10 YA Books Featuring College-Aged Characters

10 ya books with college characters-min

Love young adult books but looking for something with slightly older characters? Looking for something in new adult with with a young adult feel? All these books feature characters 18 years or older.


Emergency Contact

Emergency Contact by Mary H. K. Choi

A girl studying writing in college and a boy working at a café as he hopes to make it big as a movie director exchange numbers–and secrets.

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Alex and Eliza

Alex and Eliza by Melissa De la Cruz

Alexander Hamiton (20-22 depending on his actual birth date) meets Elizabeth Schuyler at a ball.  And suddenly begins a romance that will stand the tests of the American Revolution.

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Where She Went by Gayle Foreman

Mia left Adam and is now attending Julliard.  But a chance encounter throws her and Adam back together.  Can romance ever be rekindled?

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Save the Date

Save the Date by Morgan Matson

Charlie Grant, the youngest of her siblings, is excited to have her family come together again for her sister’s wedding.  However, it seems as if everything is going wrong, and it’s up to Charlie and the cute wedding planner’s assistant to save the day. (Charlie is a high school senior, but the love interest(s) are in college, as are a couple of Charlie’s older siblings.)

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We Are Still Torndoes

We Are Still Tornadoes by Michael Kun and Susan Mullen

Scott and Cath have been best friends through high school, but can their friendship weather their differences when Cath goes off to college and Scott decides to pursue his music instead?

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Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

Cath and her twin sister Wren have always loved the Simon Snow books.  Now that they’re off to college and they seem to be growing apart, Cath finds solace in writing Simon Snow fan fiction.  But will Cath also find a way to enjoy her college years?

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Steelheart by Brandon Sanderson

Steelheart (the Reckoners trilogy) by Brandon Sanderson

One day Calamity appeared in the sky and soon after Epics appeared–previously normal people now possessed of superpowers.  David watched one Epic–Steelheart–kill his father.  Now it’s his mission to kill Steelheart and to end the tyranny of Epics over others.

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Divergent by Veronica Roth

Sixteen-year-old Beatrice Prior lives in a world divided into factions. Her family servers Abnegation, but Tris, when asked to choose, casts her lot with the bold Dauntless.  But everything is not as it seems.  Tris has been warned that she harbors a secret that the government would do anything to destroy.  Fortunately, she has her new boyfriend, eighteen-year-old Tobias, to help her find her way.

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Batgirl of Burnside

Batgirl, Vol. 1: The Batgirl of Burnside by Cameron Stewart, et al

Barbara Gordon’s age in this volume is a little nebulous.  One could easily imagine her as a senior in college working on her thesis or as a grad student.  Either way, Barbara participates in all the partying and  hook-ups that have become associated with contemporary college culture.

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I Am the Messenger by Markus Zusak

Nineteen-year-old cab driver Ed Kenned is living life as usual until the day he receives a message. Now he drives around the city doing good for others.  But can he turn his own life around?

9 thoughts on “10 YA Books Featuring College-Aged Characters

    • Krysta says:

      I’d forgotten Fangirl is considered NA because I see it categorized frequently as YA. I suppose because NA never took off and it makes sense to shelve it with Rowell’s YA books. Kind of like how all of L.M. Montgomery books get shelved as MG because librarians must assume that is the best place for Anne of Green Gables fans to find her other books. I got The Blur Castle from the kids’ section the other day. Oddly, it is labelled as younger MG even though it is an adult novel.

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  1. Elizabeth Thomas says:

    There’s also a great YA book by Nina LaCour called We Are Okay. It features two girls of college age, and while it does flip between the present and their past in high school, I was excited to see something with older characters in the YA section.

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