Books That Take Place on Campus

Well, it’s after Labor Day and school is officially back in session across the country. These are still such weird times for everyone, with masking rules and partial remote learning, and all that jazz. I fell a bit behind with this little mini-series I wanted to do, but better late than never, right? Plus, there are schools that don’t start until after Labor Day, so it’s still considered “Back to School” season in my eyes.

This time I’m focusing on books that take place on a school campus. I wanted to focus on just college, but there’s so many books that take place at boarding school as well that I had to include those. After all, boarding schools are much different than regular high schools. Especially considering that most books taking place at boarding school include murder or a mystery of some sort.

The Ivy – Lauren Kunze

Callie Andrews has started her first year of college at the prestigious Harvard University. During her first semester she learns about Harvard’s social life, her roommates, and the boys across the hall, all the while dealing with something that her ex-boyfriend did, and making sure no one at Harvard finds out. There are three other books that follow, so those would also fall under this category of books. I’ve only read the first so far, though.


Ninth House – Leigh Bardugo

This one’s on my Maybe-TBR list, as it’s not the type of book I’d usually pick up. But I hear some good things about it, plus it takes place at Yale and being from Connecticut, I favor that school over the other Ivy League schools. One day I might pick this book up, but there’s a lot more that are high-priority on my list to deal with first. However, I’ve also seen some friends on Goodreads not like this book at all, so that’s another reason why I’m personally wary of reading it.


Ghosts of Harvard – Francesca Serritella

Another one that’s on my “maybe” list because it seems to deal with ghosts, and I’m not a ghost story person. But it also deals with mental disorders, and that’s why it’s on my radar. I haven’t heard much about how this book is – good or bad. It’s just kind of there. I’ll give it a shot when I’m in the mood for it, and at least it’ll be easy to access since it’s at my hometown library (which I work in and was how I found out about the book).


Private – Kate Brian

The first in a fourteen book series, this book follows Reed Brennan as she begins going to Easton Academy and crosses paths with the prestigious Billings Girls. Getting in with those girls means going to secret parties in the woods, a bit of hazing, and finding out that the students of Easton will do anything to keep their secrets private. This is a great series with books that are easy to devour. It’s one of my absolute favorite young-adult series.


They Wish They Were Us – Jessica Goodman

I’ll be honest that I haven’t read this one yet, but it is definitely on my TBR. Of course boarding school has to come with a murder mystery, it wouldn’t be the same without it. I’ve heard mostly good things about this one, so I hope that when I do get it into my hands that I like it as much as I think I will. But I like the concept of a student trying to figure out who was behind her best friend’s murder, three years later when she finds out that the person who they thought did it was actually innocent.


A Study in Charlotte – Brittany Cavallaro

This is the start of a Sherlock Holmes type series in that it follows Sherlock’s great-great-great granddaughter, Charlotte Holmes. It’s another boarding school that’s set in Connecticut, which again, is my home state so I love anything based here, and overall the book is great in my opinion. There are also three other books that follow this one, though I think originally it was supposed to be just a trilogy, which might be why the fourth book isn’t as great as the first three.


The Gallagher Girls series – Ally Carter

A spy school for girls? Sign me up! I started reading this series when I was a teen, then somehow forgot about them and reread/finished them a few years ago. I had only missed the last two books, but still. It’s another favorite series due to the characters and adventure the books take you on when you read them. If you liked the Spy Kids movies, then you’d definitely like this series.

I could add so many more books to this list, both read and from my TBR, but I’ll leave it at this. I was going to include Harry Potter, but that’s a bit obvious and almost everyone who’s read it wants to go to Hogwarts anyway. I’m there, mentally. Always.

So, to all the cool cats out there who are going back to school… good luck this year and stay safe!

What are some of your favorite books/recommendations that take place with characters in high school?

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