6 Awesome YA Books Set at Boarding School

Best Books Set on a College Campus

I love boarding school books because they show that teenagers are capable of making decisions, but also learning from their first independent decisions. When I was in high school I dreamed of the freedom of going to boarding school reading books like A Separate Peace and watching movies like Dead Poet’s Society.

OK, sure maybe that makes me weird because these weren’t always glamorous stories. And some might argue that living in a dorm is far from free. But I disagree!  There’s something cool about the intensity of friendship that make them a great place to set a young adult novel.

And without further ado, here is our list of favorite YA books set at a boarding school.

Looking for Alaska by John Green cover imageLooking for Alaska by John Green

This book is written by a very self aware teen boy who falls head over heels for Alaska, a girl at his new boarding school. But it’s more than a love story. It’s about self discovery, growing up and experiences that shape us into who we want to be as adults.

If you haven’t heard of John Green (really!?), check out all his books. They are for that mature, sensitive teen in your life.

A Separate Peace by John KnowlesA Separate Piece by John Knowles

This is a book that I loved as a teen and it still works today. It’s full of teenage angst and rivalry and set to the backdrop of WWII.

Gene and Finny become fast friends at the elite Devon school despite their opposite personalities. But introverted Gene becomes jealous of Finny’s outgoing, affable attitude. Soon tragedy threatens their friendship and hard lessons are learned.

Prep by Curtis Sittenfeld cover imagePrep by Curtis Sittenfeld

When Lee becomes a scholarship student at the prestigious Ault school in MA she doesn’t know what she’s in for. The book dissects class, race and one’s place in the world.

Prep is a must-read YA book as far as I’m concerned. It’s juicy and filled with backstabbing, reinvention, and social climbing. It’s also thoughtful and draws you into the main character’s inner thoughts.

Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins cover imageAnna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins

This book is top notch YA romance set in France. Does it get any better than that?

Anna is shipped off to Paris against her will leaving behind the life she knows only to have her world opened up in a new country where new experiences – and boys! – await.


Guardian of the Dead by Karen Healey cover imageGuardian of the Dead by Karen Healey

Continuing on the the list of boarding schools I’m jealous of, this book is set in New Zealand. But this isn’t your traditional boarding school story seeped with elitism and stereotypes.

Ellie has another year of school ahead of her and is looking forward to hanging out with friends, seeing her crush and her English class. But her plans are interrupted when something dark and ancient awakens in the woods just beyond school grounds.

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

Frankie Landau-Banks turned from a geeky girl to sharp witted bombshell over the course of one summer. And now she has everything going for her at her elite prep school, including a hunky senior boyfriend.

But when he excludes her from his all male secret society – The Loyal Order of the Basset Hounds –  she is not having any of that. Especially since she knows she can outsmart them.


What did we miss? Share your favorite books set at boarding schools in the comments!


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