If You Like: Boarding School Edition

If You Like… is a feature highlighting blogger recommendations for books, authors, TV shows, movies, and music based on the things you already know and love. This week includes suggestions of stories set in boarding school settings.

If you like stories set in boarding schools, you might like…



Recommended by Kari @ A Good Addiction:

Recommended by Jennifer @ YA Book Nerd:

  • Pulling Princes by Tyne O’Connell: Calypso wants to fit in with the popular crowd at her English boarding school. She makes up a fake boyfriend to gain attention and friends. In the beginning it works, until she meets a boy she fancies.
  • Wuthering High by Cara Lockwood: Mia’s parents send her to a reform school – located on an island. She’s so annoyed with them, until she meets a boy. There’s something not quite normal about him, but she’s incredibly drawn to him.
  • I’d Tell You I Love You, but Then I’d Have to Kill You by Ally Carter: Cammie attends an all girl spy school. She knows nothing of boys. When she meets a boy on a field trip, she wants to get to know him better. She and her friends begin spying on him to discover his secrets.
  • Take the Reins by Jessica Burkhart: Sasha Silver can’t wait to join Canterwood Crest’s riding team. She’s heard the school work will be tough, but she’ll learn so much riding with elite riders. When she makes a major enemy the first day, she begins to rethink her decision. The start of a great tween series.
  • Viola in Reel Life by Adriana Trigiana: Viola’s sent to boarding school in Indiana. She misses the city life of Brooklyn. She misses the difference fashion sense. She misses her old life. Will she come out of her shell long enough to come to enjoy her new school?
  • Forget-Her-Nots by Amy Brecount White: Laurel seems more like a wallflower until a presentation on the language of flowers has people asking her questions. Could flowers be her way to making friends and finally fitting in?
  • H.I.V.E. by Mark Walden: Taken against their will, they are the smartest, most talented, and most evil kids of the world. They’re training to become evil geniuses. Not all of them want training, but leaving the school isn’t an option.

Recommended by Shanyn @ Chick Loves Lit:

  • Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling: If you have yet to read the Harry Potter books or see the movies, here is yet another reason why you should.
  • Delcroix Academy by Inara Scott and Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins: Both are set in a boarding school with paranormal elements. Both have love interests and both were on my top book list of 2010!
  • Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins: The ultimate contemporary YA novel.
  • Vampire Academy by Richelle Meade: Epic series. The title may scare you off if you’re not into vampires or paranormal, but trust me on this one – I am a contemporary girl and really loved this series.
  • Gallagher Girl Series by Ally Carter: Super spy girls in a boarding school – smart scenarios, clever missions.
  • The Mockingbirds by Daisy Whitney: Students at a school taking justice into their own hands.

Recommended by Ashley @ Book Labyrinth:

  • Private Series by Kate Brian: This series is so much fun. Life at Easton Academy is never boring, with all the psycho roommates, murders, secret societies, and of course, the hookups. The last book is coming out this year, so if you haven’t already, you’ll be able to read them all in a row.
  • Gallagher Girl Series by Ally Carter: It’s a boarding school… for spies. Could there be anything cooler? The plots in these books keep getting more intricate, and the characters are incredibly interesting.
  • The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks by E. Lockhart: I seriously love this book. Frankie is an incredibly cool girl who isn’t going to sit back and let the boys have all the power at her school. This is such an intelligent, rewarding read. You definitely need to check it out if you haven’t before.
  • Vampire Academy by Richelle Meade: Is this a stretch on the boarding school theme? Talk about an interesting school. Just wanted to recommend this one for another aspect besides the obvious vampire connection, since I think a lot of people who don’t normally like paranormals (like me!) should check them out.
  • Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins: The epitome of the perfect contemporary romance, it’s set in a boarding school in Paris. Love it!
  • The Mockingbirds by Daisy Whitney: This is a novel that deals with a very serious issue (date rape), but it’s so beautifully written that it becomes so much more than an issue novel, even as it deals so perfectly with the issue. Does that make sense? Either way, the boarding school setting allows for the whole secret society aspect of the novel to come out.
  • The Education of Hailey Kendrick by Eileen Cook: This was an enjoyable read, a modern take on a Scarlet Letter type tale. The book has a cute romantic subplot in it, but it’s mostly about a girl educating herself, learning how to stand up for herself and be who she truly wants to be.
  • Principles of Love Series by Emily Franklin: Imagine being the new student at a boarding school where your Dad is the principal. This is the start of the ‘Love’ series, one which I enjoyed quite a bit. Love is a smart and funny narrator, and all of her adventures throughout the series make for interesting reads.

