Top Ten Tuesday: School Freebie

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.

This week’s prompt is school freebie, a topic to tie in with school/education, so for this I’m going for my favourite books set (fully or partly) at schools – I just find schools to be such fun settings for stories, especially when there’s a dash of fantasy included.

Top Ten Books Set at Schools

Babel, or The Necessity of Violence: An Arcane History of the Oxford Translators’ Revolution
R.F. Kuang

Starting this with the book I am currently reading, and have just under four hours to go (according to my Kindle), Babel tells the story of young Robin Swift, taken from his home in Canton by Professor Lovell, back to England, where Lovell ensures he studies languages. Robin attends Babel, a centre of translation located in Oxford. I love the setting, but alongside that Babel makes some excellent points around colonisation, class, race, and the way the British Empire operated, and incorporating a really intriguing, fascinating magic system based on languages. Truly, if you love language, this book will make your heart sing with joy.


Her Majesty’s Royal Coven
Juno Dawson

The ‘school’ as such is a relatively small part of this, but it’s going through the lessons and training that bonds these girls, and it’s how Theo learns about magic and, in turn, bonds with Elle’s daughter. The core group of characters are varied and distinctive, but it’s Theo and Theo’s journey that really makes this stand out. I loved it, every moment, and couldn’t help but shed a tear at the end. Now I eagerly await book #2.


Dread Wood
Jennifer Killick

This middle-grade horror works so well and was such an entertaining read, and the school as a backdrop does a great job at adding to the tension. Even worse, the kids are at Saturday detention, and who wants that? The detention turns deadly, and the kids must make their way through the school grounds in order to survive. It’s a fantastic book and one I recommend to both budding and seasoned Horror fans.

My review of Dread Wood


Undercover Princess
Connie Glynn

Like Dread Wood, I read this book as part of a blog tour for The Write Reads. And I loved it. The school is more grounded in reality than the others mentioned here, but it’s still borderline fantasy, and full of very wealthy children. It makes for a really intriguing setup, and means Lottie has to contend with the realities of everyday life in school as well as her best friend being a princess.

My review of Undercover Princess


School of X: A Marvel: Xavier’s Institute Anthology
Edited by Gwendolyn Nix

This one is an anthology, with all stories centred around the Xavier’s Institute, focusing on the newest generation of X-Men. It’s a great Young Adult anthology, for any X-Men fan. I’m more familiar with the 90’s cartoon and the film characters, but still found this to be really enjoyable, especially as you pick up on the various characters quite quickly. Strong X-Men: Evolution vibes to this, too.

My review of School of X


Fireborn
Aisling Fowler

Another blog tour book, this one starts at a school where children train to hunt monsters. It’s a lot of fun, and the bulk of the book is Twelve’s journey when she leaves the school to track down her friend. There’s some great intrigue around the characters’ pasts and the structure of this world, and Fowler does a great job of building it all up. Fantastic middle-grade fantasy.

My review of Fireborn


Kate in Waiting
Becky Albertalli

Ah this book was adorable! A YA Contemporary, a lot of this novel takes place at Kate’s school, and it’s her and her best friend Andy’s mutual crush showing up at the school that causes all sorts of problems for the best friends. It was a really enjoyable, refreshing read that absolutely made my theatre kid heart sing, even if that’s not a talent I particularly possess.

My review of Kate in Waiting


You Should See Me in a Crown
Leah Johnson

Liz is stuck in a prom-obsessed town, and has to enter the race for prom queen for a scholarship. It’s awkward and uncomfortable but Mack, the new girl at school, makes it that little bit more bearable. This book was utterly fantastic, really joyful, and of course with it focusing on prom it’s very much school-based. It’s a tender story but doesn’t shy away from the realities of life, either.

My review of You Should See Me in a Crown


The Secrets of Drearcliff Grange School
Kim Newman

I like Newman. I think he’s a good writer who knows his classic horror really well, and uses influences to great effect, from literature and film. This book is one that’s kind of fading in memory, but I remember really liking it and thinking it had such a good use of atmosphere to it, and the school offered an excellent setting for this book.


The Poppy War
R.F. Kuang

Kuang might just be too good at this. This is less education-centric than Babel, but it’s a fantastic Fantasy novel, grounded in a very real history, and it’s dark as hell. Don’t let the marketing fool you, this is not a Young Adult book. This book is very different to Babel, yet you can see the threads of inspiration through both. Effective and heart-breaking and absolutely beautiful in the way the darkest things sometimes are, The Poppy War sees protagonist Rin gaining entrance to Sinegard, the most elite military school in Nikan. If you haven’t picked this up yet, I really do recommend it. I still need to read the second book in the trilogy, but I think I’m going to aim to start reading it by the end of the year.


There we have it – ten great books set at schools! So I’d love to know what are your favourite school-based books, and please do leave a link for your own TTT post if you’ve done one, as I’m really excited to see what other ideas people come up with for this one!

4 thoughts on “Top Ten Tuesday: School Freebie

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