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The Best YA Magic Academy Books

The Best YA Magic Academy Books

Magic, sorcery, the supernatural, and science – many great YA books deal with these things and more. But the heroes we get in our YA books have to learn about all these things, grow up in the hallowed halls of schools as they come to understand what makes their world spin, whether it is a magic system or a utopian vision. In this list, we compile some o the best, most engaging YA books that take place in – or are largely influenced by – academies, boarding schools, and other educational institutions. If you loved Harry Potter, and the whole of Hogwarts, and are itching to read more YA books set in academies, then this list is for you! From fantasy to science fiction to paranormal YA, all these books will have something to scratch your itch – and show you that school is exciting too! Class is in session!

Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins

Three years ago, Sophie Mercer discovered that she was a witch. It’s gotten her into a few scrapes. Her non-gifted mother has been as supportive as possible, consulting Sophie’s estranged father—an elusive European warlock—only when necessary. But when Sophie attracts too much human attention for a prom-night spell gone horribly wrong, it’s her dad who decides her punishment: exile to Hex Hall, an isolated reform school for wayward Prodigium, a.k.a. witches, faeries, and shapeshifters.

By the end of her first day among fellow freak-teens, Sophie has quite a scorecard: three powerful enemies who look like supermodels, a futile crush on a gorgeous warlock, a creepy tagalong ghost, and a new roommate who happens to be the most hated person and only vampire on campus. Worse, Sophie soon learns that a mysterious predator has been attacking students, and her only friend is the number-one suspect.

As a series of blood-curdling mysteries starts to converge, Sophie prepares for the biggest threat of all: an ancient secret society determined to destroy all Prodigium, especially her.

What readers are saying:

Hex Hall is a fun, laugh-out-loud read, with plenty of action, some mystery, and a teeny bit of drama thrown in. I immediately fell in love with the main character, Sophie. She’s so sassy and real – I swear, she has some of the wittiest lines in the entire book. Who wouldn’t love a girl who screams ‘Bad dog!’ at an attacking werewolf? And that’s just one of my favorites – seriously, the entire first chapter detailing how Sophie wrecks prom is a GEM. I can’t even quote it, because I wouldn’t want to ruin the humor by pulling lines out of context, but let me tell you that it is absolutely hilarious… I would heartily recommend this book to fans of paranormal fantasy, the young adult genre, or to anyone who likes a little snark in their heroines. Or a lot of snark, as this case my be. –Crystin Goodwin, Amazon user


The Holders by Julianna Scott

17-year-old Becca has spent her whole life protecting her brother – from their father leaving and from the people who say the voices in his head are unnatural. When two strangers appear with apparent answers to Ryland’s “problem” and details about a school in Ireland where Ryland will not only fit in, but prosper, Becca is up in arms.

She reluctantly agrees to join Ryland on his journey and what they find at St. Brigid’s is a world beyond their imagination. Little by little they piece find out information about their family’s heritage and the legend of the Holder race that decrees Ryland is the one they’ve been waiting for–but, they are all, especially Becca, in for a surprise that will change what they thought they knew about themselves and their kind.

What the readers are saying:

I fell in love with the characters as well as the storyline. It was easy to see how Becca had sacrificed so much for Ryland and her devotion to continue doing so at the risk of losing any kind of life and friendship of her own. Top it off with the surprise three quarters of the way through the book about the holders and their “savior”, and this book is grade-A-awesome!  –Scott Hegyes, Amazon user
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling


Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead

Vladimir’s Academy isn’t just any boarding school—it’s a hidden place where vampires are educated in the ways of magic and half-human teens train to protect them. Rose Hathaway is a Dhampir, a bodyguard for her best friend Lissa, a Moroi Vampire Princess. They’ve been on the run, but now they’re being dragged back to St. Vladimir’s—the very place where they’re most in danger. . . .

Vladimir’s Academy isn’t just any boarding school—it’s a hidden place where vampires are educated in the ways of magic and half-human teens train to protect them. Rose Hathaway is a Dhampir, a bodyguard for her best friend Lissa, a Moroi Vampire Princess. They’ve been on the run, but now they’re being dragged back to St. Vladimir’s—the very place where they’re most in danger. . . .