Recommended by Jessica @ I Read to Relax:

  • Shadow Grail Series by Mercedes Lackey and Rosemary Edghill: This is an intriguing new series about teens brought to the Oakhurst Academy to learn to harness their powers. Things are not as safe or friendly as they seem at the school, though, and Spirit and her new friends are determined to find out what’s really going on.
  • Knightley Academy Series by Violet Haberdasher: This is a fun new world that has a very similar feel to Harry Potter, yet students are learning to become knights instead of wizards. Henry is the first commoner accepted to train to become a knight, but he’s gets more than he bargained for in his first year.
  • Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling: Harry discovers that he is a wizard and begins to attend Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Need I say anything? This series has spawned countless new forays into fantasy. It is EPIC.
  • Gallagher Girl Series by Ally Carter: A “girl power” series about girls chosen to attend the elite Gallagher Academy that trains girls to become spies. Action, romance, friendship…this series has it all.
  • Private Series by Kate Brian: Poor Reed Brennan gets a scholarship to attend Easton Academy and finds herself drawn into a decadent and drama filled world. I am totally and unashamedly hooked on this series. It is like a full on soap-opera. There’s murder, mayhem, awesome clothes, great parties…
  • Dark Elite Series by Chloe Neill Lily arrives at St. Sophia’s in Chicago and quickly learns of a magical war going on beneath the city streets. These quick reads are full of danger and leave readers breathlessly asking more questions about the Dark Elite.
  • Prep by Curtis Sittenfeld: Fourteen year old Lee leaves home to attend the prestigious Ault School and has a hard time finding her place amongst the teens that seem to have everything she doesn’t. A much more insightful and serious coming of age story.
  • Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro: Kathy reflects back on her time at Hailsham and draws readers deeper into the secret of her existence. This one is beautifully written with layers that peel back to reveal the secrets in this science fiction society.
  • House of Night Series by P.C. and Kristin Cast: Zoey and her friends are brought to the House of Night when they are marked as Vampyre fledglings. Soon they each have powers emerge and Zoey comes to challenge the corrupt headmistress. Fast paced, exciting, and addicting.
  • Vampire Academy by Richelle Meade: Rose and her best friend, Lissa, are both forced back to St. Vladmir’s Academy “for their own good” and to learn how to coexist in society with humans. Full of betrayal, danger, romance, and strong friendships, this is a great series.

Recommended by Annette @ Annette’s Book Spot:

  • Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling: Duh. Need I say more?
  • A Separate Peace by John Knowles: The “classic” boarding school book, required reading for many of use during high school or college.
  • The Gallagher Girls Series by Allly Carter: A girls’ boarding school – and they are spies! How much fun is that!
  • The Gemma Doyle Series by Libba Bray: This one’s Victorian, and contains some paranormal elements. Great stuff by a great writer!
  • The Wizard Heir by Cinda Williams Chima: This one came to mind, but it’s the only one I’ve read of that series and I’m not sure the other ones take place in a boarding school. I think the boarding school setting adds a lot to this book. I really need to think about reading the rest…I really loved this book.
  • Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta: This one has a nice plot line about boarding school kids (the Cadets) vs. the “townies.” Great story about friendship, and growing up.
  • Looking for Alaska by John Green: If you haven’t read a John Green book yet, you should. There’s just something inexplicable about the way he writes. This one takes place at a boarding school, but there’s much more to it.
  • Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins: The best for last?  Possibly. Just read this one recently, and, well, you KNOW everyone loves this book, or so it seems. It’s a boarding school in PARIS, so, come on – the setting alone should give this plenty of appeal. And believe me, there’s plenty more…

Recommended by Capillya @ That Cover Girl:

  • The Mockingbirds by Daisy Whitney: The whole backdrop of Themis Academy was really well-drawn in this novel. If you love a healthy dose of justice with your boarding school backdrop, this book’s a great read.
  • Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling: Or at least the first two, which are the only ones I’ve read so far. Boarding school full of students who practice magic. I mean, really? Need I say more?
  • Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta: Not only features boarding schools, but boarding schools with RIVALRIES.  Yes please and thank you.
  • Looking for Alaska by John Green
  • Heist Society Series by Allly Carter: Although MC Katarina Bishop is only in boarding school for a short amount of time, I’ll take any chance I can get to pimp out this book. The girl conned her way into boarding school, too, so she deserves at least a little bit of credit. 😉

Recommended by Lindsi @ Books, Sweets, and Other Treats:

Recommended by Ginger @ G Reads:

Recommended by Twan @ Artie Is My Muse:

  • Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling: Might be my favorite boarding school setting EVER. I love how the characters grow throughout the series, love the magic of everything, love the writing. The only thing I don’t like about the series is that I never got my letter to attend. I’m fairly sure there’s an owl lost out there somewhere.
  • Prep by Curtis Sittenfeld: Prep is one of those books for me that I can’t quite put into words. I really enjoyed it and while it reminded me of other things it felt completely fresh at the same time. I love Lee because like me, she’s very much an observer, she doesn’t quite feel like she fits into any category. I loved reading her journey through school and into someone people know.
  • Looking for Alaska by John Green: This book is amazing. It makes me run the entire gamut of my emotions. The writing is gorgeous and it addresses real issues in a real way. This book gets better every time i re-read it. (I also keep the audio in my car for long car rides.)
  • The Spud Books by John Van de Ruit: I’ve only read the first one in the series and have the second one on my shelf waiting to be read. One of the things I like about this one is that it is set in South Africa in 1990 so there is a nice cultural element to it but that definitely isn’t the main focus. I also like that it is a boy main character- complete with “boy” humor and shenanigans but well written. I haven’t found very many of those (in YA anyway).
  • The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks by E. Lockhart: This was one of my Top 10 Books of 2010, this is part of what i said about it on my blog: I love the character of Frankie. Having gone to a women’s college and having taken a decent amount of women’s studies classes I love Frankie for trying to point out the male dominance at her school. I like the mysterious qualities even though this isn’t a mystery. And I loved Frankie’s love of imagined positives, it left me completely gruntled.
  • The Madeline Books by Ludwig Bemelmans: I’m not sure who can resist Madeline. Even now I get almost giddy when I hear about that “old house in Paris covered in vines.”  When i worked at camp and there were 12 girls in my group they loved to be compared to Madeline. I love knowing how well in transcends time.
  • Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta: I read this because I’m on a quest to read all the Printz nominated books. I’ll admit it took a little while for me to get into it but then it was like it just clicked for me and once that happened I devoured the rest of the book. The writing is lyrical and not at the same time in a way I hadn’t encountered before. I also really love books that intertwine different timelines and different stories in a smooth way. This one definitely does. It’s been a few months since reading it and thinking about it still makes my heart glow and ache all at once.
  • Boy by Roald Dahl: I love Roald Dahl so much that i can’t even list him as one of my favorite authors because he’s above that for me. I actually “became” him for a biography unit I had in my TAG class. I definitely used this book as research. But the best part about it was that it wasn’t boring like some research can be. If you like any of Roald Dahl’s other books, you’ll like this one because his life seems like one of his characters. And he has such a wonderful way of telling stories.

Movies/TV Shows

Recommended by Jennifer @ YA Book Nerd:

  • Wild Child: After one too many fights with her father, Poppy’s shipped of to a proper boarding school in England.

Recommended by Ashley @ Book Labyrinth:

  • The Covenant: So bad it’s good? Yes, I watched this movie for the eye candy, so sue me. I thought it was pretty entertaining, overall, though.
  • Dead Poets Society: Thinking about this movie just makes me all verklempt. It’s so good. Sad, but seriously inspiring.
  • She’s the Man: I can’t help but seriously adore this movie. Amanda Bynes is ridiculously funny in it, and even if it’s all completely predictable, I love the romance aspect.
  • X-Men: Awesome action movie, featuring one of the coolest boarding schools ever.

