Top Ten Books Set at a Boarding School

With school quickly approaching and my exponential love for all things YA, of course my pick for this week’s Top Ten Tuesday setting theme, brought to you by Broke and the Bookish, is boarding school! I’ve started a few new series recently, spanning from YA contemporary to mysteries to thrillers, all YA and all at a boarding school.

Now, I’ve never been to boarding school, but the one aspect of all the books I’ve read set at one have one thing in common. Freedom. Freedom to move about, freedom to set your own rules (within reason), freedom to be your own person away from parental expectations… The characters I’ve met are ten times more mature than I was at their age, living mini adult lives while still abiding to a curfew.


A Study in Charlotte by Brittany Cavallaro

In Cavallaro’s series, Jamie Watson and Charlotte Holmes meet in the most unsuspecting of places, an American prep school. Both on the run from gossip and family tensions, their past catches up to them as someone frames the duo for murder. A great YA twist on a classic story!


Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by Jack Thorne

Is it even possible to curate a list of boarding school novels and not include at least one of the Harry Potter books?? Written by Jack Thorne, based on the novels by J. K. Rowling, the Cursed Child follows the friendship between Harry’s son Albus and Draco’s son Scorpius.


A World Without You by Beth Revis

A World Without You explores the dichotomy between perception and reality. Seventeen year old Bo believes he attends a school for those with special abilities in order to learn control over his power, the ability to travel in time. In reality, Bo is enrolled to a school for children with special needs. Desperate to save his lost girlfriend, Bo will have to decide to face reality or succumb to his psychosis.


Every Heart a Doorway by Seanan McGuire

Breaking news: Every Heart a Doorway is going to be a series!!! Like everyone else at Eleanor West’s Home for Wayward Children, Nancy has been ripped from her magical home and her doorway gone, maybe forever. When tragedy strikes, their refuge under Eleanor’s care is put in jeopardy and their search for home more perilous than ever.


The Girls by Emma Cline

 In The Girls, Evie Boyd is a lost girl. Emotionally abandoned by her family and without a friend to lean on, Evie is easily mesmerized by an older group of girls living at a Manson Family style cult. With a newfound freedom to choose her own path, Evie will struggle with the decision to either stay or return home. Her story ends as she ultimately returns to boarding school, but her experiences with the cult will leave you absolutely haunted.


Prep by Curtis Sittenfeld

It’s been years since I’ve read Prep, but it has made a lasting impression. Lee Flora leaves the familiarity and happiness of South Bend, Indiana to join the ranks of elite students at the prestigious Ault School in Massachusetts. Between her intense friendships and almost relationships, Lee’s story explores the world of adolescence and the difficult choices that shape who we are, and who we’ll become.


Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte

The original tale of  boarding school, this list would be nothing without Jane Eyre! Her formative years are spend at Lowood School, a morally strict charity school for young girls. Full of yearning and self respect, Jane settles for nothing in her search for a life of her own.


A Separate Peace by John Knowles

Set at a boarding school during World War II, A Separate Peace follows the friendship of Gene and Phineas as they come of age in the most harrowing of times. A high school must-read and an American classic, this is not one to miss.


A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett

Sara Crewe is an amazingly imaginative and blessed child, but when her father is tragically killed in action, her life becomes anything but a fairy tale. Now penniless and desperate, she’s banished to the attic at her school and forced to work as a servant. But always hopeful, she’ll find a fortune in friendship.


Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro

This has been on my TBR for a while now. Kathy, Ruth and Tommy have grown up together at the exclusive Hailsham boarding school in the English countryside. Between the mysterious façade of the school and the dangerous relationships they forge, only by looking back will they understand how special they truly are.

What books are on your list?





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