Freshers – Tom Ellen & Lucy Ivison
Phoebe has big plans for university, and most of them revolve around reinventing herself to be the perfect girlfriend for her school crush Luke. But little does she know that university isn’t as straight-forward as that, and she’ll soon be thrown into a chaotic new world of parties, intense friendships, social disasters and homesickness.
Absolutely hilarious, with a uniquely candid perspective on university life, Freshers is the book we wish we’d read when we were at uni.
Everyone experiences university differently, and identical twins Cath and Wren demonstrate that perfectly in Rainbow Rowell’s Fangirl. While Wren is keen to shake off her ‘twin’ identity and get stuck into partying, boys and dancing, Cath is much more shy and doesn’t want things to change.
As she adjusts to her new roommate, space from her family and meeting new people, Cath learns to step outside her comfort zone and open her heart. And on the other hand, Wren learns that she can have new experiences without letting go of her old self completely. If any of you are worried about having to change to fit in at uni, then this is the book to convince you just to be yourself.
A Little Something Different – Sandy Hall
This is a sweet story told from the perspective of fourteen strangers around campus, including a professor, roommate, classmate, waitress and food delivery guy. Each character tells their observations of Lea and Gabe, who are in a creative writing class together and clearly have feelings for each other. But while the couple never quite make the move to spend more time together, all the other characters can see that there’s something between them. If only they could hurry up and see it for themselves!
We know uni isn’t all lingering stares and professors trying to hook you up with classmates (some of us have work to do, don’t you know), but sometimes it’s nice to indulge in a sweet romance where everyone wants nothing more than for you to find the love of your life (even a park bench and a random squirrel…)
Roomies – Sara Zarr & Tara Altebrando
Roommates is more of an American concept, but if you’re moving into halls or a shared house then you’re going to have to get your head around the idea of sharing your home with a group of total strangers. In this book, roommates Elizabeth and Lauren get the chance to get to know each other over email during the summer before uni.
On the brink of escaping their old lives and starting afresh, the pair share everything about themselves with each other. Family relationships that are going to change as the girls get more independent, friendship groups doomed to fall apart as they head their separate ways and complicated boys who may get left behind; the girls share their feelings about leaving the nest and form a fantastic new friendship at the same time.
Starter for Ten was David Nicholls’ debut novel, and introduces us to the nerdy and bookish new student Brian Jackson. Brian wants to use his university experience to make new friends, gain some independence and meet girls. And he does just that when he joins the University Challenge team and falls head over heels for fellow teammate Alice.
With plenty of blunders and mishaps along the way, Brian tries to win Alice over whilst navigating the student lifestyle. Guaranteed to have you snorting with laughter again and again, Brian’s university experience is both hilariously unique and totally relatable.
Many people will be familiar with the 1970 Oscar-nominated film – Love Story – with the famous line ‘love means never having to say you’re sorry’, but did you know that this was originally a book? Oliver Barrett IV is a jock from a wealthy, stuffy family, while Jenny Cavilleri is a music student from a working-class family. Neither of their families approve of their relationship, but the couple stay together despite this. We won’t spoil anything further, in case you haven’t seen the film, but you can definitely expect a tug of your heartstrings throughout.
A story of two people from very different backgrounds who meet and fall in love whilst at university, it’s a little reminder that uni is full of personalities and characters you’ll never have come across before. Embrace them (not literally, unless you’ve got to know them already) and enjoy getting to know new people. Who knows where it could lead.