I’m new to this subgenre of fantasy called Academy books, but I’ve loved books about magical schools all my life. From the mysterious wizard school that Ged attended on Roke in the first Wizard of Earthsea novel, to Mildred Hubble’s constant mishaps at Miss Cackle’s Academy for Witches in The Worst Witch, I grew up longing to attend a magical school. I even created the curriculum for my own magical school and tried to boss my friends around in classes on potion-making and broom-flying.
So when I heard that there was a whole subgenre called Academy books, I jumped in with both feet and started reading everything I could get my hands on! Here are my favorites so far, in no particular order. You can click on the pictures to find them on Amazon.
Basics of Spellcraft (Ember Academy for Young Witches #1) by L. C. Mawson
Amelia and her family get attacked by demons who curse her mother into a coma, she finds out she’s a witch, and she goes to a magical school to learn how to cure her mother. She struggles with her ADHD and first lesbian crush. There’s even more good representation with trans, autistic, and bisexual characters.
Touch of the Mage (Twyst Academy #1) by D. D. Chance
Maddigan is a janitor trying to keep out of trouble in the magical Twyst Academy, but she’s been learning more about magic than she realized while she cleans the classrooms at night. Her magic explodes when she meets four male students who realize that she’s a mage and she starts falling in love with all of them.
The Case of the Puppy Academy by Arizona Tape
This one is a little different because Samantha Rain is a human attending a training school for her magical pet, a hellhound. While she’s at the puppy academy, she stumbles across a mystery that only a hellhound could solve. It’s a short, cute read with a lesbian crush but the main focus is on the dog training.
Academy of Magic Anthology
I love anthologies because they’re a great way to sample a bunch of new authors at once. I’ve already found a few series that I want to continue because of the stories in this collection. If you’re not sure whether Academy books are right for you, a great way to try it is to read a wide selection like this one. Every author has their own style. This is a limited edition collection, but if it’s no longer available, you can probably find a few more Academy anthologies to try out just by searching on Amazon.
Dark is Her Nature (School of Necessary Magic #1) by Judith Berens
Calling back to old school fantasy in this one with a Drow, sometimes called Dark Elves or Night Elves. The Drow Alison doesn’t know the full extent of her powers and neither does her new friend Izzy, whose memories have been locked away to protect her. They have to learn to control their magic while navigating magical politics and prejudice along with their friends.
The Fire Prophecy (Academy of Magical Creatures #1) by Megan Linski and Alicia Rades
Another hidden world of magic and mythical creatures with a magical college. Each character is born into one of the four elemental tribes but Sophia doesn’t like her own Fire Tribe. She falls for Liam of the Water tribe, who has lost his own familiar. When Sophia finds her own unusual familiar, she has to enter a deadly competition to earn her place. More Hunger Games than Harry Potter.
Valkyrie 101 (Afterlife Academy #1) by Arizona Tape
Another lesbian romance from Arizona Tape. Ylva is a Valkyrie attending Afterlife Academy, where different magical races learn how to guide the souls of the dead to their respective afterlives. But something is going horribly wrong at her school that the teachers don’t want the students to know about. Ylva just wants to pass her classes but she stumbles into the middle of the mystery.
Mermaid’s Song (Dark Sea Academy #1) by Stacy Claflin
You know the moment I read the words “mermaid academy,” I had to read this one. Marra grew up on land because her family was banished from the merfolk’s court, but when her uncle dies, her father becomes the new king. She’s forced to leave her friends to attend mermaid school and learn a whole new way of life. And her parents are telling her different things. Will she choose to help one of her parents or run away to her old life?
Cruel Elites (Nocturna Academy #1) by Margo Ryerkerk and Holly Hook
This one comes with trigger warnings for abuse and sexual assault. In this world, vampires are in charge and the Fae are their slaves. Onyx has managed to hide her half-Fae blood until now but her human mother finally sold her out. Nocturna Academy is her chance to earn a higher position so she can fight back from the inside, but she has to hide her true powers and the wrong move could get herself or one of her friends killed.
The Reluctant Witch (Santa Cruz Witch Academy #1) by Kristen S. Walker
I wrote this one, but I wouldn’t be an author if I didn’t believe in my own books! Brie agreed to witch school to make her mom happy but she chose Santa Cruz instead of the school where her mom teaches so she could avoid her family’s reputation. But Santa Cruz has its own problems like deadly mermaids.
Have you read any Academy books you loved? Tell me your recommendations! I’m always looking for my next read.