We daydream and fear boarding schools in turn. The prospect of leaving home as a teenager and setting off to share a (bath)room with strangers is every adolescent's dream, and every adolescent nightmares. In the end, some of us choose to experience boarding schools firsthand, and others choose to experience them through literature. (Is there a third category? We don't know of any.)
And much like ourselves who fear and dream of boarding schools, the characters who end up in one can end up one or two ways: the boarding school can become a sanctuary, an epicenter of their experience as a young adult, or they can be a microcosm of the establishment - something for the character to stand up and fight against.
Whether they are beloved or challenged, the boarding schools featured in this list have proven hard to forget, and harder still to dismiss. These are the schools we want to attend ourselves - ones where mischief and shenanigans never sleep, and which have taught us as many life lessons as the characters who got to attend it firsthand. We're jealous. We can only wish it were us.
1. Hogwarts (Harry Potter)
Well, duh. What else would be our number one? There's no other school we'd rather attend and no other students we'd want to cause mayhem with. Imagine walking the halls of Hogwarts, magic and enchantment everywhere, adventures every year (hopefully not with as much possibility of death like Harry's!) and sneaking around at midnight with your friends and the ghosts of Hogwarts as company. Waking up early after little sleep to attend a class on how to kick some serious wizard arse with magic. In a dream world.
2. Hecate Hall (Hex Hall)
Hecate Hall is not the best place in which to land after you've been a rascal paranormal. The fairies in the school are standoffish, the werewolves have no concept of personal space, everyone is prejudiced against the vampires and the witches... well, the witches are the worst of the lot. But Hex Hall is decidedly a place where mischief never sleeps, where magic roams freely, and where just about anything is possible if one sets their mind to it. On the whole, we feel the good outweighs the bad. We'll just hang with the underdogs.
3. Alabaster Prep (The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks)
Let's put it this way: if you are of the Ivy-League-bound, you cannot go wrong with Alabaster Prep. If you are a particular fan of shenanigans, Alabaster Prep may have just the clique for you. If you're a male, Alabaster Prep will open all its doors for you. If you're a woman, it'll open most.
And if you're seeking to change the world... Alabaster Prep is as good a place as any to start.
4. School of America in Paris "SOAP" (Anna and the French Kiss)
At the Honest Bookclub, we have a love for Paris. And the idea of living in such a beautiful city is just something we can only wish would happen. Being able to meet people who speak the same language, yet on weekends, go to see French movies, visit markets and eat the local cuisine. Yes please! And not forgetting - the Eiffel Tower. What a view that must be! I certainly didn't have views like that near my school. The way author Stephanie Perkins wrote the book and Anna's experience in Paris makes us green with envy, and want to attend the boarding school 'SOAP' so bad. Shall we book our tickets now? I think so.
5. Camp Half-Blood (Percy Jackson)
It's hard to determine whether Camp Half Blood is a boarding school or not, as you could class it as a school in some way. They're there for protection, teaching young demigods strategy, the use of weapons and to keep them all united. Separated by cabins, each one assigned to the children of specific Gods, it's a living quarters and educational place for demigods to help fight evil. It's a place I'd love to go to, I can only imagine how amazing it would be to walk amoungst the children of Gods, camp beads, Capture the Flag and fireside marshmallows and songs. How can you not?
6. St. Vladimir's Academy (Vampire Academy)
On the whole, it's probably not the smartest idea to cross the teachers of St. Vladimir's Academy or attempt to evade them for too long. They're Vampires, you see, and you have to live in the dorms on the premises. Worse than the teachers still are the cliques - the intricate web manipulations and deceptions all in search of some arbitrary social standing. And then there's all the dying. But despite it all, St. Vladimir's Academy is also home to the best, most badass combat training one could ever hope to receive. It is home to centuries' knowledge and history. And it is the point around which all will rally if suddenly the threat was coming from outside, and what's at risk is more than just one's school reputation.
7. Gallagher Academy (Gallagher Girls)It's an elite school for spies. It's a spy school. You can't get any cooler than that, can you? Cammie's mother in the books is the headteacher, who I have to admit, is pretty cool. Good teachers, awesome lessons that is a lot more interesting than maths, and friends that our protagonist has that are adorable and loyal to the end. There's no shortage of adventure and a nearby school that's just full of handsome boys? Yep. Pretty much the Durmstrang of the books. Can't complain.
8. Sword & Cross Reform School (Fallen)
Yes, Sword & Cross is a reform school. But it is a reform school with a rather paranormal twist, which makes the otherwise monotone classes and activities a lot more interesting, and gives a whole new meaning to the eerie atmosphere which descends upon the school. The protagonist Luce doesn't often take full advantage of all the possibilities that attending Sword & Cross would entail... but we certainly would.
9. Spence Academy (Gemma Doyle)
At Spence, they teach you all the wrong things - how to dismiss original thought, how to defer to the opinions of men, and how to be lovely, pretty and peppy enough to attract a suitable match for marriage. Like many of the schools on this list, it is by no means an ideal setting. But where else does one learn to question the system than in a place which strains to remain unchanged in times of change? Where else does one find the strength to be the voice of opposition? And where can we find a more perfect setting for just such a rebellion than in an all-girl boarding school in Victorian England?
10. Culver Creek Prep (Looking For Alaska)
The boarding school in John's book is pretty much a school I'd avoid, if I'm honest. But it's interesting to read about, for sure! Me not wanting to attend doesn't make it a bad school though, the idea of going would just terrify me. Pranks, bad influences and crazy people, it's a place for courageous and fun-loving people. Nicknames are a necessity to 'survive', and intelligence and spoken wise words are main attributes to students at this school.
It's strange that we want to attend a school, but these are definitely more than schools. They're lifestyles we wish we had when we were kids. Maybe even go to now, in some cases. Wow, looking back, our schools were complete dumps!
Is there a boarding school you wish you attended or could attend now? Don't hesitate to let us know via the comments or at any of our social media platforms!
TOP 10 BOOKS SET IN A BOARDING SCHOOL
4/ 5Oleh The Honest Bookclub