Rose and Lissa become enmeshed in forbidden romance, the Academy’s ruthless social scene, and unspeakable nighttime rituals. But they must be careful lest the Strigoi—the world’s fiercest and most dangerous vampires—make Lissa one of them forever.

What the readers are saying:

I won’t go into the explanation of the world in this review because you can figure that out for yourself. However, if you find yourself leery of reading yet another vampire series, don’t because this series is really great. What I love so much about this book is how wonderfully Richelle Mead sets the stage for the rest of the series, while creating an engaging and exciting book that is freaking addictive. You have the subplot with Lissa and Christian, the danger surrounding Lissa, the budding something between Rose and Dimitri, and the dramatics of high school.  –Megan – Reading Books Like A Boss, Amazon user


Vampire Hearts by Katie M. John

Alexander Augustine’s secret has been revealed. He nearly killed a human girl. Now there’s no choice but to run, and there’s only one place to go… Bathory Academy, home to the next generation of some of the world’s most notorious vampire families, is a college like no other. As Alexander begins to slowly accept his supernatural life, he is drawn towards the beautiful, but potentially deadly, Scarlett Bathory, soon discovering their history is as tightly knotted as their present. With revolution, bloodlust, and desire for vampire world domination in the air, Alexander starts to fear he’s nothing but a pawn in a very dangerous game. Enter the world of Bathory Academy and find yourself enchanted by the spell of the vampire.

What the readers are saying:

I love this author’s books. She develops the characters very well so you are involved and are interested in what happens. And she has a great ability to spin a plot in so many intricate layers that the story could go on book after book and you will keep eating them up. This was another good book. I’m hooked. Ready for book 2.  –Joanna, Amazon user


Dragon School by Sarah K.L. Wilson

Sixteen-year-old Amel arrived at Dragon School just like everyone else – with a dream to ride dragons and join the Dominion Dragon Riders.
But Amel has a crippled leg and Dragon School training is grueling. Before she can even become an initiate, she must complete her First Flight on a dragon.  Can Amel survive First Flight and become a Dragon School initiate or will her dreams dash on the rocks below?

What the readers are saying:

It’s a short read and much of it devoted to the minutiae of rudimentary training such the care of one’s dragon and mucking out its stall. But it’s actually interesting stuff, partly because of how even something as elementary as those activities prove to be quite a challenge for our handicapped heroine. The plot’s climax dovetails into the novella’s title as Amal and her fellow recruits must complete their first dragon flight. Amel survives this, probably.  –H. Bala, Amazon user


Schooled in Magic by Christopher G. Nuttall

Emily is a teenage girl pulled from our world into a world of magic and mystery by a necromancer who intends to sacrifice her to the dark gods. Rescued in the nick of time by an enigmatic sorcerer, she discovers that she possesses magical powers and must go to Whitehall School to learn how to master them. There, she learns the locals believe that she is a “Child of Destiny,” someone whose choices might save or damn their world … a title that earns her both friends and enemies. A stranger in a very strange land, she may never fit into her new world …and the necromancer is still hunting her. If Emily can’t stop him, he might bring about the end of days.

What the readers are saying:


Really enjoyed this one. I’ve not read many by Christopher Nuttall but I liked the earlier books. This one may have hooked me for a LOT more of his writing. Think Harry Potter, but starts as a 16 year old, but starting as a 1st year student, and starts getting dark in this book right quick. I took quite a bit of time to get to like the main character but like her more now because of that. D.S. Northcote, Amazon user


The Scythe Wielder’s Secret by Christopher Mannino

Thirteen-year-old Suzie Sarnio always believed the Grim Reaper was a fairy tale image of a skeleton with a scythe. Now, forced to enter the College of Deaths, she finds herself training to bring souls from the Living World to the Hereafter. The task is demanding enough, but as the only female in the all-male College, she quickly becomes a target. Attacked by both classmates and strangers, Suzie is alone in a world where even her teachers want her to fail. Scythes hungry for souls, Deaths who enslave a race of mysterious magicians, and echoes of an ancient war with Dragons. Caught in the middle of a plot to overthrow the World of Deaths, Suzie must uncover the reason she’s been brought there: the first female Death in five thousand years.

