Top Ten Tuesday: Books Set In/Around School

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly linkup of book bloggers hosted by The Broke and The Bookish! It's Back To School week, and so this week we're picking a school-themed list of our own choosing to share. I decided to highlight some books that are set at school, whether that be high school or college. It also made me think about my own last first day of school and that was somehow eight years ago and I'm really old, guys.



Speak: I first read this book when I was a high school freshman and I think every high schooler, boys and girls alike, should read it. Smart and insightful and makes a big impact.

The Secret History: An all-time favorite (sorry not sorry that this book is on like a million of my lists), this book focuses on a small clique of Classics students at a little liberal arts college in the Northeast and the murder they commit and it's amazing.

The Serpent King: Three high-school outcasts bond together to get through their senior year in rural Tennessee and this takes you right back to the loneliness and confusion and hope of that time of life.

The Lords of Discipline: Author Pat Conroy's own experiences at The Citadel, the military academy, inform this incredible, heartbreaking book about a recruit's reflections on his past and experiences during the year he's about to graduate.

Chemistry: The sole grad school book on this list, this recent release is about a young woman working on her Ph.D. who finds herself questioning whether it, and the rest of the life she's arranged for herself, is what she actually wants. A great book for college and grad students.

Spoiled: Back to high school for this frothy, fun book about two sisters at a snooty L.A. private school trying to figure out who they are, and want to be, in the public eye. It's packed with high-school-movie tropes in the best possible way.

Friday Night Lights: This nonfiction book looks at high school through the lens of high-visibility sports...in this case, football in Texas. Unflinching look at the incredible pressure that these teenagers exist under while trying to do the same school stuff everyone else is doing too.

The Last Picture Show: This book also features sports as a motif, but it's more about the relationships between high school seniors, and growing up in a dying town, and wanting to escape but being afraid of escaping at the same time. It's really heartwrenching, honestly.

Harry Potter: Okay, this isn't American schooling, but how could I leave out the Harry Potter series? They all take place in and around the wizarding school of Hogwarts and they're the best.

Daughters of Eve: I was recently reminded of this Lois Duncan book that I loved in high school, which is campy delight. It's about a teacher getting together a group of female students to be a sisterhood support club...or are they actually just out to destroy men? Well, not men so much as garbage people who happen to be male. SO over the top and ridiculous.

8 comments

  1. Yes, Harry Potter is a great choice there!

    Friday Night Lights sounds good as well.

    Here is our TTT

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    1. Harry Potter is a good choice in most situations, honestly :)

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  2. Oh my gosh - how could I have left FNL off my list?!! Kicking myself...

    And don't worry about Secret History - it was on my list too. And should be on many, many lists!

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    1. I was surprised (even though I shouldn't have been, really) at how different it was from the show. It makes me curious about the movie version and what it's closer to

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  3. Interesting list! I've gotta say, The Secret History definitely caught me eye. I can't tell if I would like Chemistry or not-- on the one hand as a grad student it definitely appeals to me. On the other hand, it does appear to be a uniquely written novel and maybe not really my style?

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    1. It's definitely a less traditional, linear structure, so it was a little hard to get into. If you don't tend to enjoy stories told that way, it probably wouldn't be a worthwhile read. The Secret History, though, I recommend to anyone and everyone!

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  4. Of these I've only read Harry Potter. I've heard great things about Speak though, so should probably get to that!
    My TTT: https://jjbookblog.wordpress.com/2017/08/22/top-ten-tuesday-121/

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