6 Books I'd Pull An All-Nighter Reading Before An Exam
Start writing a post

6 Books I'd Pull An All-Nighter Reading Before An Exam

The struggle of not being able to put down an addictive book is real.

6 Books I'd Pull An All-Nighter Reading Before An Exam
McKenna Schueler

Some books are just too good.

Too good for studying. Too good for you to think about literally anything else until you've reached the final page.

This isn't a list of my favorite books because some of those I was able to put down (or had to because, well, sometimes you need to take a break from greatness). With these, however, I did not have that luxury.

The books below are those I'd risk exacerbating my insomnia for. Books I would, as stated in the title of this article, pull an all-nighter reading before a major exam at school. They will have you in whatever kind of figurative choke-hold books can.

1. The "Red Rising trilogy" by Pierce Brown

"I am the Reaper.
I know how to suffer.
I know the darkness.
This is not how it ends."
Highlights: Exemplary female characters, many lovable characters in general, gripping tale, includes rebellion against a hierarchy comparable to our reality's racism.

This is the most recent novel I've read on the list. The "Red Rising" trilogy is a dystopian series that makes itself stand out among the blowup of the genre, from what I assume was due to the hype of series like "The Hunger Games." The setting begins on Mars, so we get to fast-forward through the 'Earth is dying, we need other options' dilemma. I'm not a huge fan of books set in space, to be honest. Sci-fi isn't really my thing. The first book was recommended to me years ago and I only just picked it up a few weeks ago—but man, was that my mistake. The first fifty to one hundred pages of the first book are a little slow as the plot and setting is set up, but once things get going, they really get going. That bookworm thought of just one more chapter becomes just until I reach the end and it's 3 a.m. and I'm crying.

If I'd had all three of the books on hand when I got a hold of the first book, I probably would have done nothing else for however long it took for me to read all three. As it was, I had to wait a few agonizing days between books in order to get copies from my county's libraries.

One last plus of this series—as well as some below—is that it fits into what's known as new adult fiction; fiction with protagonists between the ages of 18-30, therefore older than the typical protagonist in young adult novels, but sometimes younger than those in general fiction. As an almost-21 year old college student, it's really cool to be able to read books with protagonists my own age.

2. "Carry On" by Rainbow Rowell

“Just when you think you're having a scene without Simon, he drops in to remind you that everyone else is a supporting character in his catastrophe.”
Highlights: diverse cast (POC and LGBTQ representation), the nostalgia, highly readable.

This is over 500 pages of the most entertaining not-fanfiction-but-almost-fanfiction I've ever read. The story behind it is one of the best parts, as the book started out as merely a reference in another book by the author, "Fangirl." In it, the protagonist writes "Carry On" fan-fiction. From what readers are first introduced to in "Fangirl," the story of "Carry On" characters Simon, Baz and Penelope is eerily similar to that of Harry Potter, with a "Chosen One" and other characters comparable to Malfoy, Hermione, Voldemort and Dumbledore.

In this full-length novel, however, Rainbow Rowell has the space to differentiate the story from the Harry Potter series. The entire thing is magical, hilarious and now one of my favorites. It's long, yes, but you blow through it so fast you'll wish there was more. You don't need to read "Fangirl" before reading "Carry On" as it's a stand-alone, but if you're like me, you'll want to read every other Rainbow Rowell book once you read your first of hers anyway.

If you need the nostalgia of your Harry Potter childhood without having the time to tackle a seven-part series, "Carry On" is for you.

3. "The Grisha Trilogy" by Leigh Bardugo

“He has served countless kings, faked countless deaths, bided his time, waiting for you.”
Highlights: enchanting, great world-building, contains one of my favorite lit characters of all-time ("the Darkling")

The Grisha trilogy is a high-fantasy series set in the the fictional nation, Ravka. The protagonist, Alina Starkov, faces a new world of challenges when she discovers she's not merely human but rather blessed—or cursed—with the powers of the Grisha. With a power unique from most other Grisha, Alina is whisked away to the palace of the Darkling, the leader of the magical elite. Her introduction to this new life of power and magic is a stark difference from what she's previously known, and she's doubtful she can live up to the expectations of those around her. Evil and plot twists arrive at different turns, and you'll probably need the sequel in your hands ASAP after you finish the first installment.

The trilogy has a darker, gothic feel that I appreciate; books with perky pixies, elves and cuteness can't always cut it for me. Especially before a big exam where nothing is or can be cute.

I used to be turned off by high-fantasy novels because of the large amount of information you're introduced to as the author describes an imagined world so different from our own. But reading about the world of the Grisha is what convinced me to give the fantasy genre another chance.