What the readers are saying:

I love that Mannino didn’t make Susan seem too old, nor too young. She’s awkward and teenager, which is what you’d expect surrounded by boys all day, but she’s also fearless and takes crap from NO ONE, which is how I like my heroines.Shrykespeare, Amazon user


The School for Good and Evil by Soman Chainani

With her glass slippers and devotion to good deeds, Sophie knows she’ll earn top marks at the School for Good and join the ranks of past students like Cinderella, Rapunzel, and Snow White. Meanwhile, Agatha, with her shapeless black frocks and wicked black cat, seems a natural fit for the villains in the School for Evil.

The two girls soon find their fortunes reversed—Sophie’s dumped in the School for Evil to take Uglification, Death Curses, and Henchmen Training, while Agatha finds herself in the School for Good, thrust among handsome princes and fair maidens for classes in Princess Etiquette and Animal Communication.

But what if the mistake is actually the first clue to discovering who Sophie and Agatha really are?

What readers are saying:

All in all, I would definitely recommend this YA fairy tale to anyone who enjoys these kinds of things. It’s a fairy tale with a definite twist, some of it dark, but all of it great fun. I will reread this book in the future and I know I will enjoy it again as much as I did this time.ADropfInkReviews, Amazon user


Trickery by Jaymin Eve and Jane Washington

In Minatsol, being a dweller means that you are literally no better than dirt. In fact, dirt might actually be more useful than Willa. Her life will be one of servitude to the sols, the magic-blessed beings who could one day be chosen to become gods.

At least her outer village is far removed from the cities of the sols, and she won’t ever be forced to present herself to them… Until one small mistake changes everything, and Willa is awarded a position to serve at Blesswood, the top sol academy in the world—a position that she definitely did not earn.

Under the sudden, watchful eye of the gods, she will be tasked to serve the Abcurse brothers, five sols built of arrogance, perfection and power. They are almost gods themselves, and under their service she is either going to end up sentenced to death, or else they are going to ruin her so badly that she will wish for it.

What readers are saying:

Sending you into a page turning, toilet reading, microwave button pushing, calling out of work, reading marathon! Enjoy. Already have bought the next book, and am eyeballing the next, knowing it will be hard to wait. Yeah 5 books! Kimberely Fordham, Amazon user


The Fire Prophecy by Megan Linski & Alicia Rades

Sophia

I’m Sophia Henley, your typical college freshman. I never expected a lion to be stalking me, nor for fire to come shooting out of my hands to protect my sister. Next thing I know, a drop-dead gorgeous guy shows up on my doorstep to sweep me away to a magical school, where I’ll learn to control my element and bond with a powerful creature called a Familiar. 

I don’t believe I’m the savior of an ancient tribe, or the missing piece of a prophecy that’s more myth than reality. Worst of all, I’m forced to enter the Elemental Cup, where I’ll either earn my place in this society… or die trying.

Liam

The night I met Sophia, I didn’t think we’d form an undeniable connection. But I’m from the Water tribe, and she’s fire. I’m forced to push her away even as I’m falling for her. I lost everything, yet Sophia makes me whole again. Our world is fixed on keeping us apart, but we’re in this tournament together. We have to keep each other alive at any cost– or I’ll give my life for hers.

It’s pretty clear. If I continue to play with fire, I’m going to get burned.

What readers are saying:

The story-line was incredible. I literally couldn’t put this book down. It was so full of magic, deception, mystery, suspense and action all rolled into one amazing story. I couldn’t help but keep turning pages and each chapter had the main characters POV too that made just HAVE to read more. Both Linski and Rades are very talented authors but this story is proof that they are an unstoppable force to be recon with. I highly recommend this read. – Jenny Bynum, Amazon user


Flunked: Fairy Tale Reform School by Jen Calonita

Gilly wouldn’t call herself wicked, exactly…but when you have five little brothers and sisters and live in a run-down boot, you have to get creative to make ends meet. Gilly’s a pretty good thief (if she does say so herself).

Until she gets caught.

