Updated: Oct 16, 2021
Whether the thought of returning to classes fills you with excitement or dread, here is a giant list of book recs to get you into the school spirit! From the hallowed halls of Dragon School to the futuristic government-run Academie, these students are facing things much worse than exams. If magical libraries, immortal classmates, and dark secrets are your thing, then take a seat and get ready because class has just started.
1. Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins
Three years ago, Sophie Mercer discovered that she was a witch. It’s gotten her into a few scrapes. Her non-gifted mother has been as supportive as possible, consulting Sophie’s estranged father—an elusive European warlock—only when necessary. But when Sophie attracts too much human attention for a prom-night spell gone horribly wrong, it’s her dad who decides her punishment: exile to Hex Hall, an isolated reform school for wayward Prodigium, a.k.a. witches, faeries, and shapeshifters.
By the end of her first day among fellow freak-teens, Sophie has quite a scorecard: three powerful enemies who look like supermodels, a futile crush on a gorgeous warlock, a creepy tagalong ghost, and a new roommate who happens to be the most hated person and only vampire on campus. Worse, Sophie soon learns that a mysterious predator has been attacking students, and her only friend is the number-one suspect.
As a series of blood-curdling mysteries starts to converge, Sophie prepares for the biggest threat of all: an ancient secret society determined to destroy all Prodigium, especially her.
2. Dread Nation by Justina Ireland
Jane McKeene was born two days before the dead began to walk the battlefields of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania—derailing the War Between the States and changing the nation forever. Jane is studying to become an Attendant, trained in both weaponry and etiquette to protect the well-to-do. It’s a chance for a better life for Negro girls like Jane. After all, not even being the daughter of a wealthy white Southern woman could save her from society’s expectations.
But that’s not a life Jane wants. Almost finished with her education at Miss Preston’s School of Combat in Baltimore, Jane is set on returning to her Kentucky home and doesn’t pay much mind to the politics of the eastern cities, with their talk of returning America to the glory of its days before the dead rose.
But when families around Baltimore County begin to go missing, Jane is caught in the middle of a conspiracy, one that finds her in a desperate fight for her life against some powerful enemies.
And the restless dead, it would seem, are the least of her problems.
3. Carry On by Rainbow Rowell
Simon Snow is the worst Chosen One who’s ever been chosen.
That’s what his roommate, Baz, says. And Baz might be evil and a vampire and a complete git, but he’s probably right.
Half the time, Simon can’t even make his wand work, and the other half, he starts something on fire. His mentor’s avoiding him, his girlfriend broke up with him, and there’s a magic-eating monster running around, wearing Simon’s face. Baz would be having a field day with all this, if he were here — it’s their last year at the Watford School of Magicks, and Simon’s infuriating nemesis didn’t even bother to show up.
4. Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead
Lissa Dragomir is a Moroi princess: a mortal vampire with a rare gift for harnessing the earth’s magic. She must be protected at all times from Strigoi; the fiercest vampires – the ones who never die. The powerful blend of human and vampire blood that flows through Rose Hathaway, Lissa’s best friend, makes her a dhampir. Rose is dedicated to a dangerous life of protecting Lissa from the Strigoi, who are hell-bent on making Lissa one of them.
After two years of freedom, Rose and Lissa are caught and dragged back to St. Vladimir’s Academy, a school for vampire royalty and their guardians-to-be, hidden in the deep forests of Montana. But inside the iron gates, life is even more fraught with danger . . . and the Strigoi are always close by.
Rose and Lissa must navigate their dangerous world, confront the temptations of forbidden love, and never once let their guard down, lest the evil undead make Lissa one of them forever . . .
5. The Holders by Julianna Scott
17-year-old Becca has spent her whole life protecting her brother – from their father leaving and from the people who say the voices in his head are unnatural. When two strangers appear with apparent answers to Ryland’s “problem” and details about a school in Ireland where Ryland will not only fit in, but prosper, Becca is up in arms.
She reluctantly agrees to join Ryland on his journey and what they find at St. Brigid’s is a world beyond their imagination. Little by little they piece find out information about their family’s heritage and the legend of the Holder race that decrees Ryland is the one they’ve been waiting for–but, they are all, especially Becca, in for a surprise that will change what they thought they knew about themselves and their kind.
6. Dragon School by Sarah K.L. Wilson
Sixteen-year-old Amel arrived at Dragon School just like everyone else – with a dream to ride dragons and join the Dominion Dragon Riders.
But Amel has a crippled leg and Dragon School training is grueling. Before she can even become an initiate, she must complete her First Flight on a dragon. Can Amel survive First Flight and become a Dragon School initiate or will her dreams dash on the rocks below?
7. Schooled in Magic by Christopher G. Nuttall
Emily is a teenage girl pulled from our world into a world of magic and mystery by a necromancer who intends to sacrifice her to the dark gods. Rescued in the nick of time by an enigmatic sorcerer, she discovers that she possesses magical powers and must go to Whitehall School to learn how to master them. There, she learns the locals believe that she is a “Child of Destiny,” someone whose choices might save or damn their world … a title that earns her both friends and enemies. A stranger in a very strange land, she may never fit into her new world …and the necromancer is still hunting her. If Emily can’t stop him, he might bring about the end of days.
8. The School for Good and Evil by Soman Chainani
With her glass slippers and devotion to good deeds, Sophie knows she’ll earn top marks at the School for Good and join the ranks of past students like Cinderella, Rapunzel, and Snow White. Meanwhile, Agatha, with her shapeless black frocks and wicked black cat, seems a natural fit for the villains in the School for Evil.
The two girls soon find their fortunes reversed—Sophie’s dumped in the School for Evil to take Uglification, Death Curses, and Henchmen Training, while Agatha finds herself in the School for Good, thrust among handsome princes and fair maidens for classes in Princess Etiquette and Animal Communication.
But what if the mistake is actually the first clue to discovering who Sophie and Agatha really are?
9. First Year: The Black Mage Book One by Rachel E. Carter
Before the age of seventeen, the young men and women of Jerar are given a choice –pursue a trade or enroll in a trial year in one of the realm’s three war schools to study as a soldier, knight, or mage…
For fifteen-year-old Ryiah, the choice has always been easy. Become a mage and train in Combat, the most prestigious faction of magic.
Yet when she arrives, Ry finds herself competing against friend and foe for one of the exalted apprenticeships. Everyone is rooting for her to fail–first and foremost among them is Prince Darren, the school prodigy who has done nothing but make life miserable since she arrived.
10. The Academie by Amy Joy
When Allie Thompson graduated, she thought she’d put high school behind her. But when a series of violent outbreaks by teens sends panic surging through the nation, high school is right where she finds herself again. Now transformed into what the government calls The Academie, what was once the public school system is now the permanent home of everyone 22 and under.
Torn from her boyfriend, her friends from college, her life, Allie doesn’t take too well the Academie’s militaristic nature or its 16-foot perimeter fences. Knowing she won’t see her boyfriend for years and remembering all she’s left behind Allie plummets into depression. But when strange things being to happen and her brother disappears, Allie realizes that she must unravel the mystery that is The Academie—before it’s too late!
11. Firebolt by Adrienne Woods
Dragons. Right. Teenage girls don’t believe in fairy tales, and sixteen-year-old Elena Watkins was no different. Until the night a fairy tale killed her father. Now Elena’s in a new world, and a new school. The cutest guy around may be an evil dragon, a Prince wants Elena’s heart, and a long dead sorcerer may be waking up to kill her. Oh. And the only way Elena’s going to graduate is on the back of a dragon of her own. Teenage girls don’t believe in fairy tales. Now it’s time for Elena to believe – in herself.
12. Touch of Frost by Jennifer Estep
My name is Gwen Frost, and I go to Mythos Academy — a school of myths, magic, and warrior whiz kids, where even the lowliest geek knows how to chop off somebody’s head with a sword and Logan Quinn, the hottest Spartan guy in school, also happens to be the deadliest.
But lately, things have been weird, even for Mythos. First, mean girl Jasmine Ashton was murdered in the Library of Antiquities. Then, someone stole the Bowl of Tears, a magical artifact that can be used to bring about the second Chaos War. You know, death, destruction, and lots of other bad, bad things. Freaky stuff like this goes on all the time at Mythos, but I’m determined to find out who killed Jasmine and why – especially since I should have been the one who died . . .
13. Firespell by Chloe Neill
Lily’s parents have sent her to a fancy boarding school in Chicago filled with the ultra-rich. If that wasn’t bad enough, she’s hearing and seeing bizarre things on St. Sophie’s creepy campus. Her roommate, Scout, keeps her sane, but keeps disappearing at night. When one day Lily finds Scout running from real-life monsters, she learns the hard way that Scout is involved in a splinter group of rebel teens.
They protect Chicago from demons, vamps, and dark magic users. It’s too bad Lily doesn’t have powers of her own to help. At least, none that she’s discovered yet…
14. Witchling Academy: Semester One by Avery Song Having magic is a blessing from the gods, and they gave me an especially powerful gift when they made me a Spell Traveler. Now if only I could use it properly without randomly teleporting, falling, and inevitably crashing into important people!
15. Harley Merlin and the Secret Coven by Bella Forest When a rogue 19-year-old witch is recruited to help guard an ancient magical Bestiary, mystery and danger ensue... Being an empath has its advantages. Harley Merlin can sense people’s emotions, among other things. It’s how she snagged her first job pinpointing cheaters at a casino. But she has no clue where she got these freakish powers because she spent her childhood jumping from home to home in the foster system, and her father left her with nothing more than a cryptic note. Then she crosses paths with a terrifyingly real monster. Which is when a mysterious and annoyingly arrogant young warlock named Wade Crowley steps in, introducing her to a hidden world of beasts, magicals, and covens riddled with secrets—as well as clues about her murky past. Whether she likes it or not, this new world is where she belongs. But after a disturbing twist of events, Harley quickly realizes that her past is darker than she could ever have imagined. And that someone in the coven is out for her blood. With the help of Wade and her new friends, she must figure out who the traitor is and why they’re targeting her... Before the human and magical worlds dangerously collide.
16. Evermore Academy by Audrey Gray
Welcome to Evermore Academy where the magic is dark, the immortals are beautiful, and being human SUCKS. After spending my entire life avoiding the creatures that murdered my parents, one stupid mistake binds me to them for four years. My penance? Become a human shadow at the infamous Evermore Academy, finishing school for the Seelie and Unseelie Fae courts. All I want is to keep a low profile, but day one, I make an enemy of the most powerful Fae in the academy. The Winter Prince is arrogant, cruel, and apparently also my Fae keeper. Meaning I’m in for months of torture. But it only gets worse. Something dark and terrible looms over the academy. Humans are dying, ancient vendettas are resurfacing, and the courts are more bloodthirsty than ever. What can one mortal girl do in a world full of gorgeous monsters? Fight back with everything I have—and try not to fall in love in the process.
17. Shifters and Secrets: GRIMM Academy by R. L. Medina Magic. Monsters. Family secrets. Senior year was supposed to be the best part of high school. I planned to skate by and figure out what I wanted to do with my life— but the universe decided for me.
I was promised to some evil witch coven before I was even born. Thanks, Mom. To make it worse, I develop the ‘sight’, which is the snooty way of saying I can see things normal humans can’t. Like my dad’s ex-employee turning into some freakish jaguar-man. Trust me, you don’t want to see what I’ve seen.
As if that wasn’t bad enough, I’m orphaned and forced to live with my only remaining relatives. A filthy rich family of monster hunters a.k.a. GRIMM, determined to add me to their ranks.
Now, I’m forced to attend their academy filled with the wealthiest and elitist pieces of sh** in Malibu. None more arrogant than Grayson Chapman— a real stickler for rules, that one, but le dang does he look good in uniform.