Recommended by Flo @ Book Nerds Across America:

  • School Ties: This was one of the first times I saw Brendan Fraser act, and he played a great role. It is painful, but powerful, and remains one of my favorite movies.
  • Dead Poets Society: I will never read “O Captain! My Captain!” the same way. The summary says John Keating inspires his students to love poetry, but he also inspires viewers to do exactly the same thing.

Recommended by Jessica @ I Read to Relax:

  • Harry Potter Series: As magical as the book series.
  • She’s the Man: When Viola’s girls’ soccer team is cut, she secretly takes her brother’s place at the Illyria School and tries out for the boys’ soccer team.  Her secrets complicate her life, though, when she develops a crush on her roommate and can’t tell him.  Amanda Bynes is sweet and funny!
  • Wild Child: Wild Poppy is shipped off to boarding school in England when her father cannot control her any longer.  Soon she becomes a stronger, less selfish person and finds strong ties to her deceased mother, who attended the school before her.
  • Breaker High Series: Teens attend school on a cruise ship.  This funny series starred Ryan Gosling before he became really well known.

Recommended by Capillya @ That Cover Girl:

  • Dead Poets Society: “Carpe diem, seize the day boys, make your lives extraordinary.”
  • X-Men: A Boarding school! With MUTANTS! That have superpowers! What?! Oh, yes.

Recommended by Ginger @ G Reads:

Recommended by Twan @ Artie Is My Muse:

  • Dead Poets Society: All time favorite boarding school movie. It is so heartbreaking and so inspiring and so funny and so everything else. It is the extreme of everything without feeling extreme for me. Not to mention Robin Williams is one of the actors I adore in his dramatic roles. And Robert Sean Leonard!  And poetry! Pure love.
  • Harry Potter Series: While, obviously, not as good as the books, I still love these movies. For the same reasons listed above.
  • A Little Princess: Truthfully, i haven’t watched this one in a long time but I like it. I haven’t read the book so I’m not sure how they compare but this is just one of those sort of nostalgic movies for me.
  • D.E.B.S.: A kick-ass girl power filled movie about a boarding school training girls to be spies for a government agency?  Yes please!  Such a fun movie.
  • All I Wanna Do (Also titled Strike!): This is my second favorite boarding school movie. I went to a women’s college and this movie reminded a lot of us of us and our school. I love the 60’s setting as far as the retro-ness of it, but I also love watching feminism from teenage girls in the 60’s as they fight to keep their school from going co-ed.

Do you like stories set in boarding schools? If so, please share your own recommendations in the comments!

Next week’s post will include recommendations based on the television show Veronica Mars. If you would like to get involved in future weeks of “If You Like…” please contact me for more information. You can check out past weeks of If You Like posts here.


7 Responses to "If You Like: Boarding School Edition"

  • Couple more for good measure:

    Dead Beautiful by Yvonne Woon
    The Emperor’s Club (movie)

    1 Melanie said this (April 11, 2011 at 9:59 PM)

  • Great list! I love the “Madeline” recommendation! I loved those books when I was little. Gonna have to go read those again.

    2 Annette said this (April 11, 2011 at 10:54 PM)

  • And a few more:
    Arcadia Falls by Carol Goodman
    Lake of Dead Languages by Carol Goodman
    The Miles Between by Mary Pearson
    Breathless by Jessica Warman

    3 Melanie said this (April 11, 2011 at 10:57 PM)

  • Ooo, love this. I looked through and didn’t see Evernight by Claudia Grey.

    4 Deb said this (April 12, 2011 at 6:01 PM)

    • Thanks so much for sharing another rec! Great to expand on the list 🙂

      5 Melanie said this (April 12, 2011 at 6:09 PM)

  • It’s amazing how many “boarding school books” there are. I swear, half of my YA books take place at one. Also, kudos to Twan — All I Wanna Do is an amazing movie 🙂

    6 Sarah said this (April 18, 2011 at 8:57 AM)

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