4. Basically any book by Ellen Hopkins

“The bad thing about fear
Is it requires a reaction. Some hide.
Some cry. But, like a dog condemned
to a walled yard with no hope
of escape or affection, some learn
to bite.”
Highlights: format, tackles the tough issues, very quotable

Ellen Hopkins' books are written as a series of poems, and that format itself was what kept me from picking them up for a while. But the thing is, it doesn't read like any of the intimidating poetry you might have been introduced to in school. As you slip into the story, the format won't even bother you anymore, if poetry isn't usually your thing. They're not separate poems, they're a story.

I can't pick just one of her books to recommend. All of her books are gripping, and what makes them addicting (no pun intended) is the subjects she tackles in her books—drug addiction, eating disorders, sex trafficking, abuse, sexuality and religion. It's not just a middle-age woman writing about what she thinks she knows; they're realistic, and one thing I respect about her is that she's consulted real-life victims and survivors in order to do the subject matter and struggles justice. She's also written from experience, as the mother of a young woman who struggles with addiction.

Personal recommendations: "Identical," "Impulse," "Tricks," and "Traffick."

5. "The Bone Season" by Samantha Shannon

“Madness is a matter of perspective, little dreamer.”
Highlights: strong protagonist, romance that's not overwhelming/focal, diversity (LGBT, POC), new adult fiction, awesome author

"The Bone Season" begins in London in the year 2059. The story contains nefarious, corrupt authorities we're accustomed to fearing and discrimination of what are called "voyants"—individuals that have the power of clairvoyance. But these aren't just your typical psychics; rather, there is a hierarchy of voyants ranging from those who can be possessed by and carry out actions of the dead, to voyants like the protagonist, nineteen-year old Paige—known as the "Dreamwalker." In this dystopian reality, clairvoyance is considered criminal.

There are gangs and the underground scene, but when Paige is captured early on and taken to an abandoned makeshift prison in the Oxford area, we're introduced to a crowd we really have to fear—the Rephaite. The Rephaite are a nonhuman race that enslave voyants under the radar and force them to do their bidding. Tall with metallic skin and a hardness to them, each Rephaite acts as a slave-keeper of voyants, and Paige doesn't have any reason to believe her keeper, Warden, is any different than the rest of them. Not at first.

There's romance, but more importantly, there's bravery, strong characters and that page-turning quality that landed the book on this list. The author has stated that the series will be seven books long, and currently published are the first and second books. The third is set to be released early next year.

Besides the amazing story, the author also wrote the book when she was a university student herself—a published author before she turned 22. If that's not inspiring to young writers, I don't know what is.

6. "John Dies at the End" by David Wong

"Watch out for Molly. See if she does anything unusual. There’s something I don’t trust about the way she exploded and then came back from the dead like that.”
Highlights: dry humor, ridiculously entertaining, the synopsis that won't let you pass the book by

Alright, "John Dies at the End" is hilarious. One of the funniest things I've ever read and so entertaining. When I first read it, I was going through a stage where I kept a highlighter near me while reading so I could highlight my favorite passages. Let's just say my copy of this is pretty well marked.

The two main characters here are twenty-somethings, Dave and John. Over the course of a crazy night, the two are introduced to a strange substance called "Soy Sauce" that leads to death, human possession, monsters, hallucinations...it's nothing you'll buy on the streets in our reality. Yet. All those that have had even a small taste are given a window into a separate dimension. The novel jumps some in time, from when Dave and John first discover the drug to however much time passes before they've figured out how to deal with it to some degree.

I'll warn you, the kind of humor within isn't for everyone. It can be crude. But if you think you'd be into the kind of dry, sarcastic, sometimes crude humor it contains, I can tell you it's a book you'll never be able—or want—to forget.

I hope anyone who has at least skimmed this has found a book or two or six to add to their to-read list.

Happy reading, and good luck studying after the book hangover you'll get after reading any of these.

Report this Content
This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.

23 Pandemic-Approved Date Ideas That'll Send Sparks Flying From Six Feet Apart

There's a safe way to date right now and yes, it includes masks.


While some people would rather opt out of dating altogether during the pandemic so they don't have to wear a mask on a first date, others are choosing to listen to both guidelines and their heart in order to find love during the time of coronavirus (COVID-19).

Should you be one of the individuals welcoming romance right now, there are pandemic-approved dates you can go on that still adhere to guidelines (and yes, you'll have to wear a mask).

Keep Reading... Show less

I didn't believe the notification when it came through to my phone: Ruth Bader Ginsburg had died from complications due to cancer.

Keep Reading... Show less

In our patriarchal society, men hide from their feelings, but toxic masculinity is literally killing men. They swallow the pain and move on so that they can look, feel, and act "tough."

But, strength is derived from asking for help and voicing your struggle and, trust me, working on your mental health is one hell of a struggle. The real way to "man up" is to acknowledge the downfalls in unjust societal norms. Mental health problems do not mean that a man is weak, they are neurologically-based disorders that require professional treatment.

