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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Ashoka chapter.

If the idea of immersing yourself in the captivating world of dark academia, with its intellectual enigmas and shadowy atmospheres, makes your literary heart skip a beat, then you’re in for a treat. Picture this: a compelling narrative where the protagonist stumbles upon a clandestine cult in the midst of a college lecture during the autumn season. If these themes resonate with your reading preferences, then allow me to introduce you to a carefully curated list of recommendations. So, without further ado, dive into these compelling stories and let your imagination roam!


No book list would be complete without a nod to “The Secret History.” Enter Richard Papen, our curious protagonist, who steps into the world of Hamdpen College, only to find himself slowly drawn into the orbit of five tightly-knit friends, each with secrets hiding beneath their facade. Amidst their intellectual debates and Richard’s personal struggle with imposter syndrome, complex relationships take center stage. This tale ignites a spark to dive deeper into the realms of classics and philosophy, as we all secretly long to be  like Henry Winter. Donna Tartt guides us on an intriguing journey through this inverted mystery, making it the ideal read for those whose fatal flaw is a morbid longing for the picturesque.


“If We Were Villains” immerses readers in the captivating world of seven dedicated actors deeply entwined with Shakespearean drama. The narrative unravels the complexities of art and identity as they passionately inhabit their roles. Unlike “The Secret History,” this story conceals the culprit’s identity until the climactic end, delivering an emotionally charged resolution. Our protagonist, Olivers struggle to hone his acting skills adds depth to the tale. For anyone who has lost themselves in the pages of a book or the intensity of college studies, or those seeking to explore such captivating attachment, this novel is an ideal choice. It offers an evocative journey that is both haunting and immersive, promising a diverse range of experiences for all readers.


An enchanting tale, The atlas six readers embark on a journey alongside six exceptionally talented magicians carefully chosen by a secretive academy. This academic institution operates behind a veil of secrecy, and its primary aim is to cultivate the magical abilities of these select individuals. Within the academy’s walls, a unique form of competition unfurls. As these gifted individuals strive to outshine each other,  they engage in a cerebral duel that tests not only their intellect but also their enchanting abilities .Cut off from the outside world, they find themselves ensnared by the allure of their magical studies. The book is a fascinating blend of enigma, mystery, and the complexities of academic life. It’s a recommended read for those seeking a tale that stirs the spirit of healthy competition and intellectual pursuit.


“Truly Devious” is a captivating murder mystery trilogy set in an exclusive boarding school for gifted teenagers. Each character possesses unique qualities, and our protagonist, Stevie, is determined to unravel a 200-year-old mystery surrounding the school. She seeks to solve the murder of the school’s founder’s daughter, a complex endeavour that explores the boundaries of morality and the immersive nature of one’s work. The story’s core theme delves into the idea of getting so engrossed in one’s pursuits that the original purpose becomes somewhat obscured. “Truly Devious” is a thought-provoking journey that encourages readers to delve deeper into their own sense of purpose and uncover the mysteries that lie within. 


Step into the world of Samantha, a second-year student at an esteemed university, where the pursuit of creative writing takes an unexpected twist. Within her class, an exclusive group of girls refers to themselves as “the Bunnies.” Samantha’s journey begins when she becomes entranced by the enigmatic allure of the Bunnies. As she delves deeper into the surreal world of the group, her mind undergoes a transformation, challenging her sense of identity and reality. The boundary between the two blurs, leaving Samantha grappling with an overwhelming sense of ambiguity.While “Bunny” doesn’t overtly delve into academic themes, the intense intellectual and creative environment of the university serves as a backdrop for the story.

Khadija is a content writer at her campus. She currently a freshman at Ashoka University, majoring in Biology and minoring in Creative Writing. She enjoys writing short fiction stories and diverse fashion, beauty and decor ideas. In her free time you'll find her engrossed in fantasy novels, crocheting a new bag or exploring the latest fashion trends on Pinterest.