Hello hello and welcome or welcome back to my little bookish corner of the internet. Time for another addition to my Five Books With… collection today, and I’ve gone for school settings.
Schools are really interesting settings for books, especially mysteries and thrillers, as they’re really an expansion on a locked room mystery. It’s a close enviroment; even if you don’t know everyone’s name, people look familiar, and the social dynamics add extra drama into books that are already full of power plays.
Throughout this year, I’ve read a lot of books that have schools have their main or only setting, and it’s made me reflect back a bit on my own school days. We’re all so wrapped up in our own worlds that it’s worth wondering how much we really notice what’s going on around us beyond the obvious, and having a child who has now started at secondary school has really made me remember just how much we can, equally, be impacted by things that have nothing to do with us at all. Just some of the dramas I’m hearing about from the playground make me relieved I’m not the one back in the building, and almost praying for university. But then the booze properly starts… Oh God.
Anyway, while I have a minor breakdown over here, here’s five books with school settings that really made their mark on my reading mind.
How We Fall Apart
This one really wedged itself in my head! I haven’t been able to help my thoughts drifting back to it on a regular basis since I finished it, intrigued as to where the next book will take us, and curious about how still in the dark we are about some of the characters. It managed to answer so many questions when it finished up yet left so many question marks, and I loved that. Open endings are only my pet hate because I love them so much.
The Simon Snow series is definitely one of my favorite series going, and the first book, Carry On, really introduces us to a magic school with rules like we’ve never seen them before, along with a good old enemies to lovers romance, a vampire, and a bad guy storyline we didn’t see coming. The fact that this series also focuses on the “what next?” for a chosen one trope means it gets even more bonus points from me just for sheer individuality. Being stuck in a room together means Simon and Baz end up facing off the way they do, and I wouldn’t change this book for anything.
One Of Us Is Lying
One of Us Is Lying is the story of what happens when five strangers walk into detention and only four walk out alive. Everyone is a suspect, and everyone has something to hide.
I read this book – and everything else Karen M. McManus had published at that point – last year, and it was impossible to not fall in love with the writing, the characters, the story. Utterly compelling and irrestistable, I can’t wait for the third and final installment. Review here.
Ace of Spades
Ace of Spades is about so much than just the two characters that we meet, and the school plays a far bigger role in it than we could have predicted. This very needed book is one of the most powerful books I’ve read this year, and while I hate that it is needed, the impact it has had speaks for itself. It was wonderfully written, unavoidably confrontational in the best way, and ready to absolutely take people to task for change. Brilliance.
I love this series as I’ve mentioned multiple times, and the first book, S.T.A.G.S., really lays the foundation for a series with twists and turns that are as unpredictable as they are brilliant. At the end of book two, D.O.G.S., we’re really asked to reconsider everything we thought we knew. And of course this series starts off with one of my favourite ever opening lines: “I think I might be a murderer”. The school dynamic plays a major part in this book, and without the boarding school confines, it just wouldn’t work.
These are just five of some of my favourite books with school settings. Did any of your top books make the list? Are there any books I absolutely need to read based on this list? Let me know in the comments!