11 Books to Read Before College
College is an exciting—and challenging—time for most Christians. Surrounded by new people, new ideas, and new possibilities, your faith will be stretched and grown. Build a solid foundation of faith and prepare for these important conversations with your classmates by reading the 11 books below before you begin this big adventure.
1. Mere Christianity by C. S. Lewis
Adapted from a series of talks for the BBC during World War II, this book is considered by many to be Lewis’s masterpiece. While theologically heavy, this book is easy to digest and conversational in tone. It will serve any student as a solid primer of the Christian faith—and with its apologetics-heavy nature, it’ll be a great book to reference when you interact with friends who are curious about your faith.
2. What’s So Amazing About Grace by Philip Yancey
This classic focuses on the nature of grace—a subject that’s never easy to understand, and never more necessary to grasp than during your college years. Read this book to investigate and embrace the life-changing nature of God’s grace.
3. Blue Like Jazz: Nonreligious Thoughts on Christian Spirituality by Donald Miller
Blue Like Jazz is about Miller’s own experiences living in Portland and auditing classes at nearby Reed College, the self-proclaimed “most godless campus in America.” As cool and funny as it is honest, Blue Like Jazz is the kind of book you’ll want to read more than once. If you’ve ever wondered if you can be a smart, thinking young adult and still be a Christian, this book is for you.
4. Kisses from Katie: A Story of Relentless Love and Redemption by Katie Davis
This New York Times bestseller focuses on the story of an 18-year-old girl from Nashville who, feeling called by God, decided to forego college and move to Uganda to become an adoptive mother of 13 Ugandan girls. This book is an encouragement to any teen who’s felt the tension of what you’re “supposed to do after high school” and what God is calling you to do—no matter how crazy it sounds.
5. The Case for Christ (Student Edition): A Journalist’s Personal Investigation of the Evidence for Jesus by Lee Strobel
Feeling unsure if you really believe? This book follows the true story of Lee Strobel, an atheist and a journalist who set out to prove that Jesus’ life couldn’t have been as miraculous as it sounded. Through careful investigation and tough questions, Strobel walked through the life of Jesus—and was surprised by what he found.
6. Girl Meets God: On the Path to a Spiritual Life by Lauren Winner
Lauren Winner starts her journey in Girl Meets God as an Orthodox Jew, but, finding herself more and more drawn to Christianity, she eventually converts. She then walks through a year in her new Christian life, as she works to understand, from a fresh perspective, what being a Christian is really about.
7. Do Hard Things: A Teenage Rebellion Against Low Expectations by Alex and Brett Harris