Books With a Dark Academia Feel

This is sort of a “if you like this, then maybe you’ll like this” kind of thing. But not. These books all seem kind of unrelated, but, to me, they give off the same vibes. So … I really have no idea how to encapsulate this feeling I get when reading these books into words, but I guess that’s just how feelings usually are, haha.

Anyways, if you’ve read one of the books on this list then, hopefully, you know the feeling that I’m talking about. And maybe you’ll like the other books listed!

Imma try real fast to sum up the feeling, just so y’all (kinda) know what I’m talking about. 😉

All of these have those dark academia vibes (except, maybe, the last one) that are typically associated with that sub-genre. However, in these there is an extra layer of hopelessness smothered on. All of these books are impersonal; our narrator not becoming one with us, but rather showing the worst of the characters and humanity. There is an unspoken heaviness and despair. There is some moral, not told to us as a precautionary tale, but rather encouraging the characters on on their paths of immorality and disparity.


So to sum it all up: I hope you find some new books to try! And (hopefully) you’ll find some new favorites! 😘

(i ain’t gonna lie – i’m like 98% sure that i’ve already done this exact same post lmao)


I’m hoping you all knew that this book would appear on the list. 😛

While Vicious (VE Schwab) isn’t an academia (well – except for, like, two chapters) and there is nothing inherently nostalgic about it, I felt that the book fit with this list. And it is most certainly dark.

Vicious follows around Victor Vale and Eli Ever – two superpowered individuals – and something that I just absolutely, completely loved about this books (aside from Schwab’s writing) is there is no hero in this book. Not even, like, a good antihero. It’s all so … I’m not even sure how to describe the book.

But, as this list is surrounded by it, Vicious contained that something else feeling that I associate with all of these books.

Vicious is one of my most absolute favorite book – so please give it a shot! (though be warned of the content)

Neverworld Wake

In an entirely, but not quite, different direction, we have Neverworld Wake (Marisha Pessl). This book actually does take place in a boarding school, which gives off a lot of those “academia” vibes.

As for the nostalgic? HA. HA. This book is a “groundhog day” theme, so yeah. There’s nostalgia 🙃

The thing that I absolutely love about Neverworld is that it takes the familiar trope and, while not completely spinning it on its head, gives us a newer perspective. This small troop of friends all get stuck in this limbo of time (another things I love! We don’t find out about this) and eventually try and manipulate time to figure out who murdered one of their deceased friends.

Despite not liking mysteries (or the groundhog day trope), I gave this book 5/5 stars! It’s utterly captivating and I love it ❤

If We Were Villains

This absolutely gem from ML Rio is ONE OF MY FRIKKIN FAVORITES. It legit defines the dark academia genre.

Shakespearean college students band together (into a cult of sorts?) iN A STONE TOWER ON A FOR-SURE HAUNTED CAMPUS. HOW COULD THIS NOT BE ON THIS LIST?! There is murder and Shakespeare and booze and bad choices and how the hell could anyone not love this?

I know it kind of took over a small corner of the bookish section of internet … but I’m sad it’s not more know? I’ve been happy to see bookworms lusting for dark academias … and to which I will joyful steer-shout them over to this book.

IWWV has a dark tone throughout the whole book and kept me guessing at, well, everything (but in a good way). And oh. my. god. The ending.

Unfortunately, Ms Rio has only written IWWV and I’m anxiously awaiting her next novel! Until then, I will be obsessively rereading my beloved book and creepily staring at my beautiful hardcover.


Lastly, we have Eleanor (Jason Gurley). This book is the only non-adult/new adult book on this list. Technically, I believe it is a YA, but our main narrator (?) is only fifteen or so. It is a much simpler story, but no less powerful or disturbing.

Must like Vicious, Eleanor doesn’t have an academia. It checks off none of the boxes required of a dark academia. However, the themes and underlying tones of Eleanor reminds me of all of these others.

Eleanor is constantly and seemingly randomly teleported to a memory or another time. Her body and clothes change to match her age in that time, and she is seeing horrible events. While Eleanor isn’t a super dynamic narrator, I came to love her. How she saw and interacted with the world around her.

This book really effs with your head, if you give it just a seconds thought. I really recommend it.

If any of you have read any of these books and know what the hell I’m talking about by the feels it gives me, could you help a girl out? Lol. Again, I hope you find some new favorites!

Bye, loves 🖤

2 thoughts on “Books With a Dark Academia Feel

Add yours

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Blog at

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: