Boarding School Novels

By Jennifer K.

I did not go to a fancy private boarding school. I don’t think I know anyone who did.

But I do love a novel set in a fancy private boarding school. I guess it’s the idea of all these kids, far from their families and with no one to rely upon but each other, in a place that’s full of secrets and mysteries. Or maybe it’s the glamour of implied wealth, and lots of it.

Maybe it’s the glamour of Hogwarts.

I’m not alone, because there are a lot of novels about the boarding school experience. I prefer the slightly-creepy ones, the ones with an element of mystery: what’s really going on within these ivy-covered halls?

Here are a few of my favorites:

The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks by E. Lockhart

When Frankie learns of a secret society at her boarding school, of course she wants in. And when she finds out that it’s boys only, of course she hatches a plan to secretly take it over and bend it to her will. A great book about a very smart girl who doesn’t let systemic misogyny stop her – and learns the hard way that people don’t always like that.


The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson

This sounds like a classic fish-out-of-water scenario: an American girl in a posh British boarding school. But this story isn’t going where you think. There’s a gruesome serial killer, a lot of supernatural scares, and a cliffhanger ending that will make you desperate for the sequel.


I’d Tell You I Love You, But Then I’d Have to Kill You by Ally Carter

Welcome to Gallagher Academy, which looks like a regular boarding school but is actually a school for elite special agents. This tale of an elite spy-in-training is the first in a silly, drama-filled, addictive series.


Want even more adventures in boarding schools? Check out this list!

We’d love to hear about your favorite boarding school novels! Tell us about them in the comments.



2 responses to “Boarding School Novels”

  1. Sheri McKnight says:

    A long time favorite of mine, Daddy Long Legs, by Jean Webster. I don’t want to send a spoiler, so suffice it to say there is a sweet twist in this story about an orphan who goes to college and lives in the dorm. Maybe it wasn’t a true boarding school, but it had that same ‘family away from home’ atmosphere. I read it when I was ten and reading about college life was entrancing.

  2. Melleny says:

    The Forgotten Book by Mechthild Gläser is another great one.

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