I love reading and writing about books, but I never mention a certain fantasy wizarding series in any of my recommendations. And the truth is I tried to read them when I was young, and I hated them because they are in third person. I love third person POVs now, but I don’t have any interest in reading about the boy who lived.
Maybe you’re salty about recent events revolving around this beloved series and its author. Maybe you are at war with your nostalgic feelings and your belief in human rights. And maybe you’re curious if there are any other novels that will inspire that whimsical feeling. Look no further because here are some book recs with magical boarding schools, witches, and that whimsical feel!
Disclaimer: I have not read every book on this list (I want to); the ones I have read will have their themes stated.
Magical Boarding Schools
Lobizona by Romina Garber (book 1)
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
Themes: found family, immigration, romance
CW: ICE, Menstruation, Misogyny, Xenophobia, sexism
A story inspired by Argentine Folklore, Lobizona follows Manuela Azul as her investigation into her family history leads her to a magical boarding school in the Florida Everglades. A school where brujas and Lobizons go to learn, but miraculous Manu is the first of her kind. She is a Lobizona, a being so rare her mother hid her existence from everyone, including her father.
Legendborn by Tracy Deonn (book 1)
Genre: Young Adult, fantasy, King Arthur retelling
CW: Racism, Grief, death of a parent, gore, sexism, rape
Bree Matthews needs a new start, and enrolling at UNC, a residential program for bright teens is perfect. But on Bree’s first night, she witnesses a magical attack and discovers the Legendborns, a group of students who hunt these creatures. And a Merlin attempts and fails to wipe her memory, inadvertently unlocking Bree’s powers. Bree then remembers a Merlin was at the hospital the night her mother died. This sets Bree on a mission to discover the truth by infiltrating the Legendborns, and she finds an ally in Nick, who loathes the secret society.
Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins (book 1)
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Paranormal
Themes: coming of age, friendship, romance
CW: character death, blood, violence, bullying
Sophie Mercer casts one bad spell on Prom night, so her parents send her to Hex Hall, a school for wayward supernatural children. But after her first day, Sophie’s made enemies out of three gorgeous gals, has a ghost tagging along, is crushing on a warlock, and her roommate is the most hated vampire on campus.
The Witchery by S. Isabelle
Genre: YA, Paranormal, LGBTQIA+
CW: Animal death, Death, Child death, grief, gore
When Logan arrives to a new school in Haelsford, Florida, she feels the vibes is off. But Logan finds friendship with the Red Three, the school’s most infamous witches: Iris, a death witch who desires to break the curse; Jailah, the most powerful witch in the academy who thirsts for power; and Thalia, a green witch on the run from her religious family. Tensions between humans and witches have always been uneasy but breaking the town’s curse will be much greater than any human or witch is ready for.
Non magical schools but magical vibes
Air Awakens by Elise Kova
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Romance
CW: War, Death, Blood, abuse
Vhalla Yarl is a librarian’s apprentice and has always been wary of the Tower of Sorcerers, a magical society. But then she saves Crown Prince Aldrik and finds herself tied to his world. Vhalla can choose to embrace her magic or eradicate it completely. But Vhalla’s power holds the key to uniting the continent.
Sorcery of Thorns by Margert Rogerson
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Romance
CW: Death, Violence, Blood
Elisabeth knows all sorcerers are evil, having grown up in a library that houses magical grimoires-she hopes to one day become their warden and protect the kingdom. But when a grimoire disappears, Elisabeth is blamed, and she’ll have to ally with Nathaniel Thorn-a sorcerer- and her enemy. But as their journey brings them closer, Elisabeth questions everything.
Witchlings by Claribel A. Ortega
Genre: Middle Grade, Fantasy, witches
Themes: Friendship, Bravery, love
CW: Bullying, parental abuse
Seven Salazar has awaited her whole life to enter a Coven with her best friend. But on the night of the Black Moon ceremony, Seven and two other witchlings are not placed in any coven. As spares, they are less powerful and have a future serving the other covens. But Seven decides to invoke the impossible task, and if her coven completes it, they’ll gain their full powers, but if they fail, they’ll become toads.
Cemetery Boys by Aiden Thomas
Genre: Young Adult, paranormal, latinx, LGBTQIA+
Themes: Love, courage, self-love
CW: Transphobia, Blood, Death, Deadnaming
Yadriel’s family isn’t very accepting of his gender, but that won’t stop him from teaming up with his prima Maritza and performing his own quince ceremony, which will allow him to assist Lady Death and guide souls to the underworld. Immediately after, Yadriel’s must use his powers to summon his cousin’s ghost and free his soul. But instead Yadriel summons Julian, the school baddie, who has some unfinished business. Yadriel agrees to help Julian but he soons begins to fall for him.
Labyrinth Lost by Zoraida Córdova (book 1)
Genre: Young Adult, fantasy, latinx, LGBTQIA+
Themes: Self-love, courage, bravery
CW: Animal Death, Violence, Kidnapping, Death of parent
Alex’s a bruja who hates magic and hates having it. On her Deathday, she decides to cast a spell to rid herself of her magic but accidentally sends her whole family into the underworld instead. Now Alex must partner with a dark brujo, Nova, to brave the underworld and fight the gods for her family’s safe return.
Mooncakes by Suzanne Walker
Genre: Graphic novel, young adult, LGBTQIA+, paranormal, witches
Themes: Hope, love, family
CW: Kidnapping, violence, death of parent, grief
Nova Huang works in her grandmothers’ bookstore, where she helps loan out spell books and investigates paranormal phenomena. But after investigating the sightings of a white wolf, Nova finds herself reunited with her childhood crush, Tam Lang. Tam is on the run from forces that wish to claim their wolf magic, and it’s up to Nova to help. But soon, old feelings are rekindled, and new powers come to fruition.
I hope these books have piqued your interest and you consider adding them to your tbr!
until next time book lovers I’ll be living in libros,
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