Whether you’ve already moved in, already started your course or are counting down the days until you start your new adventure, it’s an exciting time! And while you’ll be studying, partying and snoozing with the best of ‘em at university, hopefully you’ll manage to factor in some downtime for reading. What better way to kick off a new term than with a list of 6 amazing books set at universities!
Books set at British universities
During our research, we struggled to find many books set at UK universities – but there are a few, listed below.
My Oxford Year by Julia Whelan
Set at Oxford University (of course) this is an academia romance following American student Ella, 24, as she embarks on a study-abroad year in the UK. With a not-so-meet-cute at the beginning and some almighty drama throughout, this isn’t too heavy and will be great for getting you in the mood to enjoy your time at university!
Loveless by Alice Oseman
The author behind the Netflix series Heartstopper has other books too, including Loveless – this is a novel set at Durham University, following Georgia. She’s in a new place, confused about her sexuality, and a proud member of the Shakespeare Society. It’s a great read for new students, and of course handles LGBT+ topics really well if this is something you’re interested in.
Starter for Ten by David Nicholls
An oldie but a goodie, Starter for Ten by David Nicholls takes its name from hit TV show University Challenge. While the university our protagonist attends goes unnamed in the book, it is definitely set in the UK and explores Brian’s experience as a ‘fresher’. He is a general knowledge fanatic, desperate to get on the show, and the story follows his journey to get there. It has also been turned into a film featuring Benedict Cumberbatch, James McAvoy and Catherine Tate!
Books set at American universities
As you can probably imagine, there are a lot of books set at American universities! Here are some of the best and most recommended…
The Secret History by Donna Tartt
Often hailed as the very first ‘dark academia’ novel, this is a ‘90s book set at a college in New England; a group of students (influenced by their classics professor) discover a completely different way of thinking that transcends the boundaries of morality…
The Art of Fielding by Chad Harbach
Set at Westish College in the US, this story follows a baseball star Henry and four people in his life as they go through the motions of trying to find the right path for themselves and each other, both at university and for their futures.
The Plot by Jean Hanff Korelitz
If you’re looking for something creepy, this is it – set at an American college it follows Jake, a creative writing professor who steals a book plot from one of his (dead) students. He publishes the book, but at what cost?
All of these excellent books set at universities come highly recommended and have an academia element to them, making them the perfect read for your first term at university!