I promised my cousin a year. With all their stupid policies and grueling training, I’m not sure I can make it a day. They say not all have what it takes to be a GRIMM, but all those with the sight must serve. It’s my duty, they tell me.
Except I don’t do what I’m told.
The academy wants a soldier…
I’ll give them a rebellion.
18. Fallen Academy by Leia Stone Brielle Atwater isn't sure of much, but she knows a few things:
1. Having black wings is not normal.
2. Selling her soul to the demons was a mistake.
3. Lincoln Grey is the biggest jerk she's ever met … but not falling in love with him might prove impossible.
When angels fell from the sky to war with the demons that ravaged Earth, their combined powers infected humanity. Now, the humans are assigned one of two fates, being either demon gifted, or angel blessed.
After wings sprout from Brielle's back at her awakening ceremony, she's sure she's an angel blessed celestial. It's not until she sees black wings that she realizes something is terribly wrong.
Having sold her contract at a young age to save her father's life means she should be bound for Tainted Academy. That is, until a fallen angel unexpectedly fights for her to be accepted into Fallen Academy, the elite school for those that inhabit Angel City.
She's immediately matched with her impossibly handsome celestial teacher, Lincoln Grey. Laying eyes on him, her first thought is that her time at the academy might actually be fun, but this theory quickly fades when she and Lincoln clash on day one. To further prove her admission into Fallen Academy is cursed, the entire school is thrown into chaos when an Abrus demon reveals that he knows Brielle's secret. Now, above all else, Lincoln must fight to protect her.
To his surprise, the only thing more difficult than trying to save her … is trying not to fall for her.
19. Secrets of Green and Gold by Jo Holloway An immortal race needs her help ... if she believes they exist.
Cara has never been normal, but she's about to change that. She finally learned to ignore the animals no one else sees and a new school is her chance to start over. She should have known it was doomed the minute she heard the first voice.
Now there's a weird gleam in her dog's eye, two suspicious guys who keep turning up, and a voice in her head. While it tells her of a hidden race of immortal beings known as the Pyx, Cara does her best to ignore it. Fitting in is hard enough without voices of the local fauna chatting in her head.
But the voice is insistent. Across Portland, Pyx are disappearing, and Cara is the only one who can help them. As bizarre encounters pile up, Cara will have to start listening. Because soon, she'll be forced to wonder ...
What if it's real?
Because if the Pyx are real, then so is the danger. Can she embrace who - and what - she is before it's too late to save them?
20. Crave by Tracy Wolff My whole world changed when I stepped inside the academy. Nothing is right about this place or the other students in it. Here I am, a mere mortal among gods…or monsters. I still can’t decide which of these warring factions I belong to if I belong at all. I only know the one thing that unites them is their hatred of me.
Then there’s Jaxon Vega. A vampire with deadly secrets who hasn’t felt anything for a hundred years. But there’s something about him that calls to me, something broken in him that somehow fits with what’s broken in me.
Which could spell death for us all.
Because Jaxon walled himself off for a reason. And now someone wants to wake a sleeping monster, and I’m wondering if I was brought here intentionally—as the bait.
21. Legendborn by Tracy Deonn Walker After her mother dies in an accident, 16-year-old Bree Matthews wants nothing to do with her family memories or childhood home. A residential program for bright high schoolers at UNC-Chapel Hill seems like the perfect escape - until Bree witnesses a magical attack her very first night on campus.
A flying demon feeding on human energies.
A secret society of so called “Legendborn” students that hunt the creatures down.
And a mysterious teenage mage who calls himself a “Merlin” and who attempts - and fails - to wipe Bree’s memory of everything she saw.
The mage’s failure unlocks Bree’s own unique magic and a buried memory with a hidden connection: The night her mother died, another Merlin was at the hospital. Now that Bree knows there’s more to her mother’s death than what’s on the police report, she’ll do whatever it takes to find out the truth, even if that means infiltrating the Legendborn as one of their initiates.
