Book List

I Solemnly Swear That I am Up to No Good: Questionable Boarding School Activities

March 16, 2017
Julie Jarema
Riveted Editorial Board

Because I’m a nerd, I love a good boarding school story. The setting is ripe for characters getting up to all sorts of trouble with the lack of adult supervision. Shades of Darkness, one of our current free reads (available until March 27th!), definitely takes this to the extreme, since the students at Islington are being murdered in mysterious ritual sacrifices. Of course, not all boarding schools are rampant with crime and magic. Across genres, though, it seems that mischief abounds. I guess the real lesson here is that if your classmates are paranormal, spies, or into cultish rituals, public school is probably the safer option.

Which boarding school would be your top choice to attend? Let me know in the comments!

The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banksby E. Lockhart

Frankie Landau-Banks at age 14:

Debate Club.

Her father’s “bunny rabbit.”

A mildly geeky girl attending a highly competitive boarding school.

Frankie Landau-Banks at age 15:

A knockout figure.

A sharp tongue.

A chip on her shoulder.

And a gorgeous new senior boyfriend: the supremely goofy, word-obsessed Matthew Livingston.

Frankie Landau-Banks.

No longer the kind of girl to take “no” for an answer.

Especially when “no” means she’s excluded from her boyfriend’s all-male secret society.

Not when her ex boyfriend shows up in the strangest of places.

Not when she knows she’s smarter than any of them.

When she knows Matthew’s lying to her.

And when there are so many, many pranks to be done.

Frankie Landau-Banks, at age 16:

Possibly a criminal mastermind.

This is the story of how she got that way.

Looking for Alaskaby John Green

Miles "Pudge" Halter is abandoning his safe-okay, boring-life. Fascinated by the last words of famous people, Pudge leaves for boarding school to seek what a dying Rabelais called the "Great Perhaps."

Pudge becomes encircled by friends whose lives are everything but safe and boring. Their nucleus is razor-sharp, sexy, and self-destructive Alaska, who has perfected the arts of pranking and evading school rules. Pudge falls impossibly in love. When tragedy strikes the close-knit group, it is only in coming face-to-face with death that Pudge discovers the value of living and loving unconditionally.

The Name of the Starby Maureen Johnson

Jack the Ripper is back, and he's coming for Rory next....

Louisiana teenager Rory Deveaux arrives in London to start a new life at boarding school just as a series of brutal murders mimicking the horrific Jack the Ripper killing spree of more than a century ago has broken out across the city. The police are left with few leads and no witnesses. Except one. Rory spotted the man believed to be the prime suspect. But she is the only one who saw him—the only one who can see him. And now Rory has become his next target...unless she can tap her previously unknown abilities to turn the tables.

Evernightby Claudia Gray

Bianca wants to escape.

At the eerily Gothic Evernight Academy, the other students are sleek, smart, and almost predatory. Bianca knows she doesn't fit in.
When she meets handsome, brooding Lucas, he warns her to be careful—even when it comes to caring about him. But the connection between them can't be denied. Bianca will…

I’d Tell You I Love You, But Then I’d Have to Kill Youby Ally Carter

Cammie Morgan is a student at the Gallagher Academy for Exceptional Young Women, a fairly typical all-girls school-that is, if every school taught advanced martial arts in PE and the latest in chemical warfare in science, and students received extra credit for breaking CIA codes in computer class. The Gallagher Academy might claim to be a school for geniuses but it's really a school for spies. Even though Cammie is fluent in fourteen languages and capable of killing a man in seven different ways, she has no idea what to do when she meets an ordinary boy who thinks she's an ordinary girl. Sure, she can tap his phone, hack into his computer, or track him through town with the skill of a real "pavement artist"—but can she maneuver a relationship with someone who can never know the truth about her?

Cammie Morgan may be an elite spy-in-training, but in her sophomore year, she's on her most dangerous mission-falling in love.

A Study in Charlotteby Brittany Cavallaro

The last thing Jamie Watson wants is a rugby scholarship to Sherringford, a Connecticut prep school just an hour away from his estranged father. But that’s not the only complication: Sherringford is also home to Charlotte Holmes, the famous detective’s great-great-great-granddaughter, who has inherited not only Sherlock’s genius but also his volatile temperament. From everything Jamie has heard about Charlotte, it seems safer to admire her from afar.


From the moment they meet, there’s a tense energy between them, and they seem more destined to be rivals than anything else. But when a Sherringford student dies under suspicious circumstances, ripped straight from the most terrifying of the Sherlock Holmes stories, Jamie can no longer afford to keep his distance. Jamie and Charlotte are being framed for murder, and only Charlotte can clear their names. But danger is mounting and nowhere is safe—and the only people they can trust are each other.

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