My Favorite Dark Academia Books | What to Read Wednesdays

What to Read Wednesdays

What to Read Wednesdays is a weekly post just for recommendations. If you’re like me and are always looking for new book recommendations (despite having a never-ending-always-growing TBR pile), then this is the post for you! Each week I’ll be posting my recommendations for a specific theme, which will change week-to-week.

Feel free to let me know in the comments if there is a genre you’d like to see some recommendations for! I am an eclectic reader and I hit up almost any genre, so if there’s a type of book that is your favorite thing and you’d like a recommendation, let me know!

Anyways, now for the book recs!

My Favorite “Dark Academia” Books

I’ve only recently realized that this sub-genre exists, but taking a look at common books included in this category, I realized I have read quite a few. In this post, I want to recommend my favorite books that fall under this sub-genre.

What is “dark academia”? Essentially, it’s books that have university or school settings, or books that are tied to classic Greek or Gothic aesthetics. Often, this subgenre includes murder or a mystery of some sort, a menacing or threatening atmosphere, but not always.

You may have already read some of these books or they might be on your TBR or this is your first time seeing them, but whatever the case may be, I hope you enjoy this list!


Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro

This book has long been one of my favorites, well before I even knew what dark academia was. It was written before such an aesthetic existed, even, but it’s right at home in this genre. It’s a dystopian tale about three friends who grow up within the school of Hailsham, not getting to experience the wider world until they are adults. Once they get to step out into the real world, they begin to realize how many secrets have been kept from them. It’s a brilliant book, the writing is superb, and the twist is quite shocking.


The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks by E. Lockhart

I read this book so long ago, but I think of it every now and then. It’s one of those YA books that is totally not what you expect walking into it. This book not only has one of my favorite YA female protagonists, but it’s also really smartly written and it’s quite a page-turner! It takes place in a world of boarding schools and secret societies. Frankie is not one to be kept out of a society, even if it’s all male. There are pranks and there is crime committed. Definitely check it out!


If We Were Villains by M.L. Rio

This book shook me! I did not expect to be as swept away as I was when I read it. I was drawn to it initially because it’s a mystery involving a group of friends at a liberal-arts college in the middle of nowhere. The main cast are all studying drama, the book is Shakespeare-obsessed, and there is a murder. You go through the whole book wondering who the killer actually is, but the ending is definitely not what you’d expect. This book really moved me and the ending is frustrating, but I can’t fault it because I fell in love with the book already.


The Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo

I wasn’t expecting to like this book. I was fresh off of reading Crooked Kingdom and feeling resentful of Bardugo killing off my favorite character. However, my girlfriend book club wanted to read this book, so here we are. It takes place on a university campus and there’s magic and murder and a general mayhem ensues. It’s actually good, though it leaves off on a cliffhanger, of which I am not a fan, but regardless, the writing is good, the characters are interesting, and the magic is quite different and I’m liking the puzzle of it. It does start off a bit slow – lots of world-building dumped onto you and it takes a while to parse through it all, but once you do the story really picks up and takes you for a ride.


Vicious by V.E. Schwab

I heard so many good things about this book and this author that I knew I had to give it a read. The story is basically about two friends who grow to have differing opinions on what to do with their new-found discovery of creating superpowers. If you like books full of morally grey characters, this one is for you. It’s crazy how Schwab creates two characters who are both villainous in their own ways, yet you end up rooting for one villain over the other. I am really excited about reading the sequel (yes, it is a duology). I hope it’s just as good as this one.

How about you?

What are some of your favorite books in the dark academia genre ? Please post yours in the comments and share the love! I hope you enjoyed the post and thank you for stopping by!

6 thoughts on “My Favorite Dark Academia Books | What to Read Wednesdays

    1. Yes, I was surprised by how much I enjoyed Ninth House. I’m waiting for the second book. What a cliff-hanger! Definitely check out If We Were Villains, it was so crazy and good!

      Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you! I’m so excited to read the second book in the Vicious series. I’m waiting impatiently for Bardugo to publish the second “Ninth House” book. Did you hear they’re developing a series for it?!

      Liked by 2 people

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