Gilly’s sentenced to three months at Fairy Tale Reform School where all of the teachers are former (super-scary) villains like the Big Bad Wolf, the Evil Queen, and Cinderella’s Wicked Stepmother. Harsh. But when she meets fellow students Jax and Kayla, she learns there’s more to this school than its heroic mission. There’s a battle brewing and Gilly has to wonder just how good these bad guys really are?

What the readers are saying:

Flunked takes all the joy and innocent bliss of nursery rhymes and fairy tales, adds new and fun characters (tweens will LOVE Gilly, Kayla, Ollie, and Jax) and enjoy a delightful read. There are some parallels to other Tween series that are wildly popular (this teacher would be equal to this professor) but the story is beautifully paced, wonderfully detailed, and just flat out a fun read. I cannot wait to read the next book in the series! Stormy Stark, Amazon user


First Year: The Black Mage Book One by Rachel E. Carter

Before the age of seventeen, the young men and women of Jerar are given a choice –pursue a trade or enroll in a trial year in one of the realm’s three war schools to study as a soldier, knight, or mage…

For fifteen-year-old Ryiah, the choice has always been easy. Become a mage and train in Combat, the most prestigious faction of magic.

Yet when she arrives, Ry finds herself competing against friend and foe for one of the exalted apprenticeships. Everyone is rooting for her to fail–first and foremost among them is Prince Darren, the school prodigy who has done nothing but make life miserable since she arrived.

What the readers are saying:

A blend of Harry Potter and Twilight- a little bit of magic, a lot of determination, and a love interest all rolled into one. I really enjoyed reading this book and I am looking forward to the next one in the series. If you like books with strong female characters who rely on their strength, determination, and lots of hard work to get their goal, then you will enjoy this story. It is well written and exciting. It has some new twists on magic and how it can be used. Interesting to think that the same types of social problems invade all eras of time. – gail snedigar, Amazon user

The Academie by Amy Joy

When Allie Thompson graduated, she thought she’d put high school behind her. But when a series of violent outbreaks by teens sends panic surging through the nation, high school is right where she finds herself again. Now transformed into what the government calls The Academie, what was once the public school system is now the permanent home of everyone 22 and under.

Torn from her boyfriend, her friends from college, her life, Allie doesn’t take too well the Academie’s militaristic nature or its 16 foot perimeter fences. Knowing she won’t see her boyfriend for years and remembering all she’s left behind, Allie plummets into depression. But when strange things being to happen and her brother disappears, Allie realizes that she must unravel the mystery that is The Academie—before it’s too late!

What the readers are saying:

This book brings to light the very possible prospects of a future learning technique that in itself presents a frightening scenario. Its main character Allie Thompson along with sub characters are set in a believable yet suspicious environment enticing the reader to keep turning the pages. One is drawn slowly and meticulously into the intriguing perils of young students unknowingly trapped in a vale of seeming reality. I found it easy to become lured into the plot and anxious to discover its final outcome. If writing is the ability to describe time, place and character enthralled in circumstance then Amy Joy has accomplished it.LG, Amazon user


Breed of Innocence by Lanie Jordan

One goal: Hunt the demon that killed my family. Make that two goals: Survive.

Six hours ago, men in dark suits and sunglasses came looking for me.
Four hours ago, they offered me training to hunt the things that killed my family: demons.
Two hours ago, I joined their secret organization–the CGE.
Now… All I have to do is survive demon-hunting school.

The classes won’t kill me, but the finals might.

What the readers are saying:

This book is definitely intended for younger audiences, teen or new adult, but despite being in my mid-twenties, I still enjoyed it. I really liked that there was not a love triangle that seems SO prevalent in teen/new adult fiction. Love triangles are seriously played out and overdone and I was glad Lanie Jordan didn’t go that route with this book. I would absolutely recommend this book to anyone who likes fantasy, demons, and snarky, do-whatever-it-takes heroines.Kindle customer


Princess Academy by Shannon Hale

Miri lives on a mountain where, for generations, her ancestors have quarried stone and lived a simple life. Then word comes that the king’s priests have divined her small village the home of the future princess. In a year’s time, the prince himself will come and choose his bride from among the girls of the village. The king’s ministers set up an academy on the mountain, and every teenage girl must attend and learn how to become a princess.

