Staff Recommendations: Our Favorite Fictional Schools

School is back in session. We asked our staff to share their favorite bookish schools.

Favorite Fictional Schools

Matilda by Roald Dahl

“We see Matilda grow up and enter a school where she meets Ms. Honey, who notices that the child is gifted. This book is a favorite because it features a strong and inspiring female protagonist who teaches us to stand up for ourselves.​”

– Andi Holt, outreach services assistant

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Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling

“I love these stories about a child’s whole world-changing. They are thrown into a new magical school and they survive by the bonds of friendships. The friends solve mysteries, fight evil forces and survive the OWL exams.”

– Brittany Parr, children’s services programmer, Cold Spring Branch

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The Iron Trial by Holly Black and Cassandra Clare

“This series is perfect for kids (or adults!) and follows 12-year-old Callum as he begins his magical education at the Magisterium. It’s like a mixture of Harry Potter, Percy Jackson, and Avatar: The Last Airbender, so what’s not to love?!” 

– Danielle Heiert, adult/teen services programmer, Cold Spring Branch

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The Secret History by Donna Tartt

“Set in a fictional, small, elite, liberal arts college in Vermont, The Secret History just revels in its environment. You can feel the cold of winter as a small group of students unwind in the wake of the murder that they’ve committed.”

– JC Morgan, Library Director

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The Hound of Rowan by Henry H. Neff

“The first book in the Tapestry series initially came out in the wave of Harry Potter knock-offs, but it is unique and compelling enough in its own right to stand apart from similar books. It may also be about a magical kid who learns about his powers and is invited to a magical boarding school, but it relies more on Celtic mythology and has much more intricate world-building.”

– Leah Byars, collections services assistant, Newport Branch

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A Great and Terrible Beauty by Libba Bray

“A girl in India loses her parent and is sent to a boarding school in London. However, she has powers that can take her to another world where anything she desires appears. Along with her new friends at school, she has to crack the secret of this world they can visit.”

Tera Stadtmiller, information services assistant, Carrico/Fort Thomas Branch

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