It suddenly hit me: it’s almost fall. The sun is setting earlier, a cooler dawn greets me, and is it just me, or am I the only one who suddenly has a ravenous need for pumpkin everything? If you’ve bade goodbye to summer and are slowly introducing long-sleeves and layers into your wardrobe again, then you know it’s time to read a book to get you psyched for autumn. Here are some great YA school reads to cozy up with this fall:
The Harry Potter Series by J.K. Rowling – Of course, this one’s a given, right? Who can resist a Harry Potter reread each fall? Not me. The quidditch matches, the Halloween celebrations, the first trip to Hogsmeade and the Shrieking Shack… This series is about boarding school as you wish it could be. It makes magic seem real and anything possible. More important, it is about friendship, courage, and overcoming evil. I would gladly get on a train for a random trip if I could sit and read the Harry Potter novels and imagine I was on the Hogwarts Express headed to school!
The Winger series by Andrew Smith – With Winger, the first novel in Andrew Smith’s Winger series, the author made private school come alive through the eyes of unabashedly boyish Ryan Dean West. This novel is delightfully meandering in the best sense. You get a healthy dose of school, friends, love, and sports, and a vivid portrait of what it means to be 14 years old and feel invincible. The novels are laugh-out-loud funny but also poignant. With first love, friendship, and pranks galore, the Winger series is not to be missed.
Looking for Alaska by John Green – Who doesn’t love this contemporary classic novel about friendship, pranks, literature, and taking chances? John Green’s novel electrified young adult literature when it was published in 2005 and went on to win the prestigious Printz Award. It has since developed a huge following among fans who love that Green treats teens as grown ups who are brave enough to face challenging questions of ambiguity, loss, and love. This novel does not romanticise boarding school but instead reflects the gritty reality. A great read to usher in the fall.
The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks by E. Lockhart – This book, I don’t even know where to begin! In snarky, witty, and cooly elegant prose, E. Lockhart writes a ballad to her heroine, the spunky and brave Frankie Landau-Banks, a new student at a boarding academy. This novel is great because it features so many pranks and always gives me a taste for rebellion. Even more compelling, it explores topics related to feminism, challenging the status quo, and tearing down patriarchy. The novel is empowering and hilarious and not to be missed. If you’ve ever wondered what it’s like to attend boarding school, this is the novel is for you!
Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell – Our final book is set in college. I can’t count all the reasons that make me love Rainbow Rowell’s novel, Fangirl. Cath and her twin sister Wren are headed to school for the first time. Their freshmen year makes these once-inseparable sisters drift apart, while Cath falls under the spell of Levi, her intimidating-yet-sweet roommate’s friend (or boyfriend? It’s difficult to tell). More than any other reason, I love this novel because it is about Cath’s journey as a writer and her complicated feelings towards her fanfiction as an original creation. I also love the campus vibe of University of Nebraska.