Miri soon finds herself confronted with a harsh academy mistress, bitter competition among the girls, and her own conflicting desires to be chosen and win the heart of her childhood best friend. But when bandits seek out the academy to kidnap the future princess, Miri must rally the girls together and use a power unique to the mountain dwellers to save herself and her classmates.

What the readers are saying:

There is a certain innocence about the book that just made me happy. It is hard to explain, but its just a feel good book. But not a sappy love story type feel good. Its got a good plot and a LOT of character development. There is a good mix of love, action, fantasy, drama, and resolution to make it a great read.

This is a great book for all ages. I would definitely recommend it to elementary and middle schoolers as well as teenagers and adults. This would make a great book to read with your child too! If you want to start a mommy and me book club with your child I would suggest starting with this book. Its that good!Amazon customer


Night School by C.J. Daugherty

When Allie Sheridan gets arrested—again—her parents have had enough. They send Allie to the Cimmeria Academy far away from her London friends. The school is beautiful, and filled with gorgeous, ultra-wealthy teens who travel by private jet, were raised by nannies, and only shop on 5th Avenue or Bond Street.

As the school begins to seem like a very dangerous place, she must decide who she can trust if she’s going to find out what’s really going on.

What the readers are saying:

This was a superb thriller and a captivating first book in a series that promises to be addicting. The plot wasn’t completely unique, with the setting of a private boarding school with the requisite snobby rich kids, the outcasts, and the harsh rumors – but the author made it into something so much more with a depth that had me hooked. – Stephanie Ward, Amazon user


Firebolt by Adrienne Woods

Dragons. Right. Teenage girls don’t believe in fairy tales, and sixteen-year old Elena Watkins was no different. Until the night a fairy tale killed her father. Now Elena’s in a new world, and a new school. The cutest guy around may be an evil dragon, a Prince wants Elena’s heart, and a long dead sorcerer may be waking up to kill her. Oh. And the only way Elena’s going to graduate is on the back of a dragon of her own. Teenage girls don’t believe in fairy tales. Now it’s time for Elena to believe – in herself.

What the readers are saying:

I loved this book. (and the rest of the series) It hooked me from the first page, and I couldn’t stop reading. As I was reading the book, I found myself making predictions as to what was going to happen, who would end up with who, and who Elena really is (ya know the norm). However, this book, along with the rest of the series, took me on so many twists and turns that I was doubting all of my original predictions. Madison Surry, Amazon user


Sabriel by Garth Nix

Since childhood, Sabriel has lived outside the walls of the Old Kingdom, away from the power of Free Magic, and away from the Dead who refuse to stay dead. But now her father, the Abhorson, is missing, and Sabriel must cross into that world to find him. With Mogget, whose feline form hides a powerful, perhaps malevolent spirit, and Touchstone, a young Charter Mage, Sabriel travels deep into the Old Kingdom. There she confronts an evil that threatens much more than her life and comes face-to-face with her own hidden destiny. . .

What the readers are saying:

I like that the magic system and universe is unique. The necromancy in this book is well fleshed out and is more focused on putting the dead to rest or keeping them dead rather than raising the dead. The necromancy is only one facet of the magic system, with at least two other fairly interesting magic systems at work (Charter and Free), as well as some nifty magical constructs. The cast of characters is fairly small but the characters that do appear are interesting and well developed. – K Reviews, Amazon user


Touch of Frost by Jennifer Estep

My name is Gwen Frost, and I go to Mythos Academy — a school of myths, magic and warrior whiz kids, where even the lowliest geek knows how to chop off somebody’s head with a sword and Logan Quinn, the hottest Spartan guy in school, also happens to be the deadliest.

But lately, things have been weird, even for Mythos. First, mean girl Jasmine Ashton was murdered in the Library of Antiquities. Then, someone stole the Bowl of Tears, a magical artifact that can be used to bring about the second Chaos War. You know, death, destruction and lots of other bad, bad things. Freaky stuff like this goes on all the time at Mythos, but I’m determined to find out who killed Jasmine and why – especially since I should have been the one who died . . .

