Boarding school books have become pretty popular again in the last few years. These novels are often coming-of-age stories that highlight the potentially difficult time referred to as adolescence (or high school). They offer escape and connection. Solace and tension.
But what happens when one book is done and the boarding school blues set in? For your reading (or book suggesting) convenience, I’ve created a list of fiction boarding school books for young readers below. To make more guided choices, I’ve broken the list down by genres, but please be aware that many books overlap within these genres.
Please let me know if you think something should be added to this list.
If you love drama and all things boarding school, try:
[Unless otherwise noted, all annotations provided by the Library of Congress Catalog in Publication]
For Fantasy/Sci-Fi Fans:
After the suspicious death of her mother in 1895, sixteen-year-old Gemma returns to England, after many years in India, to attend a finishing school where she becomes aware of her magical powers and ability to see into the spirit world.
Rescued from the outrageous neglect of his aunt and uncle, a young boy with a great destiny proves his worth while attending Hogwarts School for Witchcraft and Wizardry.
Hailsham seems like a pleasant English boarding school, far from the influences of the city. Within the grounds, Kathy grows from schoolgirl to young woman, but it’s only when she and her friends Ruth and Tommy leave the safe grounds of the school (as they always knew they would) that they realize the full truth of what Hailsham is.
Sophie Mercer discovered that she was a witch. When she attracts too much human attention, her dad decides her punishment: exile to Hex Hall, an isolated reform school for wayward Prodigium, a.k.a. witches, faeries, and shapeshifters. [From Goodreads.com]
For Paranormal Romance Fans:
After a killing for which she feels responsible, sixteen-year-old Ashline Wilde moves cross-country to a remote California boarding school, where she learns that she and others have special gifts that can help them save the world, but evil forces are at work to stop them. [Also for fans of Greek Mythology]
Two years after a horrible incident made them run away, vampire princess Lissa and her guardian-in-training Rose are found and returned to St. Vladimir’s Academy, where one focuses on mastering magic, the other on physical training, while both try to avoid the perils of gossip, cliques, gruesome pranks, and sinister plots.
Sixteen-year-old Bianca, a new girl at the sinister Evernight boarding school, finds herself drawn to another outsider, Jared, but dark forces threaten to tear them apart and destroy Bianca’s entire world.
For Realistic/Contemporary Fiction Fans:
Sixteen-year-old Miles’ first year at Culver Creek Preparatory School in Alabama includes good friends and great pranks, but is defined by the search for answers about life and death after a fatal car crash.
When Anna’s romance-novelist father sends her to an elite American boarding school in Paris for her senior year of high school, she reluctantly goes, and meets an amazing boy who becomes her best friend, in spite of the fact that they both want something more.
Sophomore Frankie starts dating senior Matthew Livingston, but when he refuses to talk about the all-male secret society that he and his friends belong to, Frankie infiltrates the society in order to enliven their mediocre pranks.
When Alex, a junior at an elite preparatory school, realizes that she may have been the victim of date rape, she confides in her roommates and sister who convince her to seek help from a secret society, the Mockingbirds.
Abandoned by her drug-addicted mother at the age of eleven, high school student Taylor Markham struggles with her identity and family history at a boarding school in Australia.
When her aunt and uncle take her from New Mexico to Lugano, Switzerland, to attend an international school, thirteen-year-old Dinnie discovers an expanding world and her place within it.
At an elite Massachusetts boarding school, three fifteen-year-old girls of very different backgrounds discover a common bond and form a club to plot revenge against their evil stepmothers.
Seventeen-year-old Destiny keeps a painful childhood secret all to herself until she and three classmates from her exclusive boarding school take off on an unauthorized road trip in search of “one fair day.”
An insightful, achingly funny coming-of-age story as well as a brilliant dissection of class, race, and gender in a hothouse of adolescent angst and ambition. [From Goodreads.com]
When one of their tightly-knit group mysteriously disappears, four high school girls find their friendship difficult to maintain when they begin receiving taunting messages from someone who seems to know everything about their past and present secrets.
√ The Education of Hailey Kendrick by Eileen Cook: Dating a popular boy and adhering to every rule ever written, a high school senior at an elite Vermont boarding school begins to shed her good girl identity after an angry incident with her distant father.
Wealthy Massie is determined to exclude middle class Claire, the daughter of her father’s old friend, from her seventh-grade clique at a very exclusive private school in Westchester, New York, but after Massie steals her only friend, Claire strikes back.
For Mystery Fans:
When the Landmark School for Girls’ van carrying an art teacher and six students disappears near an ice-covered lake on the way back from a field trip, twelve-year-old Jeri desperately wants to help but everything she tries seems to make the situation worse.
*Did I miss something? What’s your favorite boarding school book?*