Top Ten / Books Set in School

Top Ten / Books Set in School
I participate in Top Ten Tuesday, hosted by The Broke and the Bookish, and this week the theme is Top Ten Favourite Books With X Setting.

As a teenager, I rarely read books set in schools, probably because I didn’t read that many books aimed at actual teenagers, but also because did not enjoy school very much. Now, in fiction, school seems much more fun – and dangerous. I enjoy watching The OC, One Tree Hill, Pretty Little Liars and Gilmore Girls, and I especially love books set in boarding schools, so here’s ten books with school settings that I have – and haven’t – read.


Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone by J.K. Rowling
All right, let’s just get this one out of the way! I included it as a bonus choice because is there anyone else doing the same theme who won’t pick Harry Potter? Hogwarts is one of the coolest schools of all time. Fact.

The Austere Academy by Lemony Snicket
From the best school ever to the worst school ever, The Austere Academy is my favourite A Series of Unfortunate Events book. Have you not always wanted to go to a school whose motto is Memento Mori (Remember You Will Die)?

Chinese Cinderella and the Secret Dragon Society by Adeline Yen Mah
Chinese Cinderella is a little-known book, but it’s utterly heartbreaking, and this is the sequel. Set during World War II, we see ‘CC’ join the Secret Dragon Society, part of a martial arts school, and join her as she becomes part of the Chinese Resistance movement.

Looking for Alaska by John Green
Who doesn’t secretly wish they could hang out and play pranks with Miles, Alaska and Chip?

Insignia by S.J. Kincaid
Hands up who would like to attend Pentagonal Spire, an elite military academy? I know it’s probably bad and everything, but would totally send my classmates viruses. Also, FIGHTING ROBOTS IN SPACE!

Follow Me Down by Tanya Byrne
But I really would not want to attend this school, Crofton College. Adamma, our protagonist, passionately and loyally deals with some pretty horrific experiences, from the disappearance of her best friend Scarlett to the suspected rape of a school friend.

New Girl by Paige Harbison
Or this school, Manderley. New Girl is a brilliant contemporary young adult retelling of Daphne du Maurier’s Rebecca. You know what happens.

Angels Unlimited by Annie Dalton
‘What’s this doing here?’, you ask. Well, Angels Unlimited was one of my favourite series’ as a young teenager. I wanted to attend Angel Academy, which would enable me to travel back in time to London during the Blitz or meet young Shakespeare. Utterly thrilling!


The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart
I still do not know why I’ve not started this trilogy. It sounds wonderful. “Are you a gifted child looking for special opportunities?” ad attracts dozens for mind-bending tests readers may try. Only two boys and two girls succeed for a secret mission, undercover and underground into hidden tunnels. At the Learning Institute for the Very Enlightened, the only rule is – there are no rules.

The Secret History by Donna Tartt
I picked this up – for only 50p – because I’d heard it was one of the best mystery novels. Richard Papen arrived at Hampden College in New England and was quickly seduced by an elite group of five students. As Richard is drawn into their inner circle, he learns a terrifying secret that binds them to one another…a secret about an incident in the woods in the dead of night where an ancient rite was brought to brutal life…and led to a gruesome death.

The Girls of St. Augustine’s by Margaret H. Ironside
The Girls of St. Augustine’s is one of my favourite old books. It sounds adorable and I cannot wait to read it. I love a good old-fashioned school story.

Honourable mentions: Prep, The Princess Diaries, The Art of Fielding, Night School, Anna and the French Kiss, The Name of the StarSchool of Fear, The Mysterious Howling, Vampire Academy & Bloodlines, and St. Clare’s & Malory Towers.

Top Ten / Books Set in School
What are some of your favourite books set in school?

15 thoughts on “Top Ten / Books Set in School

  1. I used to love the Mallory Towers books by Enid Blyton! Her St Clare’s series was also good! I really like the sound of New Girl, think I’m going to have to add that to my TBR list.

    • If you enjoy adult fiction, I’d definitely suggest reading Rebecca first. I imagine it’s a completely different experience if you’ve not read it before, which may or may not be better, but I found it a lot of fun.

  2. My favorites are “Old School” by Tobias Wolff and the St. Clare’s and HP series.

  3. I second the motion for Malory Towers and St Clare’s! Good idea for a setting – school stories have a charm all their own 🙂

  4. Harry Potter made my list as well!I totally forgot about Looking For Alaska until I saw it on your post!I’m in shock at the moment because it’s a book I love so much. Malory Towers and St.Clare’s made my list. I really want to check out Chinese Cinderella and the Secret Dragon Society. It sounds like something I would like. Great list Stacey!

    • I love that people are including Enid Blyton! I only didn’t include them in the main section as I used St. Clare’s for a previous TTT. I’m also a big advocate of the Malory Towers audiobook.

  5. This is a cool topic choice! I actually LOVED books set in school (and still do) I also loved the angels unlimited series when I was younger! I had almost forgotten about that. Malory Towers and HP would def make my list, along with Vampire Academy, Anna (and Jellicoe Road even though that’s a bit of a tenuous link)


  6. I loved HP as well and will reread it for as long as I live. Hogwarts ftw! I’d love to study there. I didn’t like Alaska as much though, fell short of my expectations.
    Nice list.

    My TTT

  7. I would have never thought of The Austere Academy but you’re so right. Great addition to the list!

    My TTT.

  8. Hi. So, I know I am commenting on a two-year-old post here. I somehow fell down a rabbit hole about boarding school books and landed in this post. That said, you need to read The New Girls by Beth Gutcheon. If you love books about boarding schools, you will love this one. I read it about fifteen years ago, and have read it three times since. It’s that good.

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