She recruits Nick, a self-exiled Legendborn with his own grudge against the group, and their reluctant partnership pulls them deeper into the society’s secrets - and closer to each other. But when the Legendborn reveal themselves as the descendants of King Arthur’s knights and explain that a magical war is coming, Bree has to decide how far she’ll go for the truth and whether she should use her magic to take the society down - or join the fight.
22. A Legacy Witch: Spellcasters Spy Academy by Ashley McLeo A surly, hot wizard. A dangerous calling. A curse killing off students.
I’ve dreamed of attending Spellcasters Spy Academy for as long as I can remember. So, imagine my surprise when I get there and discover it’s not the academic utopia I imagined.
This place is dangerous as hell. And I don’t mean the classes or the Samhain Trials, though those aren’t a cakewalk.
They say the students in the Culling year, my year, are cursed. Someone is picking us off, one by one. Or maybe something.
Between challenging courses, my irritating and surly crush, and the enigmatic curse, you might say that I have my hands full.
A softer woman might leave the academy, but there’s no way in hell I’m giving up on my dream.
I’m here to stay. That is, as long as I’m not the murderer’s next victim.
23. Station Alpha by Nicole Adrianne Two students. Twelve months. One victor.
After prodigy Jada Breaker’s best friend is murdered in a terrestrial terrorist attack, high school is the last thing on her mind. With a shocking piece of evidence in hand, she’s ready to launch her own investigation and find out the truth about her friend’s death: tragic accident, or cruel assassination?
When an unexpected competitor arrives from Earth to challenge Jada’s future and freedom, though, she’ll need an undivided mind to win the fight. If she continues her investigation, she’ll risk losing the future she’s always dreamed of.
But if Jada fails to learn the truth before graduation, a galaxy-wide conspiracy will grow unchecked and destroy everything she’s ever known...
24. Aurora Rising by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff The year is 2380, and the graduating cadets of Aurora Academy are being assigned their first missions. Star pupil Tyler Jones is ready to recruit the squad of his dreams, but his own boneheaded heroism sees him stuck with the dregs nobody else in the academy would touch . . .
A cocky diplomat with a black belt in sarcasm
A sociopath scientist with a fondness for shooting her bunkmates
A smart-ass tech whiz with the galaxy's biggest chip on his shoulder
An alien warrior with anger-management issues
A tomboy pilot who's totally not into him, in case you were wondering
And Ty's squad isn't even his biggest problem--that'd be Aurora Jie-Lin O'Malley, the girl he's just rescued from interdimensional space. Trapped in cryo-sleep for two centuries, Auri is a girl out of time and out of her depth. But she could be the catalyst that starts a war millions of years in the making, and Tyler's squad of losers, discipline cases, and misfits might just be the last hope for the entire galaxy. NOBODY PANIC
25. Cursed Academy by Holly Hook Giselle Bowman never thought she'd be descended from a Greek god...or a monster.
Klutzes and small-town girls don't find out they're descended from the Greek gods. They don't get taken to Olympian Academy to learn to hone their godlike powers. But when Giselle accidentally summons a void that almost eats her friend, it's done. Except she doesn't get sorted into Olympian, but to Cursed Academy, where the descendants of dark gods and the monsters from Greek mythology learn to serve their betters.
And that's just the start. Giselle 1.) has a new type of magic never seen before and 2.) gets to deal with an epic jerk, Ronin, from Olympian Academy next door. He's a descendant of Zeus, totally hot, and very out of her league.
Giselle quickly learns her void-summoning powers aren't normal and that an unknown enemy--perhaps someone in Cursed Academy already--seeks to use her for a plan so vile, it threatens the gods and the modern world. With nowhere else to turn, Giselle must seek help from Ronin, who might have a clue on what she is. If only he'd stop making fun of her every time she trips over her shoelaces.
Is Giselle ready to learn the terrifying truth about herself and her powers?
26. The Last Tide by Maria Vermisoglou You'd think being a prince would make life easier. Hell, no.
I am a merman, the third prince of Liquiris, and my uncontrollable powers give my brothers an excuse to bully me.
