Who else can’t believe it’s the end of August already? This month just flew by faster than any of the other months have. You know that that means though? It’s back to school for the kiddos and college students. Some have already started their new school year, and others will be starting this week or next week.
What I thought would be fun to do is make a list of recommendations based on a “Back to School” series. There’s a lot of books out there that take place with students of all ages in school, whether it’s public school or on a boarding school campus, and I’m find that there are some that take place on college campuses as well. I’m figuring this will be a 4-5 post series, and I hope everyone will like this mini-series.
To start, let’s go with the most common type of school characters are placed in, which would be high school. Obviously this is generally a young-adult recommendation collection, but I think most of my readers are YA readers anyway. So, it works, right?
Time Bomb – Joelle Charbonneau
This book makes my list of recommendations whenever I can fit it. It’s so good and I have no shame in how many times I’ll tell people about this book. It keeps you on the edge of your seat. This book takes place in a high school the day before school starts, and six students who happen to be there preparing for the new school year are caught inside when a bomb goes off.
Perfect Chemistry – Simone Elkeles
If you want a tension-filled high school romance, this is the book for you. Alex and Brittany couldn’t be any more opposite, but when they’re forced to be lab partners in class, sparks begin to fly between them… and it isn’t the chemicals they’re working with. This has two follow up books that follow Alex’s younger brothers, which are also great books and ones I’d recommend.
Letters To The Lost – Bridget Kemmerer
Oh my heart… this book was just so good that I’m pretty sure it had given me a book hangover for a while. This book follows Juliet who is writing letters to her late mother and leaving them at her grave. One day, she gets a reply from an anonymous person, and the two begin to correspond and make a connection through the letters. Now, just to tell you how good this book is, one of my friends isn’t a big fan of romance books because she prefers horror/thriller, but she read this book and it’s one of her favorites… so yeah, it’s good.
Standing By – Tabitha G. Kelly
This book is a fun young-adult contemporary, enemies-to-lovers story with just a dash of teen angst thrown in. I love the bits of humor in this story and how relatable the characters are – even the side characters. The basic gist of the book is that Eric and Julie have been rivals since middle school, but when a new kid comes along and begins to date Julie, Eric starts to figure out his true feelings for her… despite the fact that he doesn’t believe in love.
All the Bright Places – Jennifer Niven
If you haven’t heard of this book, then you must live under a rock. This is the story of Finch and Violet and their short, but sweet epic romance. This book also touches greatly on mental health and how it not only affects the person with the disorder but also the people in their lives. I’ve read this book twice and the Netflix movie actually did good by the book, in my opinion.
Send – Patty Blount
This book follows Dan, who is given a second chance after he’d spent time in juvie for something he did when he was younger. He meets Julie on his first day of senior year and at the same time, gets in trouble for breaking up a fight and being deemed a hero by the other students, which doesn’t bode well for his plan to stay off the radar until graduation. Because the last thing Daniel wants is for anyone to find out his secret.
Lock & Key – Sarah Dessen
Ruby has been on her own for a few months since her mother left one day and never came back, but eventually she was caught living alone and sent to live with her older sister. Starting at a new school, Ruby just wants to get out of there and get back to her own life, but the boy next door makes that hard for her. This story had a fun cast of characters and is a great read overall.
One of Us is Lying – Karen McManus
Everyone describes this book as The Breakfast Club if it were a murder mystery, and that’s pretty dang accurate. Six students are sent to Saturday detention and one of them never makes it out. The other five are now suspects, since they were the only ones in the room with Simon, but they all say they didn’t do it, so the question is… who did? This book is a good young-adult murder mystery story that I, and a few friends, have enjoyed.
Where It All Lands – Jennie Wexler
This is a 2021 release which I thought was fantastic. It follows two best friends, Drew and Shane, in alternate timelines when they flip a coin to see who gets to ask her out so you get to see each outcome. It’s both heartbreaking and heartwarming, which is all you can ask for in a book like this. I’ve been loving dual-timeline books for possible outcomes, and this is one I highly recommend.
Rules of Rain – Leah Scheier
This story follows Rain and how she cares for her twin brother, Ethan, who’s autistic. When life with Ethan is always so predictable, Rain doesn’t expect anything to change… until it does. She finds herself in a bit of a pickle after a party one night, and meanwhile Ethan is beginning to grow up and Rain realizes he doesn’t need her as much as he used to. I was hooked on this book and I found Ethan so adorable throughout it. It’s one that I recommend, always, and one that I need to read again very soon.
Hacking Harvard – Robin Wasserman
Four high school seniors take on the impossible… getting the slacker of their class accepted into Harvard. There’s a lot at stake if they fail, so failing isn’t an option. This book is one of my favorites, and another I always try to recommend when I can. Eric and Lexi are my favorite characters, as well as Schwartz because he’s the Chuckie Finster of the group and no one listens to him. If you like the movie, Accepted, then you’ll likely like this book as well. On top of that, I love the narration of this book.
What are some of your favorite books/recommendations that take place with characters in high school?