Best Summer Books for College Students in 2023

Student reading books in archways.

Summer isn’t over yet! For college students, reading is a great way to pass time, relax, or continue learning during the break. Whether you’re looking for a thrilling fiction tale or an inspiring non-fiction read, there is a book list for everyone. Reading can also help you improve as a writer yourself! In this post, we’ve compiled a list of several books across genres that you can dig into before you head back to classes. This article offers some of the best summer books to read for college students in 2023, as well as some tips for creating your perfect book list.

Overview of popular summer reading genres

Summer is hot and perfect for kicking back, relaxing, and reading a good book while soaking up some rays. There are many genres to choose from, so there’s sure to be a book you’d like to read.

For college students, the list of great books is a long one. Here are some popular summer reading genres to narrow your choices:


Fiction is the go-to genre for a summer read. Escape to captivating tales, intriguing characters, and creative plots. Fiction books can be fun and entertaining “easy reads,” perfect for when you’re at the beach or lounging by the pool.

Historical fiction

If you’re looking for a great book to read, why not pick up a historical fiction book? It’s perfect for those who love to travel back in time. Blending reality with fiction offers an exciting and immersive reading experience. Plus, there’s a wide array of themes, like adventure, romance, and mystery, so you can find something to suit your interests!

Mystery novels

Mystery novels are always a hit, especially during the summer! College students will love the captivating characters and thrilling plots that come with them. It’s the perfect pick for those who love a good puzzle and are eager to uncover a mystery.

Non-fiction books

These can be a great way to explore new topics, discover new concepts, and broaden your horizons this summer. From biographies to science books to travel guides, there are a ton of non-fiction titles out there to read.

A student reading a summer books for college students recommendation
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What to look for when selecting summer books

When choosing a summer book, it is essential to consider various aspects to ensure an entertaining and stimulating read. First, look at the book summary or description to get a sense of what it is about. Then, here are other elements you can think about to decide:


Also, picking a genre you enjoy is most likely to guarantee a good read. It could be historical fiction, romance, mystery, or non-fiction – whatever you’re into. Read something you like, and it will be easier to stay engaged. A good book will allow you to enjoy the summer even more.


Next, when deciding what book to read in the summer, consider its size and how much time you can read it in. Sure, a longer book might be more enjoyable, but it’s not worth it if you don’t have the time to finish it. Choose a book that you can actually read to the end.


Read reviews online to see what other readers think about the book. Be sure to note the good, bad, and ugly. While one reader’s opinion may differ from yours, it can be helpful to read through multiple perspectives. Try looking at Goodreads to see thousands of reviews of top books.


Think about books you’ve read and liked in the past. Sticking with authors you know and love can make sure you have a great summer of reading


Reach out to your pals, family, and book clubs for recommendations. You never know what excellent authors or books you might get the opportunity to read.

Stock at local bookstores

Finally, why not visit your local bookstores in the summer to learn what’s new? You might find something you wouldn’t have read about online. Also, the staff at independent bookstores are usually helpful when suggesting books you’ll love.

Searching for the coolest summer books for college students in 2023 can be a blast. Consider these tips if you want to read the books best suited to you.

Students reading different kinds of books in different positions.
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Book recommendations (by genre)

Here are some of the best summer books for college students in 2023:

Fiction books

  1. “Klara and the Sun” by Kazuo Ishiguro
  2. “The Four Winds” by Kristin Hannah
  3. “Malibu Rising” by Taylor Jenkins Reid
  4. “The Maidens” by Alex Michaelides

Historical fiction books

  1. “The Rose Code” by Kate Quinn
  2. “The Vanishing Half” by Brit Bennett
  3. “The Nightingale” by Kristin Hannah
  4. “The Push” by Ashley Audrain

Romance books

  1. “People We Meet on Vacation” by Emily Henry
  2. “The Ex Talk” by Rachel Lynn Solomon
  3. “One Last Stop” by Casey McQuiston
  4. “The Spanish Love Deception” by Elena Armas

Mystery books

  1. “The Sanatorium” by Sarah Pearse
  2. “The Silent Patient” by Alex Michaelides
  3. “The Wife Upstairs” by Rachel Hawkins
  4. “The Hunting Wives” by May Cobb

Non-fiction books

  1. “Caste” by Isabel Wilkerson
  2. “Empire of Pain” by Patrick Radden Keefe
  3. “Untamed” by Glennon Doyle
  4. “The Code Breaker” by Walter Isaacson

Personal development books

  1. “Rich Dad Poor Dad” by Robert Kiyosaki
  2. “The Alchemist” by Paulo Coelho
  3. “Atomic Habits” by James Clear


  1. “Animal Farm” by George Orwell
  2. “The Grapes Of Wrath” by John Steinbeck
  3. “To Kill A Mockingbird” by Harper Lee
Students reading books from their summer reading list.
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The big picture

The summer reading list in this post is just a starting point! Ultimately, read whatever piques your interest.

Of course, you don’t need to spend your summer lying by the beach to be able to enjoy reading this summer. There are many good options to read in fiction, romance, historical fiction, or non-fiction. Also, if you’re looking for a more convenient way to read this summer and don’t have the room to store physical copies, why not try audiobooks or e-books? They can be accessed on various mobile devices, making them a great choice when you’re on the go. You can also rent e-books from apps like Libby that connect to your library card.

Summer is the perfect time to kick back, learn something new, and explore different worlds. Let us know your favorite reads so far in the comments. Happy reading!

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