Best books set in school

orangutan list

Well, it’s that time of year again, summer holidays have been and gone (how?!) and many students/teachers are heading back to school… but fear not! It doesn’t have to be all bad because we have books! And in books, school can be a lot more fun… I mean some of them teach you spells for one thing 😉 I decided to take a mixture of different settings and themes and even share some books set in college. Let’s don our freshly pressed uniforms and boldly go where many people have gone before, shall we?

graduating monkey

Harry_Potter_and_the_Philosopher's_Stone_Book_CoverHarry Potter– let’s be real, Hogwarts is absolute *magic* and everyone’s dream school (yes, even with the crazy teachers, deadly activities and Forbidden Forest)

groosham grangeGroosham Grange– sure, this might not be the happiest take on schools, but you can’t deny it’s a lot of fun to be swept up in this E-V-I-L education system. I know that, as a kid, I’d have rather gone here than my actual school… (dunno what that says about the English education system 😉)

wizard heirWizard Heir– such an underrated book!! You guys know I love the author, but any opportunity I get to rave about this story I’ll take. This may be a less positive representation of a school… yet it’s no less fun to read!

naughtiest girl in the schoolNaughtiest Girl in School– I know a lot of people grew up with Malorie Towers, but for some reason, my mum gave me these… I wonder if she was sending me a subliminal message about how I should behave in school? 😉

wonderWonder– I just love what a life-affirming story about kindness this is- there aren’t enough of these around!

stargirlStargirl– this is such an important book about being different and how that impacts people in a school environment- a must read!

never let me goNever Let Me Go– okay, in a far, far darker vein, Hailsham may seem like an ordinary boarding school, but readers will soon find there’s more to it than there seems.

anna and the french kissAnna and the French Kiss– on a lighter note, I just love the setting of Paris and this school seems GREAT! (one thing that I didn’t get about the narrator for ages is that she complains about going here?!)

always-and-forever-lara-jean-9781481430487_hrAlways and Forever– one thing that the finale for the Lara Jean series did exceptionally well was exploring the challenge that is graduating from school and moving on to college. I thought this was such a great representation, because it didn’t just go the *oh look you get the college of your dreams and life is perfect* route- which is perpetuated by a lot of books/movies but is unfortunately unrealistic for most people. Instead, this was about finding your way, in spite of falling just shy of your dreams (and that maybe, just maybe, things can work out when life doesn’t go to plan).

the secret historySecret History– moving up in the education system, this is one of the most fascinating books I’ve read recently. Its portrayal of college and learning really struck a chord with me… apart from the fact I was completely gripped by the murder mystery aspect of course 😉

unseen academicalsUnseen Academicals– to be fair, this book is more about football (the most beautiful game in the world) but I had to squeeze the Unseen University into this list somewhere, didn’t I? Plus, this book is a lot of fun, so you’re welcome for the recommendation 😉

viciousVicious– alright, admittedly not all of this book is set in uni, but one of the most significant parts is and it deserves a shoutout for being an ambitious book about ambition (also did I mention lately that I love it)

american pandaAmerican panda– even if the germaphobe aspect wasn’t to my personal taste, one of the things I can safely say this book did best was dealing with the struggles of finding yourself.

FangirlWIPFangirl– another fantastic book about finding out who you are in a modern college setting, Rowell’s story will feel relatable to a lot of young adults.

180 seconds180 Seconds– and finally, I’m off the list with a super sweet and yet emotional rollercoaster of a romance! Set in college, this definitely delivers when it comes to *feels*.

radio silenceAnd just when you thought “this post can’t get any longer”, I have to add a bonus book I recently finished and was well worth the hype: Radio Silence! What a fantastic story about school, growing up and being creative!!

So do you agree with any of my choices? Do you have any books set in school you’d like to add? Let me know in the comments!


99 thoughts on “Best books set in school

  1. I like that you included some college settings up there (Loved American Panda, Fangirl, 180 Seconds). I am a fan of the Anna series too. I have a thing for boarding school books. LJ is forever in my heart, and Wonder!!! That book just made my heart explode. I read Suggested Reading this week by David Connis, which takes place in a prep school, and I really loved it.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. The Secret History and Vicious have been on my tbr for far too long! Although i don’t read much YA, i really enjoyed Fangirl, and Harry Potter is absolutely my go-to comfort read at a stressful time like the beginning of a school term.

