A Review of the Best of Non-Textbook Chemistry Help Books

Yes, we all have textbooks.  And usually they are monotonous, boring, and tedious.  They can also way too long, way too in-depth, and over our heads in some sections.  This is why there are supplemental books. Not as in-depth as a text, but explained on a level that we all can understand, these books are the complement to your text to help you understand those more difficult concepts. The one thing to remember is that none of these books will replace your textbook; they should be read along side it.

Below are our favorite of these books, with a little bit of commentary:

300 solved problems
"I like doing problems"---3000 Solved Problems in Chemistry
.  This is the best book for students who love doing LOTS of problems.  Great for HS or college. Best for A or B students. We really like this one.  Link 
AP crash course
"AP is not going well for me" -- AP Chemistry Crash Course Book (with Online help)
.  Very helpful for the AP course, most students who used it report getting a 4 or 5 on the AP.  Obviously not a college book.  Not our favorite book ever but good enough since the crop of AP books is weak right now.  Link 
cartoon chemistry
"I'm visual"--Cartoon Guide to Chemistry
.  Students have polarized feelings on this one.  Most like it, some find it a little dumb.  If you like a nerdy cartoon/joke here or there, this book is for you.  You must have some grasp of high school-level chem before buying it.  Link.  
Ap chemistry flash cards
"Love Flashcards" -- AP Chemistry Flash Cards.
  You can take these places with you and memorize the crap out of them.  Helps you to find your weak spots.  We are not huge fans of memorizing concepts, but flash cards really do help get higher grades.  Link 
organic chemistry as a second language
Organic Chemistry as a Second Language
: This is the cream of the crop for organic chemistry books.  Students LOVE this book.  It explains topics well and is called a sanity saver by lots of students.  It is a little pricey, but probably worth it.  There are both 1st and 2nd semester versions.  Link 
organic chemistry the easy way
Organic Chemistry The Easy Way
: This book is nice for the student that is really struggling.  It is short and hits the major topics.  Does not go very in-depth, but is good if you are having a lot of problems with basics. Link
86 tricks to ace organic chemistry86 Tricks to Ace Organic Chemistry: This book need to be read along side of your text.  If you do, it will expand your understanding of the course by showing you tricks your professors will try to trip you up on.  Link  ace organic chemistry mechanisms with EASE
Ace Organic Chemistry Mechanisms with EASE:
 This book introduces students to the EASE method, a step-wise process for determining the mechanism or product of almost any organic chemistry reaction.  Good for any level of student.  Link 
chemistry concepts and problems
"Doing well in chem, could use some help" -- Chemistry: Concepts and Problems: A Self-Teaching Guide. 
 Great Book for high school or college chemistry.  Plenty of problems and examples. Highly understandable. Link 
chemistry"Make it quick, i'm busy"---Chemistry For Everyone: A Helpful Primer for High School or College.  A very shot book (under 100 pages), which puts chemistry into very simple terms. Probably better suited for someone struggling in high school and not AP or college chemistry. Link

Why these books???  The biggest thing we look for when recommending a supplemental book is understandability.  Textbooks will have all of the information you need, but might not be that easy to understand.  If you are going to get a second book, make sure it is understandable so it can be helpful.  We also took into account price, "learning-level appropriateness" and student comments on the book.  Put it all together and you have our favorites above.