Given my raging case of Anglophilia (I’m seeing a doctor about that next week, I swear), it’s really no surprise that I should be so enamoured of the British-boarding-school genre.
Is it the complete contrast to my Canadian-public-school upbringing? Or is it the way the school-year format lends itself so well to plot development? Either way, I love immersing myself in them. The uniforms with plaid skirts and blazers probably don’t help either.
So, in no particular order, here are my top three British-boarding-school books.
The Gemma Doyle trilogy (Libba Bray)
-Set in a Victorian-era finishing school for girls, these books feature a female protagonist who constantly defies what is expected of her. She battles evil supernatural forces, tames societal dragons, and masters the full curtsy, all while wearing a corset. LOVE LOVE LOVE the ending.
The Harry Potter series (J.K. Rowling)
-Seriously, who DIDN’T want to attend Hogwarts?! While I might have my problems with the ending to this series, I really appreciate the world-building that the author has done. Also, part of me has always wanted a magic wand and my very own pet dragon.
Never Let Me Go (Kazuo Ishiguro)
-The only intended-for-adults book on my list, this book takes the boarding school and plants it firmly in dystopian sci-fi territory. An unsettling entry, this novel charts the lives of students well into adulthood. This is definitely one that will stay with you.
I know that none of these are typical examples of the genre, but keep in mind that I can only blog about what I’ve already read. Also, to be completely honest, it’s so much easier to find contemporary books than the classics.
In closing, it was SO HARD to do this without spoilers. YOU’RE WELCOME.