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Woman sitting on a chair, with a blanket draped across her lap, looking at an open book in her hands.



Fall means back to school, cooler weather, and spooky vibes. Are you in the mood for secret societies, murder, and magic? Then add these four dark academia books to your to-be-read pile.

The Secret History

The Secret History, by Donna Tart, is the gold standard for dark academia. Set in 1980s England, the book follows a small group of friends at a liberal arts college and their dark, shared secret. The book reads as part thriller, part inverted mystery – beginning with a murder and backtracking across time to unravel the details of what happened. If you haven’t read it yet, this is the perfect season to investigate the hype.

If We Were Villains

If We Were Villains, by M.L. Rio, follows a group of theater friends who are obsessed with Shakespeare. When one of them winds up dead, the inner workings of their relationships are explored, secrets are exposed, and a few twists are revealed along the way. It is often compared to The Secret History, but overall, If We Were Villains is a shorter read (nearly 200 pages so) and more accessible to readers of all ages.

Catherine House

Catherine House, by Elisabeth Thomas, follows an undergraduate student who uncovers a dark secret and an exclusive group. It’s part dark academia and part gothic horror, so it might read a little slower, but every page is dripping with a spooky atmosphere. It’s the perfect book to prepare for October!

Ninth House

Ninth House, by Leigh Bardugo, is the first book in a new series, written by the same author as the Shadow and Bone trilogy and the Six of Crows duology. Ninth House follows main character Alex as she accepts a full ride to Yale University, despite her lack of academic achievements. The first installment follows along as she pieces together why she was chosen, while uncovering the dark underbelly of the Yale elite.

Looking for more fall vibes? Read on at the Olympus Woodbridge blog.