School’s In! 15 Books That Take Place at School

For kids, back-to-school time can signify an exciting, promising and sometimes distressing end to summer holidays. The anticipation of what a new year may bring can be deliciously terrifying, and the electricity that sparks around an inevitable new beginning is always there. For older readers, the back-to-school season can be more about nostalgia—whether endearing and sweet, heart-droppingly painful, or a bit of both.

This list of 15 books represents the very best of honest, authentic writing about the scholastic experience, and of students handling the good, the bad and the ugly at school. A great reminder that, as the school year begins, there is much more than just reading, writing and ’rithmatic going on in the halls of educational institutions.

 

Cover_The Prime of Miss Jean BrodieThe Prime of Miss Jean Brodie by Muriel Spark

Bucking convention and helping to shape generations of feminists since 1961.

 

 

 

 

Cover_Perks of Being A WallflowerThe Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky

Alienation, desperation, secret crushes, tribes, disaster—all the best things about high school, right?

 

 

 

 

Cover_The Sense of an EndingThe Sense of an Ending by Julian Barnes

Looking back doesn’t always bring peace, as one man discovers when he tries to unravel a mystery of his high school days and the boy who was their enigmatic leader.

 

 

 

Cover_The Secret HistoryThe Secret History by Donna Tartt

A little macabre, but totally on point when it comes to describing the isolation that can accompany a freshman’s college experience.

 

 

 

 


Vacations Inspired by Book Covers

Ah, summer vacation. Whether it’s for a relaxing beach trip, an adventurous hiking journey or a fun-filled exploration of a foreign city, there are so many different places to dream about going. How do you choose your vacation destination? Here are some beautiful book covers to get the wheels turning.

 

Cover_Beautiful RuinsBEAUTIFUL RUINS by Jess Walter

Italy

The clear blue water, the rocky coastline, the colorful old buildings—this landscape could not be more inviting. The cover of Jess Walter’s Beautiful Ruins is a gorgeous portrait of a luxurious summer vacation set in a beautiful Italian coastal town. The story is very reflective of the stunning setting—an almost love affair on the coast of Italy that begins in 1962 and is rekindled in Hollywood fifty years later.

 

 

 

Cover_The OrchardistTHE ORCHARDIST by Amanda Coplin

American West

The Orchardist cover art is a beautiful illustration of the American West—the majestic mountains and valleys and the green trees of the orchard together create a stunning picture of the American frontier. One could envision both tranquillity and adventure in a setting like this. In her debut novel, Amanda Coplin tells of a solitary orchardist who provides shelter to two runaway teenage girls in the untamed American West and the dramatic consequences that ensue.

 

 

 

Cover_Astonish MeASTONISH ME by Maggie Shipstead

Paris

Oh, Paris. Could there be a more romantic city? With the beautiful Seine River, the majestic Eiffel Tower and the abundance of decadent wine and food, Paris is a destination that is always appealing. And this cover for Maggie Shipstead’s second novel beautifully captures all that is so enticing about this beloved city. Astonish Me follows a young American ballerina in Paris as she falls into a doomed, passionate romance with a Soviet dance superstar.

 

 

 

Cover_MaineMAINE by J. Courtney Sullivan

New England

With the ocean breeze and sandy beaches, the coastal towns of New England are the perfect places to unwind and enjoy beautiful sunsets. Sullivan’s Maine, which follows four women who return to Maine every summer together, depicts the breeziness and allure of this quintessential vacation haven.

 

 

 

Cover_The Fever TreeTHE FEVER TREE by Jennifer McVeigh

Africa

The golden, sandy plains and the warm sun of the Southern Cape of Africa, though a long, long flight, would make for an incredible and adventurous vacation. In Jennifer McVeigh’s The Fever Tree, a young woman leaves her life of wealth and privilege behind in London and immigrates to South Africa, where in 1880 the country is torn by the diamond trade.

 

 

 

Which book covers have inspired your vacations? Let us know in the comments box below!


Literary Lunatics: Six Unforgettable Serial Killers in Fiction

Cover_The Silence of the LambsThe Silence of the Lambs by Thomas Harris

The stunning movie starring Anthony Hopkins and Jodie Foster had its roots as an equally gripping and brilliant novel by Thomas Harris. You could always pick up Red Dragon first (the original Hannibal Lecter tale) but if nostalgia’s tugging you towards this title instead, rest assured you can read out of order and still be immensely satisfied.

 

 

 

NORMAL 9780778317777_f79d1Normal by Graeme Cameron

This dark novel with razor-sharp wit follows a serial killer whose murderous routine is compromised by a woman who changes everything. You won’t want to miss a single twisted moment in this debut thriller by Graeme Cameron.

 

 

 

Cover_American PsychoAmerican Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis

You can’t talk about unforgettable fictional serial killers without mentioning Patrick Bateman, the immaculate, hilarious and ultimately completely unhinged Wall Street maniac.

 

 

 

Cover_PerfumePerfume: The Story of a Murderer by Patrick Süskind

You might think someone born with the gift of heightened senses might be destined to be a superhero of sorts—but not Jean-Baptiste Grenouille, who uses his absolute sense of smell to fuel an obsession with capturing the scents of unwilling victims.

 

 

 


Moody Mysteries for the End of Summer

 

Maybe it’s the temperature, pushing people outdoors; maybe it’s the constant song of the cicadas, obscuring the sound of rational thought; maybe the haze, blurring the borders of the real and imagined. Or maybe it’s desperation that occurs during the last days of summer: a yearning for days to remain stretched, while being driven somewhat mad by the constant, suffocating heat.

Don’t let the lazy, long days of summer lull you into a false sense of peace. There is often an unrest that can be felt vibrating just below the surface of the sweltering ground, something that these books tap into perfectly. Moody and mysterious, these books capture an almost nostalgic longing as the dog days of summer end, while hinting at something just a bit more ominous lurking in the shadows. Step outside—and into the pages of these books—and see if you don’t feel it yourself.

 

Cover_Midnight in the Garden of Good and EvilMidnight in the Garden of Good and Evil: A Savannah Story by John Berendt

The humid nights of Old Savannah come alive in this classic true-crime tale of intrigue and murder.

 

 

 

 

Cover_NemesisNemesis by Philip Roth

It’s the summer of 1944 and the children of New Jersey are not safe, but the predator is one that most cannot see coming, and none can catch.

 

 

 

THE GOOD GIRL FTT 9780778317760_TS_PRD_BBThe Good Girl by Mary Kubica

Chicago resident Mia makes the regretful decision to leave a bar late at night with a stranger named Colin—at least, a stranger to her.

 

 

 

 

Cover_Kicking the SkyKicking the Sky by Anthony De Sa

The back alleys of a Portuguese Toronto neighborhood are both the hideout and haven for a group of young boys determined to solve a brutal murder that has the city paralyzed in terror.

 

 

 

sharp-objectsSharp Objects by Gillian Flynn

A Chicago reporter is sent back to her small hometown to cover the murders of two children, and quickly finds herself immersed in the complicated history she thought she had left behind.