Submitted by evesham on

Whether you’re a high school student applying for college, or already attending university, these YA books are worth a look.

Between the Bliss and Me by Lizzy Mason

When Sydney Holman announces she has decided to attend NYU, her overprotective mom is devastated. She will be living in the big city instead of commuting to nearby Rutgers like her mom had hoped. It also means she’ll be close to off-limits but dreamy Grayson, a guitar prodigy who is going to Juilliard in the fall and very much isn’t single.

While she dreams of her new life, Sydney discovers the truth about her father. She knew he left when she was little due to  drug addiction, but no one told her he had schizophrenia or that he was currently living on the streets of New York City. She seizes the opportunity to get to know him, to understand who he is and learn what may lie in store for her if she, too, is diagnosed.  As she’s loving NYC and getting closer to Grayson, Sydney must decide if she should stay close to home with her mom or continue to follow her dreams despite the risks.


Kent State by Deborah Wiles

As protestors take over the campus of Kent State University on May 4, 1970, National Guardsmen are called in. In the chaos of what happens next, shots are fired and four students are killed. To this day, there is argument of what happened and why. Told in multiple voices from several vantage points, including protestor, guardsmen, townies and students, it offers a moving and terrifying picture of what happened that weekend in Ohio. Even 50 years later, the event still resonates deeply.


Emergency Contact by Mary H. K. Choi

High School was uneventful for Penny Lee. Her friends were okay, her grades were fine, and while she somehow managed to land a boyfriend, he doesn’t actually know anything about her. When Penny heads to college in Austin, Texas, for writing, she’s thrilled to be a zillion light years away from everything she can’t wait to leave behind.

Sam’s stuck - literally, figuratively, emotionally, financially. He works at a café and sleeps there too. He knows this is the god-awful chapter of his life that will serve as inspiration for when he’s a famous movie director, but right this second the seventeen bucks in his checking account and his dying laptop are really testing him.

When Sam and Penny cross paths, it’s less meet-cute and more a collision of unbearable awkwardness. Still, they swap numbers and stay in touch, and soon become digitally inseparable, sharing their deepest anxieties and secret dreams without the humiliating weirdness of having to see each other.


Mind the Gap, Dash & Lily by Rachel Cohn

In the third book of the Dash and Lily series, the devoted couple were feeling closer than ever, but they're now an ocean apart. After Dash gets accepted to Oxford University and Lily stays in New York to take care of her dog-walking business, the two are struggling to make a long-distance relationship work.

When Dash breaks the news that he won't be coming home for Christmas, Lily makes a decision; if Dash can't come to her, she'll join him in London. It's a perfect romantic gesture that ends up spinning out of Lily's control. Even though they’re finally in the same city, Dash and Lily are feeling more of a gap between each other.


Again, But Better by Christine Riccio

Shane has been doing college all wrong. Pre-med and stellar grades sound ideal, but Shane's made zero friends and goes home every weekend. Her life has been dorm, dining hall, class, repeat. Shane feels she needs a change and there’s nothing like moving to a new country to really mix things up. She signs up for a semester abroad in London. Shane's going to right all her college mistakes: make friends, pursue boys and find adventure!

That’s easier said than done. She is soon faced with the complicated realities of living outside her bubble, and when self-doubt sneaks in, her new life starts to fall apart. Eventually, Shane finds that with the right amount of courage and determination, one can conquer anything.