Keep Reading... Show less

11 Things Your Boyfriend Should Do Before He Drops $499 On A PS5

Let's start with spending less time gaming and more time with you.


Scrolling through Twitter this week had me rolling on the floor laughing as I read some of the hilarious tweets from ladies who, whether in a relationship or not, shared reactions to the news that PlayStation 5 is on its way

As this "buy your boyfriend a PS5" joke takes off across the internet, let's just say, there are a few things your BF should be doing before dropping $499 on the new gaming system — or, if the tweets are real for some, before you buy it for him as a gift.

Keep Reading... Show less
Politics and Activism

Sorry, But 'I Don’t Care About Politics' Is Not A Valid Excuse For NOT Voting

The younger generation of voters is so crucial to the upcoming election because our vote is going to shape the world that we are about to enter as adults.


When I ask my friends if they are voting this term most of them respond with "no" followed by an explanation of "I don't care enough," "It doesn't affect me," or "I don't keep up with politics," etc. I get it, as a college student I know that there are many other things to be concerned about like school, relationships, work, and friends. I also understand that keeping up with politics can seem like trying to keep up with an over-exaggerated reality show that has way too many seasons. Not to mention most news stations and websites are biased so it's hard to decipher if what you hear is true or fake.

However, despite all of this annoyance, as the next generation of Americans, we have to remember that we owe it to ourselves, our families, and to our futures to care.

Keep Reading... Show less
Tasia Sli

Tasia Sli and Anna Yang met in quintessential New York fashion at a chic rooftop event, inquisitive Yale grad Anna gravitating towards model/entrepreneur Tasia.

Keep Reading... Show less
Photo by Anna Hernández-Buces

"Do you have big parties on Cinco de Mayo?"

Keep Reading... Show less

Two of my favorite things in life are reading and books. Obviously, they go hand-in-hand. In my life, I've realized that there is nothing better than learning about the current world or getting fully immersed in another world. Reading can inspire, teach, and entertain you.

For me, the feeling of opening a book and smelling that fresh book smell can't compete with anything else.

Keep Reading... Show less

Expecting mother and wife to singer/songwriter John Legend may have accidentally slipped up and revealed the gender of her and Legend's third baby today on her Instagram story.

Keep Reading... Show less

20 Books About Latin And Hispanic Heritage Absolutely Everyone Should Have On Their Bookshelf

Any ally of the community needs to be reading these incredible reads.


I go through phases when it comes to what I like to read. I am typically reading two books at any given time: one serious nonfiction and one escapist fiction novel to have on hand and open up depending on my mood.

What remains consistent, however, amongst most of my fellow bibliophiles is a desire to try new and different authors and genres. I, as an Indian woman, have been partial to reading books written by fellow Indian and Desi writers since I first got a library card.

Keep Reading... Show less
Health and Wellness

I Asked 46 Women What They Thought About The Term 'Plus-Size', And Here's What They Had To Say

It's 2020, where change is inevitable and norms are not only questioned, but challenged.


We live in a world where it's become customary to push boundaries, break rules, and question standards upheld by society. Though try as we might, some of these standards are harder to conquer than others — body image is one of the top contenders.

For years, the body positivity movement has pushed for the acceptance of all marginalized body types not represented or celebrated in the media. Recently, we've gotten better at appreciating and accepting all body types, but one thing that's still lingering is the stigma of body image in the fashion industry — more specifically, the term "plus-size."

Keep Reading... Show less

Many popular TV shows are holding off premiers until spring, so most people are relying on their television subscriptions to get them through a socially distant fall semester.

Thankfully, Netflix was busy filming this past year because there is a ton of new original content coming in the near future. From mysteries to romances, here are some of the best new shows you have to check out this year:

Keep Reading... Show less

Taylor Swift Sang 'betty' At The ACMs And It Was The Perfect First Live 'folklore' Performance

I guarantee that Inez is spreading rumors about how fire this performance was.


The Academy of Country Music Awards were last night and the performances were wonderful, but Taylor Swift's live version of "betty" from her newest album "folklore" really took the cake for me.

Keep Reading... Show less
Health and Wellness

9 Reasons I Unfollowed All The Fitness Influencers On My Instagram Feed

I don't need to feel bad about myself because of who I follow on social media.


Throughout quarantine, something that a lot of us picked up on was working out. With all the free time, it seemed like the perfect opportunity to work on that "dream bod" you've been wanting for years, or to just feel good about yourself.

A common way to stay motivated and keep yourself on-task is to follow fitness influencers on various platforms. For some people, yes, this can be a healthy and helpful way to keep your drive. In other cases, however, this can do more harm than good.

Keep Reading... Show less
Facebook Comments