I Want to Tell You, Anna opens up about her own struggles with poor self-esteem and reveals both the highs and lows of coming-of-age. She offers fresh, funny, hard-won advice for young women on everything from self-care to money to sex, and she is refreshingly straightforward about the realities of dating, female friendship, and the hustle required to make your dreams come true. This is Anna’s story, but, as she says, it belongs just as much to Kristina and to every other girl who must learn that growing up can be hard to do. Witty and real, Anna breaks things down in a way only a big sister can.

Norwegian Wood 
by Haruki Murakami

Toru, a quiet and preternaturally serious young college student in Tokyo, is devoted to Naoko, a beautiful and introspective young woman, but their mutual passion is marked by the tragic death of their best friend years before. Toru begins to adapt to campus life and the loneliness and isolation he faces there, but Naoko finds the pressures and responsibilities of life unbearable. As she retreats further into her own world, Toru finds himself reaching out to others and drawn to a fiercely independent and sexually liberated young woman.A poignant story of one college student’s romantic coming-of-age, Norwegian Wood takes us to that distant place of a young man’s first, hopeless, and heroic love.

What I Know Now: Letters to My Younger Self 
by Ellyn Spragins

If you could send a letter back through time to your younger self, what would the letter say? In this moving collection, forty-one famous women write letters to the women they once were, filled with advice and insights they wish they had had when they were younger.