Dark Academia Books Set in Boarding Schools

If you’ve been craving some dark academia YA set at a boarding school, look no further than these twisty, unputdownable reads! Check out this list of boarding school books for dark academia fans.

The Ivies by Alexa Donne

Set at the elite boarding school of Claflin Academy, Alexa Donne’s page-turning new murder-mystery thriller is all about Ivy League schools—America’s most coveted universities—and five Claflin girls, known as the Ivies, who would do anything to gain admission to them, even if things get deadly. All five girls run in the same friend group, and while they have different careers (and coveted Ivies) in mind, each is ruthless and cruel about getting what they want in their own way. Full of clues, secrets, and twists galore, Donne’s take on the hypercompetitive world of academia boasts standout characters, a strong setting, and a super eerie atmosphere that makes for one heck of a read.

The Ivies

The Ivies

Enroll in this boarding school thriller about a group of prep school elites who would kill to get into the college of their dreams…literally.

“The Plastics meet the Heathers in this murder mystery about ruthless Ivy League ambition.” -Kirkus Reviews

Everyone knows the Ivies: the most coveted universities in the United States. Far more important are the Ivies. The Ivies at Claflin Academy, that is. Five girls with the same mission: to get into the Ivy League by any means necessary. I would know. I’m one of them. We disrupt class ranks, club leaderships, and academic competitions…among other things. We improve our own odds by decreasing the fortunes of others. Because hyper-elite competitive college admissions is serious business. And in some cases, it’s deadly. You don’t want to miss this boarding school books for dark academia fans pick.

A Lesson in Vengeance by Victoria Lee

If you’ve been wanting a book about a haunted, centuries-old boarding school set deep in the Catskills mountains, you’ll devour this book about the Dalloway School and its history of witchcraft. A year after the tragic death of her girlfriend, Felicity Morrow is back in her old dorm, which is rumored to be haunted by the spirits of five girls known as the Dalloway Five. They died on campus under mysterious circumstances, and some even say they were witches. Meanwhile, it’s aspiring novelist Ellis Haley’s first year at Dalloway, and Felicity can’t deny the pull she feels toward the new girl. When the two team up to research the Dalloway Five for Ellis’s book, Felicity finds herself facing down the darkness lurking in the school’s halls . . . and within herself.

A Lesson in Vengeance

A Lesson in Vengeance

A dark, twisty thriller about a centuries-old, ivy-covered boarding school haunted by its history of witchcraft and two girls dangerously close to digging up the past. The dangerous romance and atmospheric setting makes it a perfect read for fans of dark academia.

The history of Dalloway School lives in the bones it was built on. Five violent deaths in the first ten years of its existence. Sometimes you can still smell the blood on the air.

It wasn’t until Felicity enrolled that she fell in love with the dark. And now she’s back to finish her senior year after the tragic death of her girlfriend. She even has her old room in Godwin House, the exclusive dormitory rumored to be haunted by the spirits of the five Dalloway students who died there—girls some say were witches.

It’s Ellis Haley’s first year at Dalloway. A prodigy novelist at seventeen, Ellis is eccentric and brilliant, and Felicity can’t shake the pull she feels to her. So when Ellis asks for help researching the Dalloway Five for her second book, Felicity can’t say no.

Dalloway’s occult lore is everywhere, and the new girl won’t let Felicity forget it. But when the past begins to invade on the present, Felicity needs to decide where she stands. The soil under her feet is bloody with Dalloway’s history. But so is the present. Is it Dalloway—or is it her?

S.T.A.G.S. by M. A. Bennett

Greer MacDonald has just received a scholarship to the prestigious Aidan the Great School, better known as S.T.A.G.S. While most of the students mock or ignore her, she’s shocked when the school’s most coveted circles of friends, the Medievals, invite her to join them at an exclusive weekend retreat at the private estate of their unofficial leader. Rumor has it that whoever impresses the group most will join their ranks, though the luxurious weekend full of hunting, shooting, and fishing will be much darker and more dangerous than Greer ever could’ve imagined. Let the games begin.



Gossip Girl meets The Hunger Games.” –Bustle

“Like Mean Girls, but British and deadly. . . . This book is great, from start to finish.” –Hypable 

Get ready for one deadly weekend in this twisting thriller for fans of Pretty Little Liars and One of Us is Lying that explores just how far the elite at an English boarding school will go.

Greer MacDonald has just started as a scholarship student at the exclusive St. Aidan the Great boarding school, known to its privileged pupils as STAGS. STAGS is a place where new things–and new people–are to be avoided. And in her first days there, Greer is ignored at best and mocked at worst by the school’s most admired circle of friends, the Medievals.

So, naturally, Greer is taken by surprise when the Medievals send her an invitation to a sought-after weekend retreat at the private family estate of their unofficial leader, Henry de Warlencourt. It’s billed as a weekend of “huntin’ shootin’ fishin’.” As the weekend begins to take shape, it becomes apparent that beyond the luxurious trappings, predators are lurking, and they’re out for blood. You don’t want to miss this boarding school books for dark academia fans pick.

Wilder Girls by Rory Power

Eighteen months ago, the Raxter School for Girls was quarantined after a mysterious illness known as the Tox began infecting and killing teachers and students one by one. Now, cut off from the rest of the world and stranded on their island home, the students who remain must fend for themselves. They’ve been told never to venture past the school’s fence, where danger lurks around every corner. But when her friend Byatt goes missing, Hetty pledges to do anything to find her, even if it means breaking quarantine and journeying into whatever horrors lie beyond the fence. What she discovers will change everything she thought she knew about Raxter and the lives of the girls who attend. There’s more to the story than meets the eye.

Wilder Girls

Wilder Girls

By Rory Power

Coming 04.04.23

“The perfect kind of story for our current era.”Hypable

From the author of Burn Our Bodies Down, a feminist Lord of the Flies about three best friends living in quarantine at their island boarding school, and the lengths they go to uncover the truth of their confinement when one disappears. This fresh debut is a mind-bending novel unlike anything you’ve read before.

It’s been eighteen months since the Raxter School for Girls was put under quarantine. Since the Tox hit and pulled Hetty’s life out from under her. It started slow. First the teachers died one by one. Then it began to infect the students, turning their bodies strange and foreign. Now, cut off from the rest of the world and left to fend for themselves on their island home, the girls don’t dare wander outside the school’s fence, where the Tox has made the woods wild and dangerous. They wait for the cure they were promised as the Tox seeps into everything.

But when Byatt goes missing, Hetty will do anything to find her, even if it means breaking quarantine and braving the horrors that lie beyond the fence. And when she does, Hetty learns that there’s more to their story, to their life at Raxter, than she could have ever thought true.

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