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    15 Must-Read YA Books For Dark Academia Fans

    Lace up to those Oxfords, press those tweed blazers, and stop onto some of the most dangerous campuses YA has to offer.

    1. People Like Us by Dana Mele

    G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books / Via penguinrandomhouse.com, David McQueen

    Release date: Feb. 27, 2018

    What it's about: At Bates Academy, soccer player Kay and her friends rule all. But when a night of mischievous fun uncovers a familiar body, Kay finds herself blackmailed by the victim into performing a scavenger hunt to find the killer. As Kay struggles to prove her innocence with the help of an unlikely classmate, she risks losing both her friendships (including a particularly complex not-strictly-friendly one with another girl) and her freedom.

    Get it from Bookshop, Barnes & Noble, or your local bookstore via Indiebound here.

    2. A Lesson in Vengeance by Victoria Lee

    Delacorte Press / Via penguinrandomhouse.com, victorialeewrites.com

    Release date: Aug. 3, 2021

    What it's about: At Dalloway School, witchcraft is a thing of legend, especially since the mysterious death of the Dalloway Five. But Felicity isn't interested in dwelling on the school's dark path anymore; she wants to put her girlfriend's death behind her and focus on the future. Then teen novelist Ellis arrives, and Felicity can't resist her magnetic pull, even if it draws her back into a history Ellis never wanted to be doomed to repeat.

    Get it from Bookshop, Barnes & Noble, or your local bookstore via Indiebound here.

    3. A Study in Charlotte by Brittany Cavallaro

    Katherine Tegen Books, brittanycavallaro.com

    Release date: Mar. 1, 2016

    What it's about: The brilliant descendants of Holmes (here, a whip-smart addict named Charlotte with a painful past and no end to her sharp edges) and Watson (sweet and smart Jamie, who can't help falling head over heels when he shouldn't) find themselves wrapped up in a deadly mystery at their posh boarding school, and naturally, they can't possibly pass up on solving a mystery, especially when it hits too close to him and puts them in unfortunately suspicious light. (This series pairs perfectly with Truly Devious by Maureen Johnson, and if you've already read one and not the other, your new homework assignment is to fix that ASAP.)

    Get it from Bookshop, Target, or your local bookstore via Indiebound here.

    4. Ace of Spades by Faridah Abike-Ayimide

    Feiwel & Friends, faridahabikeiyimide.com

    Release date: June 1, 2021

    What it's about: For Devon Richards and Chiamaka Adebayo, the path to greatness begins with them being selected as senior prefects at Niveus Private Academy, all but guaranteeing them the brightest of futures...unless anonymous texter "Aces" has their way. As Aces systematically reveals every secret in the star students' vaults, things get increasingly dangerous, and may turn deadly if Devon and Chiamaka can't figure out who's quietly making their lives a living hell.

    Get it from Bookshop, Target, or your local bookstore via Indiebound here.

    5. They Wish They Were Us by Jessica Goodman

    Penguin, Allie Holloway / Via goodmanjessica.com

    Release date: Aug. 4, 2020

    What it's about: Jill Newman knows a little something about the dangers that lurk around Gold Coast Prep. After all, her best friend was killed by one of those dangers at the start of her freshman year. But when Jill's rise to senior power is marred by text messages implying the real killer is still out there, she'll have to choose between the easy path that's been laid out for her and uncovering whether there remains a darker truth and what it means for her own safety.

    Get it from Bookshop, Target, or your local bookstore via Indiebound here.

    6. An Education in Ruin by Alexis Bass

    Harper, alexisbassbooks.com

    Release date: July 7, 2020

    What it's about: Collins Pruitt has a plan: get the Mahoney brothers to trust her, find out all their secrets, make one fall for her...and then bring them both down. Everyone else at the Rutherford Institute may think they're untouchable, but Collins knows better, and she'll risk everything and ruin anyone to get revenge.

    Get it from Bookshop, Target, or your local bookstore via Indiebound here.

    7. How We Fall Apart by Katie Zhao

    Bloomsbury, katiezhao.com

    Release date: Aug. 3, 2021

    What it's about: When star student Jamie turns up dead, her best friends, including narrator Nancy, are stunned to find that they're at the top of the suspect list. Turns out, Jamie isn't the only one who knew their secrets, because the school's social media app seems to know them too, and someone is intent on using it to take them down. If Nancy wants to keep her scholarship and her life, she'll have to track down who's behind the murder and exposing their secrets, even if it's one of their own.

    Get it from Bookshop, Target, or your local bookstore via Indiebound here.

    8. The Ivies by Alexa Donne

    Crown, alexadonne.com

    Release date: May 25, 2021

    What it's about: If you're a student at Claflin Academy, you'd better watch your back, because there's a clique of five girls who call themselves the Ivies who will do absolutely anything to get what they want. And what they want is admission to the most elite universities in the country, no matter what they have to have to disrupt or who they have to destroy to get it.

    Get it from Bookshop, Target, or your local bookstore via Indiebound here.

