books The Best Novels About Prep School  

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254 votes 58 voters 4.5k views 32 items

List Rules What are the best fiction books about or set in boarding schools?

List of the Best Novels About Prep School. Nothing quite captures the zeitgeist like privileged teen angst, as displayed in the best novels about prep school. From The Catcher in the Rye’s Holden Caulfield to Hogwarts’ Harry Potter, the best boarding school fiction isn’t just the stuff of dark hallways and confused sexuality; it’s the stuff of legend.

English professors might scoff at a few of these selections. However, this list of the best novels about prep school is comprised of volumes that have consistently gained the reader stamp of approval, whether over several decades (Muriel Spark’s The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie), or spanning centuries (Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol).

The best novels about prep school share a few common themes: a general search for meaning, good versus evil, suicide and suicidal thoughts, lost love, unrequited love, and waning youth. The protagonists from these academies might be students (Gene Forrester, in John Knowles’ A Separate Peace) or teachers (Mr. Chipping, in James Hilton’s Goodbye, Mr. Chips), but often their struggles mirror each other.

While the best boarding school books primarily feature characters from advantaged backgrounds, the painful, isolating, thrilling and confounding experiences of adolescence resonate across generations, socioeconomic status, gender identities -- muggle or magical-born. That’s why this definitive list of the best novels about prep school speaks to so many readers.
list ordered by

1
23 4
A Separate Peace is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Novels About Prep School
A Separate Peace John Knowles

2
11 1
The World According to Garp is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Novels About Prep School

3
15 3
Harry Potter and the Order of ... is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Novels About Prep School

4
15 4
Prep is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Novels About Prep School
Prep Curtis Sittenfeld

5
19 8
The Catcher in the Rye is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Novels About Prep School
The Catcher in the Rye J. D. Salinger

6
10 2
Jane Eyre is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Novels About Prep School
Jane Eyre Charlotte Brontë

7
7 3
A Prayer for Owen Meany is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Novels About Prep School

8
5 2
The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Novels About Prep School

9
3 0
Winter Light is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Novels About Prep School
peter thompson added Winter Light Peter Thompson

10
3 1
new girls is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Novels About Prep School
The New Girls Beth Richardson Gutcheon

11
3 1
The Chocolate War is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Novels About Prep School
swag added The Chocolate War Robert Cormier

12
4 3
Old School is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Novels About Prep School
Old School Tobias Wolff

13
3 2
Last Term at Malory Towers is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Novels About Prep School

14
3 2
Good-bye, Mr. Chips is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Novels About Prep School
Good-bye, Mr. Chips James Hilton

The Best Movies About Prep School

15
2 1
The Austere Academy is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Novels About Prep School
The Austere Academy Daniel Handler

16
2 2
The World of Henry Orient is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Novels About Prep School

17
2 2
Prodigy is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Novels About Prep School
Prodigy David Kalstein

18
2 2
The Last Olympian is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Novels About Prep School
The Last Olympian Rick Riordan

19
2 2
Upper Fourth at Malory Towers is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Novels About Prep School

20
2 3
In the Fifth at Malory Towers is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Novels About Prep School

21
2 3
First Term at Malory Towers is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Novels About Prep School

The Best Free eBooks

22
2 3
Third Year at Malory Towers is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Novels About Prep School

23
2 3
Skippy Dies is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Novels About Prep School
Skippy Dies Paul Murray

24
1 2
The Second Form at Malory Towe... is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Novels About Prep School

25
1 2
To Serve Them All My Days is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Novels About Prep School
To Serve Them All My Days R. F. Delderfield

26
2 4
A Christmas Carol is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Best Novels About Prep School
A Christmas Carol Charles Dickens

27
1 3
The Battle of the Labyrinth is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Best Novels About Prep School

28
1 3
The Mists of Avalon is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Best Novels About Prep School
The Mists of Avalon Marion Zimmer Bradley

29
1 3
The Lightning Thief is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Best Novels About Prep School
The Lightning Thief Rick Riordan

30
1 3
The Sea of Monsters is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Best Novels About Prep School
The Sea of Monsters Rick Riordan

31
0 2
The rector of Justin is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Best Novels About Prep School
The Rector of Justin Louis Auchincloss

32
0 2
The Headmaster's Dilemma is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Best Novels About Prep School
The Headmaster's Dilemma Louis Auchincloss