Ahhh, there’s nothing like the all-consuming, head-over-heels giddiness of college love. You're young, you're free, and parents aren't around to make sure the bedroom door stays open. Now that school is officially back in session, we’re feeling nostalgic for the ramen noodle dates, Franzia parties, and library make-out sessions of our university days. To embrace it, we've been studying up on some college romance novels—and have found 10 that make the Dean's List.
You’ve likely read (or heard about) the valedictorian of the genre, Jamie McGuire’s Beautiful Disaster, so it's time to graduate to something new. The books below earn Honors for delivering the sexiest, most adorable campus swoons this side of the quad.
Remember your reaction to the ending of One Day? We experienced the same feelings while reading Love Story, the Erich Segal classic about a Harvard jock who falls for a bookish music student. Despite their differences, Oliver and Jenny's passionate relationship lasts beyond their college greens, though it meets an end even Nicholas Sparks would cry over. The 1970 adaptation starring Ali MacGraw and Ryan O’Neal has topped many a “Most Romantic Films” list.
Cath may be a loner at the University of Nebraska, but things are very different on the internet. As the author of the ultra-popular “Simon Snow” fanfiction, she has legions of fans hanging on her every word. But when Cath meets Levi—a charming friend of her roommate's—their slow-burn romance seems straight out of a storybook. Where one of Rowell's other novels, Eleanor & Park, stomped all over your heart, this tale of first love and growing up will give you the warm and fuzzies.
The Year We Fell Down
Confined to a wheelchair after suffering from a spinal cord injury, hockey player Corey is feeling lost. Her new friendship with Hartley—the temporarily handicapped boy who lives across the hall—begins to mend her broken pieces. Though Hartley is off-limits, the pair's similarities spark so many butterflies that their dining hall dinners feel like date nights. But Corey has already fallen once this year, and it shattered her dreams...Is she really willing to fall again, at the cost of her heart?
RELATED: 10 Great New Adult Romance Books
A Little Something Different
This quirky novel certainly lives up to its name: fourteen different characters chronicle the blooming romance between Gabe and Lea. From the Starbucks barista to the delivery guy, everyone is rooting for the two students to take their flirting one step further. If the multiple perspectives deter you, don’t worry! Sandy Hall weaves them into such a perfect whole, your heart might grow fourteen sizes larger. With so many different perspective it only adds depth to the Gabe and Lea and it places you right next to them as you see their interactions through other people. Isn't that how the world works? We can't really read others like books, it's just not possible. This book is refreshing and enjoyable as everyone roots for Gabe and Lea but will they be able to figure it out?
Wait for You
Freshman Avery Morgansten has had enough drama to last a lifetime. Desperate to escape the memories of a night gone wrong, she’s put thousands of miles between herself and the past. All Avery wants to do is live an average college life and build a bright future for herself. But an unexpected fling with Cameron, a sexy guy she meets, threatens to turn things all topsy-turvy—and hot 'n' heavy—until Avery’s ghosts come creeping back. Nobody ever said first love would be easy... Avery wants to silence her past but someone won't let her. Can Cam be the one to break down her walls or will Avery continue to push away love? Lots of fun, good laughs, and steamy scenes, you won't want to put it down!
For Ellie, the University of Texas has become a refuge from her mother’s verbal abuse. She’s about to find an even greater comfort in the arms of Gunner Mathews, a hot footballer with a passion for ranching (bonus: he also bakes!). But as the best friend of Ellie’s older brother, things become a bit, well, complicated. Will Ellie’s insecurities and family dramas sabotage their relationship, or will she finally accept that she’s truly worth wanting? Even though they're young, these two share an emotional maturity that hits you smack-dab in the feels.
Pepper is a girl with a crush and a mission. To woo her best friend’s brother, Hunter, she’ll graduate from “Hardly Been Kissed” to a “Vixen of the Bedroom.” With the help of her college friends, she's found the perfect teacher in bartender Reece. But Reece is nothing like the player she expected, and what starts as a lesson in attraction soon turns into something much deeper. Foreplay is everything it should be: fun, flirty, and so deliciously titillating you’re left wanting more—which shouldn't be a problem since there are two more books in the series!
On a Tuesday
Grayson was never supposed to fall in love with his virginal tutor, Charlotte, but fate had other plans. After months of playing Charlotte's diligent student, Grayson taught her a lesson she'd never find in her textbooks...and their relationship quickly sparked into a full-on, passionate romance. Despite their post-graduation plans, Charlotte disappears and leaves Grayson and their college love behind. Now it's seven years later, and an unexpected reunion brings them back together...Can they finally get it right the second time around?
The Lord Won't Mind
Author Gordon Merrick was one of the first to bring homosexual relationships to mainstream audiences; and like all timeless romances, this LGBT classic is still as sexy as it was when he first wrote it. Charles is a stand-up guy who thinks he has everything he needs—that is, until he meets Peter, and discovers what he’s been missing. Set in a time when homophobia was sweeping the nation, Charles and Peter must decide if they’ll be ruled by society expectations, or by their hearts.
RELATED: 10 Gay Romance Books You'll Love
Ties That Bind
Amidst the upheaval of the 1960s, college sweethearts Randolph and Jenna face their own crises. Randolph knows he's found The One, but his family's prejudices throw a wrench in his plans for a HEA. As Randolph and Jenna navigate the rocky terrain of the Civil Rights Movement, the Vietnam War, semester exams, and college friendships, they come to realize the path of love is never straightforward—but it’s still so worth exploring.
Featured still from "Love Story" via Paramount Pictures