School is back in session, so what better way to celebrate than by reading books about elite schools and universities full of students who are definitely harboring secrets and are maybe involved in dangerous escapades? Knowledge certainly is power in these novels:
THE SECRET HISTORY by Donna Tartt (DB 35868)
When Richard Papen is accepted at a small Vermont college, he gladly leaves his boring California identity behind. After he makes up an appropriate past, Richard is allowed to join an elite group of students who take all their classes from one professor. Richard learns that the clique is hiding some odd secrets—and one deadly one. The members trust Richard, but they are not so sure of one of their own. Strong language and violence.
ACE OF SPADES by Faridah Abike-Iyimide (DB 103918)
Shortly after the announcement that Devon and Chiamaka will be part of an elite school’s Senior Prefects, someone who goes by the name Aces begins using anonymous text messages to reveal secrets about the two of them that threaten to turn their lives upside down. Unrated. Commercial audiobook. For senior high and older readers. 2021.
WE WISH YOU LUCK by Caroline Zancan (DB 98209)
The students in Fielding’s MFA program are fascinated by Leslie, Hannah, and Jimmy. The trio do not take well to new visiting professor Simone—a bestselling author and former model—and plot revenge against her for reasons unknown to the other students. Unrated.
BRADSTREET GATE by Robin Kirman (DB 82108)
When a Harvard student is murdered, Professor Rufus Storrow is the prime suspect. Three of his students—Georgia, Charlie, and Alice—are in disbelief. Their own relationships are a tangled mess, and as they sort through their lives, they bear witness to each other’s and Storrow’s highs and lows. Unrated.
CATHERINE HOUSE by Elisabeth Thomas (DB 99407)
Catherine House, a college secluded in the woods of rural Pennsylvania, offers students an elite education, free of charge. The only catch is students must remain completely cut off from the outside world for three years. New student Ines Murillo arrives at Catherine House hoping to escape her past. Unrated. Commercial audiobook. 2020.
SPECIAL TOPICS IN CALAMITY PHYSICS by Marisha Pessl (DB 63286)
Blue Van Meer, erudite daughter of an itinerant professor, settles into Stockton, North Carolina, for her senior year in an elite high school. But she is unprepared for the deaths of a student and a favorite teacher. Some strong language.
BLACK CHALK by Christopher Yates (DB 89950)
As played by six best friends in their first year at Oxford University, what was meant to be a game of consequences, silly forfeits, and childish dares evolved into a vicious struggle with tragic results. Fourteen years later, the remaining players must play the final round. Strong language.
LONG BLACK VEIL by Jennifer Finney Boylan (DB 91470)
In 1980, six college students sneak into the dilapidated ruins of Philadelphia’s Eastern State Penitentiary. When the friends get lost and separated, the terrifying night ends in tragedy. Decades later, the dogged detective investigating the cold case charges one of them—a celebrity chef—with murder. Strong language and some violence.
THE LYING GAME by Ruth Ware (BR 22055 and DB 88914)
Isa became fast friends with Kate, Thea, and Fatima while they all attended boarding school. Seventeen years later, Kate summons the others back to Salten, where they learn that the lying game, they used to play had very real consequences. Strong language and some descriptions of sex.
THE CLUB by Takis Würger (DB 99521)
After the death of his parents, Hans is sent to boarding school until his Aunt Alex summons him to the university she works at in Cambridge. She needs him to infiltrate a secretive institution known as the Pitt Club. Unrated.
THE MAIDENS by Alex Michaelides (DB 103810)
Mariana Andros is a brilliant—but troubled—group therapist who becomes fixated on the members of a secret society of female students at Cambridge University known as The Maidens. When a friend of her niece is found murdered, she is convinced that charismatic professor Edward Fosca is responsible. Unrated.
BUNNY by Mona Awad (DB 95562)
Samantha Heather Mackey is an outsider in her master’s program because she’s a scholarship student who prefers the company of her dark imagination to the company of people—especially the clique of women who call each other “Bunny.” But then she is drawn into their world. Unrated.