What the readers are saying:

Jennifer did an amazing job with this first book to the series. It’s well written. It sets everything up for future books yet it didn’t lack any action within the first book. It has amazing characters that I cannot get enough of. Touch of Frost is a great first book and I think each book after will be even better! If you are into Mythology or Supernatural, then definitely pick this book up! You won’t regret it!Stephanie Kay, Amazon user


A Wizard of Earthsea by Ursula K. Le Guin

Ged was the greatest sorcerer in Earthsea, but in his youth he was the reckless Sparrowhawk. In his hunger for power and knowledge, he tampered with long-held secrets and loosed a terrible shadow upon the world. This is the tumultuous tale of his testing, how he mastered the mighty words of power, tamed an ancient dragon, and crossed death’s threshold to restore the balance.

What the readers are saying:

Le Guin’s world building is nearly as deep as Tolkien’s and leaves the reader wanting to know so much more about Earthsea and its histories, cultures and dragons. I look forward to continuing my journey into this compelling, mysterious world. J.A. Flood, Amazon user


Blue Bloods by Melissa de la Cruz

Schuyler Van Alen is confused about what is happening to her. Her veins are starting to turn blue, and she’s starting to crave raw meat. Soon, her world is thrust into an intricate maze of secret societies and bitter intrigue. Schuyler has never been a part of the trendy crowd at her prestigious New York private school. Now, all of a sudden, Jack Force, the most popular guy in school, is showing an interest in her. And when one of the popular girls is found dead, Schuyler and Jack are determined to get to the bottom of it.

Schuyler wants to find out the secrets of the mysterious Blue Bloods. But is she putting herself in danger? Melissa de la Cruz’s vampire mythology, set against the glitzy backdrop of New York City, is a juicy and intoxicating read. 

What the readers are saying:

This is an exciting series that is a mix of Gossip Girl and Twilight. You have the posh Manhattan backdrop full of name-dropping and labels galore. Every school day begins with a detailed description of the Minolos, the Gucci, and the Dolce. The Vampires are the tame variety we got with Twilight, although they do have deep dark secrets. The interesting part of this setting is how De la Cruz used the Blue Bloods to explain much of the fashion industry in NYC, from the top designers to the models on billboards, and almost all the important socialites. How very interesting to use blood sucking to explain these two groups of people!OpheliasOwn, Amazon user


Firespell by Chloe Neill

Lily’s parents have sent her to a fancy boarding school in Chicago filled with the ultra-rich. If that wasn’t bad enough, she’s hearing and seeing bizarre things on St. Sophie’s creepy campus. Her roommate, Scout, keeps her sane, but keeps disappearing at night. When one day Lily finds Scout running from real-life monsters, she learns the hard way that Scout is involved in a splinter group of rebel teens. 

They protect Chicago from demons, vamps, and dark magic users. It’s too bad Lily doesn’t have powers of her own to help. At least, none that she’s discovered yet…

What the readers are saying:

Firespell is a very fast read with a few surprise twists throw in – especially as pertains to the “tall, dark, and handsome” Reaper, Sebastian Born, whom readers will definitely see in books to come. This book and series should definitely be added to readers “to-read” lists. Fiktshun, Amazon user


Glass Houses by Rachel Caine

College freshman Claire Danvers has had enough of her nightmarish dorm situation, where the popular girls never let her forget just where she ranks in the school’s social scene: somewhere less than zero.

When Claire heads off-campus, the imposing old house where she finds a room may not be much better. Her new roommates don’t show many signs of life. But they’ll have Claire’s back when the town’s deepest secrets come crawling out, hungry for fresh blood.

What the readers are saying:

Great characters, unique premise, non-stop action and/or humor, this read had all that and more. There’s romance, and scary life and death moments, and I thought it was perfect for any Urban Fantasy fan or PNR readers for that matter, although it’s lighter on the romance. Just a word of caution, it does have the dreaded cliffhanger and I am usually not a fan. However, I forgave it, because the next book was there ready for me to buy. If you love paranormal reads and haven’t tried this, I highly recommend it. As in, You really need to read these!Lorna, Amazon user

What other academy- or school-based books have you read? Let us know in the comments!

  • The Best YA Magic Academy Books

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