    9. The Mary Shelley Club by Goldy Moldavsky

    Henry Holt & Company, goldymoldavsky.com

    Release date: Apr. 13, 2021

    What it's about: For Manhattan Prep scholarship kid Rachel, the Mary Shelley Club is a godsend, the one place that opens its arms to her when one of her pranks goes wrong and pisses off way too many people. But while it's supposed to be all fun and games in the form of scary pranks, no one's laughing when they turn all too real and someone ends up dead. Now the club itself is a target, and once again Rachel finds herself in crosshairs. But this time, someone else is in control, and she's going to find out who it is or literally die trying.

    Get it from Bookshop, Target, or your local bookstore via Indiebound here.

    10. As I Descended by Robin Talley

    Harperteen, Courtney Rae Rawls / Via robintalley.com

    Release date: Sept. 6, 2016

    What it's about: What happens when you take Shakespeare's most cursed play and set it in boarding school? You get a YA novel full of deadly ambition, ghosts, and tragic love gone terribly awry. Maria and Lily are Acheron Academy's supreme power couple, and they're determined to keep that going for four more years at Stanford. To do that, they'll need to eliminate any competition, which means Delilah Dufrey is going down. With the help of the dark magic that haunts the land of the school, Maria and Lily put their plan into action, but when it grows deadly, the brutality of the repercussions are, well, Shakespearean levels.

    Get it from Bookshop or your local bookstore via Indiebound here.

    11. The Devil Makes Three by Tori Bovalino

    Page Street Kids, toribovalino.com

    Release date: Aug. 10, 2021

    What it's about: Tess doesn't wanna be spending all summer working at her boarding school's library, especially when it forces her to deal with insufferable classmates like Eliot Birch. Then Tess and Eliot discover an ancient book in the library's collection of grimoires and unleash a demon, and the two are thrown together whether they like it or not. Because if they can't vanquish the demon, who's stealing Eliot's magic and giving Tess horrific nightmares, they might be stuck in the hell they've created forever.

    Get it from Bookshop, Target, or your local bookstore via Indiebound here.

    12. Without Annette by Jane B. Mason

    Scholastic Press, janebmason.com

    Release date: May 31, 2016

    What it's about: This one is considerably heavier on academia than darkness, but needs a shout for its boarding school intrigue (secret tunnels!) that brings it a tinge of the classic feel of books like A Separate Peace. It stars a girl named Josie who goes to an elite boarding school with her girlfriend, Annette, only to find that while Annette seems to fit in seamlessly, Josie decidedly does not. But part of what helps Annette fit in is keeping Josie a secret, which forces Josie to find her own social life amid a group of boys with mysterious hobbies. As secrets drive them further and further apart, Josie watches as Annette turns into someone she doesn't know, someone she may never know again.

    Get it from Bookshop, Barnes & Noble, or your local bookstore via Indiebound here.

    13. Killing November by Adriana Mather

    Knopf Books for Young Readers / Via penguinrandomhouse.com, Twitter: @adrianamather

    Release date: Mar. 26, 2019

    What it's about: Academia takes on a bit of a different look at the deadly intense and intensely deadly Academy Absconditi, which prides itself on training the next generation of the world's deadliest spies and assassins. November has no idea what she's doing among them, and she certainly doesn't know the rules, which keeps landing her about a minute away from the business end of something pointy. With the help of a few allies (if they are even allies), she starts to learn the ropes, but all bets are off when a student is murdered and she's forced to prove her innocence and save herself from becoming the next victim.

    Get it from Bookshop, Target, or your local bookstore via Indiebound here.

    14. Private by Kate Brian

    Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, Sona Viola / Via simonandschuster.com

    Release date: July 1, 2006

    What it's about: Getting a scholarship to Easton Academy is everything to Reed Brennan, who needs to put about a million miles of space between her and her mother. But Easton is its own brand of challenging, full of unimaginable wealth, and when Reed lands with the creme de la creme in Billings Hall, she couldn't be more aware of how poorly she fits in with her rich classmates. Of course, that doesn't mean she won't try to become one of them, to go to their parties and date their boys. But the glitz and glamour are only one aspect of the Billings girls, and Reed may not be ready to dig into the darkness that lies beneath.

    Get it from Bookshop, Target, or your local bookstore via Indiebound here.

    15. A Beautiful Doom by Laura Pohl

    Sourcebooks Fire / Via Author, Via onlybylaura.com

    Release date: Aug. 3, 2021

    What it's about: Okay, so this might head a little deeper into the fairytale fantastical than the rest of this list, but secrets and death at an elite academy simply cannot be ignored. This title kicks off Grimrose Girls, a new series about three girls who used to be part of a quartet, until one of their own was murdered. Now Ella, Yuki, and Rory are determined to find the killer, even while the death of their best friend has been ruled a suicide. Enter Nani, their new roommate, who brings with her a whole host of complications and cracks the discovery of a curse wide open...a curse that will kill them all if they can't figure out how to break it.

    Get it from Bookshop, Barnes & Noble, or your local bookstore via Indiebound here.

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