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Dark Academia

Updated: Feb 17, 2022

Who's ready for a little dark academia? This genre has been hot the past year and I found no shortage of recommendations to include in this list. When I reflect on why I enjoy dark academia, I think it is twofold. I love the thriller-esque aspect and the collegiate setting. It wasn't that long ago that I was in college and reading these types of books puts me right back in that headspace. Staying at the library until midnight, cramming for a test, going out drinking with my friends on weeknights, making questionable choices and not caring what the repercussions could be. While I didn't have a group of friends in college who were under investigation for murder or part of some weird academic cult, I can put myself in the setting of these books and feel transported back in time.

If you are looking for some murder or questionable professor cult-followings set on a college campus, look no further than these amazing recommendations (several of which are favorites of mine.) Click on the title hyperlinks to check out my past reviews on some of these titles.

The Maidens by Alex Michaelides

A charismatic professor has a cult-like following of students known as The Maidens. When a murder occurs on campus, therapist Mariana Andros is suspicious and believes this well loved professor is to blame.

In My Dreams I Hold A Knife by Ashley Winstead

Six friends. One college reunion. One unsolved murder.

Enough said!

We Keep the Dead Close by Becky Cooper

A true crime narrative about an unsolved 1969 murder at Harvard.

Plain Bad Heroines by Emily M. Danforth

In 1902, at The Brookhants School for Girls, two students become obsessed with each other and a young memoirist. They create their own private club and are ultimately found dead, with their favorite author's book draped over their bodies. Five years later the school closes for good. Over a century later, an author publishes a book about the schools feminist, queer history and is adapted to a horror film. The school doors reopen for filming, as does it's cursed history...

A story written within a story! I am hoping to get to this one soon because I have seen great reviews.

For Your Own Good by Samantha Downing

Teddy has won Teacher of the Year at Belmont Academy. When a student's parent ends up murdered, he can't be bothered and finds it a bit annoying that people are digging into his personal life. There are some skeletons that are best left in his closet.

No spoilers, but this one is a favorite of mine! (Downing is also a favorite author.)

Ace of Spades by Faridah Àbíké-Íyímídé

A cross between Gossip Girl and the movie Get Out, set at a private academy where two students of color find themselves being targeted by an anonymous texter called Aces. Aces seems determined to expose their darkest secrets and seems to hold all the power.

Another favorite of mine. This was a fun read.

Confessions by Kanae Minato

Middle school teacher, Yuko Moriguchi, is convinced her students killed her beloved four-year-old daughter and she stops at nothing to exact her revenge.

This book is WILD! Be prepared to cancel all plans for 24 hours while you devour this one.

The Secret History by Donna Tartt

A group of clever misfits at an elite New England college find themselves obsessed with their charismatic Greek teacher that ultimately leads them down a deadly path.

I am #currentlyreading this one and enjoying it. It reads like a classic, but I can't put it down.

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