And my father? He hates the sight of me.
My escape comes unexpectedly when a letter arrives from Gifted Blood Academy. With promises of potioneering, water binding, foreign languages and other classes suited to a prince of my status, this school seems like a paradise.
But strange incidents start plaguing the school and students disappearing. If I don't get to the bottom of the problem, I'll lose the life I've built. Betrayal. Friendship. And more...
27. The Unsound Theory by Emilia Zeeland Yalena Russo, your STAR Academy invitation has arrived.
Unlike other teenagers across the near worlds, Yalena isn't space crazed. But a surprise invitation to join the exclusive STAR Academy opens a window to her unknown origins, making her ponder… What if space is where she belongs?
Mystified by the leadership trio known as the O'Donnells, as well as the reason they brought her on board, Yalena stumbles onto an alarming secret. Pulled deeper into the mystery by the commander's son, she will find that some riddles can be hard to walk away from—especially if she is the one holding the answers.
28. Supernatural Academy by Jaymin Eve Maddison James is about to discover some truths about the world.
Firstly … supernaturals exist.
Secondly … she is one, even though no one seems to know exactly what kind.
Thirdly … she’s about to go back to school.
Well, things just got a little more interesting.
The Supernatural Academy is where shifters, vampires, magic users, and fey are educated. Where they are taught about their abilities, and how to function in the human world. Maddison already has the human part down, but this supernatural thing is an entirely new dangerous game.
Example one: mean girls who can actually turn you into a frog.
Example two: Asher Lock, a god at the Academy. Not literally … well, who knows for sure. He certainly acts the part, as do all of his minions who worship him.
Asher drives her crazy, because apparently snarly, gorgeous, and arrogant is her thing, and despite their mutual dislike, sparks fly between them. The more they’re thrown together, the more Asher is determined to figure out what’s been blocking her abilities.
Until the moment the truth is revealed, and they find out nothing in this supernatural world is what they thought.
29. The Orphan by Wendi L. Wilson Sometimes the ones who save us are the ones we need to fear the most.
In a world where dark faeries have stepped in to save the planet from humanity’s mistakes, seventeen-year-old December Thorne is nothing but a shadow. Shunned by her peers, bullied at school, and paid a little too much attention by her sleazy foster father, she lives in constant fear and perpetual solitude.
Until the day everything changes.
Offered a scholarship to the prestigious Oberon Academy, December finds herself living in a whole new world. Boundless food, clean clothes, a safe place to sleep, and the potential for true friendship make her new life seem almost too good to be true—but the school has a secret.
The truth is, Oberon Academy isn’t just a prep school for society’s elite. It’s a training ground for a secret race of magical beings no one knows exists. And they’re preparing for war.
Filled with fear and denial, December has a choice to make. She can either return to her pathetic life with her dangerous foster parents, try to survive on her own, or make Oberon Academy her home and discover the truth about who, and what she really is.
And that truth could save the world.
30. Nightworld Academy by L. J. Swallow Welcome to the Nightworld Academy, attended by vampires, shifters, and witches. A place filled with harmony and mutual respect between the supernatural races. Sometimes.
I'm told my curse is a gift. A valuable one that could cost me my life. My visions of the future are weird, but my new school is weirder. All lessons take place in the evening and the majority of students are on an advanced program where they take extra classes late into the night. I enrolled at the academy because my last school expelled me for punching another student. Nobody believed that I knocked Tyler unconscious to stop somebody else dying. But why would they believe the crazy girl?
I expected to meet other troubled teens here, but the pupils are predictable for an English boarding school. There's Ash, the rugby team captain and the academy's most popular guy. Then there's Andrei, the moody guy with a bad attitude who takes pleasure in annoying me. And Jamie who's studious and friendly but intense. I thought I had the academy figured out: the mean girl, the quirky friend, the nerd, the emo, and the jock. But on the evening, I swear allegiance to my new shool house, everything spins out of control, and I realize I'm dealing with more. Much more. One of us will die, and I know who.
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