Great Summer Reads for Recent Graduates

The summer between high school and college, as well as the (potentially much longer) post-college summer, allows plenty of opportunities for students in a transitional period to knock a few things off their to-do lists. They could travel the world, secure a helpful internship or even indulge in a couple of good books. Here are some reads that new high school and college grads might find appealing.

By Eric Garneau

summer reading

High School

Navigating Your Freshman Year: How to Make the Leap to College Life - and Land on Your Feet (by Students Helping Students): For the directly college-bound, this book offers helpful tips and essays that can get you thinking about and preparing for dorm living, one of the biggest adjustments that many college students have to make. This book is by students, for students; you can see it, perhaps, as letters from your future self!

The Complete Guide to the Gap Year: The Best Things to Do Between High School and College (by Kristin M. White): Okay, so this book's not exactly a 'summer read' in the strictest sense, but the notion of a 'gap year' - time off between high school and college - has become increasingly popular. This book aims to help the eventually college-bound decide on the best uses for their year away from school, or even if taking that time off would be beneficial to them at all. If you feel like you need to recharge your batteries before diving into school again, this might be the book for you.

Oh, the Places You'll Go (by Dr. Seuss): Though this book doesn't necessarily target the post-high school crowd, the message contained within this Dr. Seuss classic resonates perfectly. Leaving high school for college or a job can be a terrifying prospect, a seemingly directionless journey. Perhaps this message of simple inspiration can provide a nice reflection on both where you've been and where you're going. And the pop-ups, of course, are really cool.


Commencement (by J. Courtney Sullivan): What happens to the friendships you make in college, bonds that can seem like they'll last forever? That's the question driving Sullivan's debut novel, which follows a group of four friends out of college and into their adult lives. If you're wondering if you can make those college years (and friends) last, perhaps Commencement can provide some thoughts to help you reflect on the matter.

Ramen Noodles, Rent and Resumes: An After-College Guide to Life (by Kristen Fischer): As tough as the transition to college is, leaving school behind for the so-called 'real world' can be a lot scarier. This guidebook attempts to help recent grads channel all that nervous energy into positive pursuits, like finding the right career path and handling all the little things they previously didn't have to worry about (you know, like being a fully responsible adult).

Rejuvenile: Kickball, Cartoons, Cupcakes and the Reinvention of the American Grown-Up (by Christopher Noxon): A book of particular interest to this author, Rejuvenile speaks to concerns that many recent college graduates have - is it okay to move back in with my parents? Can I still act a little bit like a kid? Author Christopher Noxon provides a sharp sociological analysis of what it means that so many adults are starting to deny the edict to 'act their age,' and whether or not that's a positive thing.

Have you ever seen a book you can eat?

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