Thursday, February 6, 2014

Reading on a Theme: A College Setting

With the New Adult genre on the rise we are seeing more novels with a college setting. Here are a few. Some are definitely more New Adult, while others are decidedly Young Adult in theme and content.

Freshman Pen Pals:
Roomies is the story of freshman roommates Elizabeth and Lauren who have yet to meet. They spend the summer before their freshman year emailing each other. Roomies fits nicely into the emerging New Adult category of books. The summer before college can be an exciting but awkward time, and Lauren and Elizabeth feel like they don't quite belong anywhere. The roommate relationship really can be a special one. I had so much fun with my college roommates and many of them will be my friends for life (I'm writing this almost 15 years out of college). This book was a pleasant surprise. It's a fast read, but it's not without it's deeper moments. Review copy from NetGalley.

Dark and Tortured:
University of Wyoming students, Violet and Luke are both dealing with the aftermaths of horrific childhoods. They are on a collision course to burnout. Luke is an alcoholic with little interest in connecting with anyone. Violet is an adrenalin junkie and drug dealer. This book has lots of alcohol, lots of sex, lots of swearing, lots of violence, and many disastrous moments. However, Violet and Luke are much, much better when they are together. There's plenty of foreshadowing that a tragic reveal is going to rip these two apart. Be warned, the ending is an awful cliffhanger. The Destiny of Violet Luke is darker than I generally like my stories. Review copy from NetGalley.

Practically Perfect:
My love for Fangirl is well documented. As Cath Avery heads off to college she's awkward and nervous and much more comfortable in the world of Simon Snow than in the real world. Fangirl is about how she deals with life, with college, with her twin sister, with her fragile father, with her absent mother, with meeting new people, with being Cath. I loved basically everything about this book. Rainbow Rowell can really write. The characters are dreamy. Cath is clever and quick, loyal and super awkward. She's adorable. She is what kept me reading. I loved Reagan too. So much. Reagan is mean and hilarious and a good friend. Levi makes me happy, and Levi and Cath together makes me really happy.

Fantastical Princeton:
Enchanted Ivy belongs to the genre of cute fairy tales or fantasy novels. Lily has always dreamed of attending Princeton just like her grandfather. She and her mother accompany him to reunion weekend. When they get there Lily learns that she has been chosen to take a special test. If she passes the test she automatically gets into Princeton. This is not any normal kind of test. It's a test that reveals the magical side of Princeton and along the way Lily discovers a lot of secrets about her family. Sarah Beth Durst's Ivy League novel is really cute. It's well written, although with only a few really surprising twists, and the characters are likeable. 

Secret Societies:
The Secret Society Girl books are what secured my love (and I do mean love) of Diana Peterfreund. She's a rock star. The books follow Amy, who is tapped for a Secret Society, Rose and Grave, at the prestigious Eli University. The thing is, she is among the first class of women to be tapped for this secret society. The books feature intrigue, some good-looking guys, and battles to change the status-quo. On top of all that, Amy is a really likeable character.The conclusion to the series, Tap & Gown, is one of the best conclusions to a series that I've ever read.

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