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  3. So many incredible school books on this list…though I’d be more eager to attend some of these schools than others 😉 I completely agree with what you said about Always and Forever Lara Jean, and Radio Silence, Fangirl, and (obviously) Harry Potter are among my favorite school-related books. I really need to read The Secret History too!!

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  4. Great list! I love The Secret History and Never Let Me Go (and of course Harry Potter!) Have you ever read Libba Bray’s Gemma Doyle trilogy (A Great and Terrible Beauty, Rebel Angels, The Sweet Far Thing)? It’s got some great YA fantasy boarding school action.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thank you! I have actually- I really liked the first one, but wasn’t as crazy about the second (it was so long ago that I can’t remember why and can’t remember if I read the third). I do get why people like it though- it’s a very cool concept and well written.

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  5. I thought that I’d read lots of books set in schools, but then I couldn’t find them on my GR list, I think some of my YA reads has school aged kids, but the school setting wasn’t a main theme.
    I did find 3 that I could recommend.
    The Misper by Bea Davenport is set around English teenagers and a friendship made at school, with a missing schoolgirl. It is a ya thriller.
    The Lonely Life Of Biddy Weir by Lesley Allen is a heart-wrenching book about school bullying and that too is set in England.
    The Boyfriend Whisperer by Linda Budzinski is a fun ya romance and is set in America around kids at a school.

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    1. Yeah I thought that as well, until I started making this list 😉
      ooh I like ya thrillers- so that’s definitely up my street!
      Lonely life of biddy weir sounds so good as well.
      And I like the sound of boyfriend whisperer too 🙂
      Thank you so much for the recs!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I marked this post Save for Later (thanks, Feedly) as I want to add some of these titles to my Goodreads.

    One of my favorite books when I was a kid that was set in school is pretty dated, but I’ll name it anyway. The Ghosts Who Went To School by Judith Spearing.

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    1. Oh wow! I jumped on Goodreads to look at that and it’s a series from the 1930’s!! How cool is that??? It’s funny to read the reviews…everything from “Sweet and delightful” to comparing it to the North Korean regime.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. lol I remember it was a bit weird. I always remember a part in one book where the main char, can’t remember her name, saved a boy who was drowning. She “lifted his arms above his head and down again” to “pump the water from his lungs”. Obviously a time before CPR 😛

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  7. I’ve only read Harry Potter on this list, oops!! I’ve seen a couple of titles here that I’m totally want to get though, so I’m excited for that. If I can get my hands on any of them soon, that would be the bestttt since I’ve started back at school and can always use a dreamy, school-set book to get me more in the mood haha

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  8. I remember loving Stargirl, Fangirl, and Never Let Me Go back in College. This is making me want to reread my old faves! I’ve yet to read the other in the list 🙂

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  9. There are myriad mystery/thriller novels set in schools that I have greatly enjoyed over the years. The most recent being “The Scholar” by Dervla McKiernan and “Dying Truth” by Angela Marsons. Past favourites include “The Secret Place” by Tana French and “Well schooled in murder” by Elizabeth George to name but two…

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  10. The Chocolate War by Robert Cormier. With bullying rampant in today’s schools, this book published in 1974 is still valid.

    Gentlemen and Players by Joanne Harris. The privileged students in an English school run the show until a new teacher reveals the old, evil hierarchy. Clever and engaging.

    May I ask how many books you read each year?

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Rainbow Rowell is great, isn’t she? I liked “Fangirl” and “Eleanor & Park”.

    I’d contribute another book — “And Both Were Young” by Madeline L’Engle. The setting is a Swiss boarding school with an awkward, talented American girl who has trouble fitting in. It’s not as well known as “A Wrinkle in Time” but still very good.

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  12. This list gave me many books that I am going to add to my reading list. I read Stargirl and Wonder a few years ago and loved them! I am most looking forward to reading 180 Seconds. Thanks for the suggestions!

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