Dark Academia book recommendations.

The Secret History by Donna Tartt.

A group of bright, eccentric misfits at a prestigious New England college discover a way of thinking and living that is a world away from their classmates thanks to the influence of their charismatic classics professor. When they cross the line into normal morality, however, they progress from infatuation to corruption and betrayal, and finally—inexorably—to evil.

Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo.

Galaxy “Alex” Stern is the most unusual freshman in Yale’s class. Alex was raised by a hippie mother in the Los Angeles suburbs and dropped out of school early, plunging into a world of sketchy drug dealer boyfriends, dead-end jobs, and much, much worse. She is the solitary survivor of a brutal, unsolved multiple homicide by the age of twenty. Some could claim she’s squandered her life. But, from her hospital bed, Alex is given a second chance: a full scholarship to one of the world’s most prestigious colleges. What’s the catch, and why is she involved? Alex arrives in New Haven charged by her mysterious donors with monitoring the activities of Yale’s hidden clubs, still searching for answers. The future rich and powerful, from high-ranking politicians to Wall Street and Hollywood’s top players, are known to frequent these eight windowless “tombs.” Their esoteric operations, however, are revealed to be far more evil and fantastic than any paranoid imagination could imagine.

If We Were Villains by M. L. Rio.

Oliver Marks was just released from prison after a ten-year sentence for a murder he may or may not have committed. He is greeted by the man who put him in prison on the day he is released. Detective Colborne is planning to retire, but first he wants to get the truth about what happened a decade ago.

Oliver and his buddies play the same roles onstage and off as heroes, villains, tyrants, temptresses, ingenues, and extras as part of a group of seven teenage actors studying Shakespeare at an elite arts institution. However, when the cast changes and the supporting characters take over, the plays become dangerously alive, and one of them is discovered dead. The rest of the cast faces their most difficult acting task yet: persuading the cops, as well as themselves, that they are blameless.

The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde.

Oscar Wilde’s storey of a fashionable young man who sells his soul for eternal youth and beauty is the author’s most popular work, written in his distinctly sparkling style. When the storey of Dorian Gray’s moral decay first came out in 1890, it caused a stir, but when Wilde was chastised for the novel’s corrupting influence, he remarked that “there is a horrible moral in Dorian Gray.” Only a few years later, the book and the aesthetic/moral conflict it posed were used as evidence in the trials resulting from Wilde’s gay liaisons, which led to his imprisonment. “Basil Hallward is what I think I am: Lord Henry is what the world considers me: Dorian is what I would like to be—in other ages, maybe,” Wilde wrote in a letter about Dorian Gray’s relationship to autobiography.

Catherine House by Elisabeth Thomas.

Catherine House is a unique institution of higher learning. With its experimental curriculum, highly selective admissions criteria, and substantial endowment, this furnace of reformer liberal arts study has produced some of the world’s brightest minds: prize-winning authors, painters, inventors, Supreme Court judges, and presidents. Tuition, lodging, and board are all provided for those chosen. Acceptance, however, comes at a cost. Students must spend three years in the House, including the summers, completely cut off from the outside world. They must leave behind their family, friends, television, music, and even their attire. In exchange, the school promises its pupils a future of supreme power and distinction, as well as the ability to transform into anyone or anything they wish. Ines, a member of this year’s new class, expects to trade the blurry nights of parties, narcotics, harsh friends, and dangerous men for rigorous intellectual discipline—only to find a culture of sanctioned revelry instead. Viktória, the enigmatic director of the school, urges the kids to explore, to broaden their minds, to discover themselves and their position within Catherine’s intimidating black iron gates.Catherine is the closest thing Ines has ever had to a home, and her serious, shy roommate, Baby, quickly becomes an unusual friend. Despite its aged velvet and weathered leather, the House’s peculiar rituals make this haven feel more and more like a gilded jail. And when Baby’s obsession with acceptance ends in tragedy, Ines begins to suspect that the school—in all its shabby splendour, hallowed history, advanced theories, and controlled decadence—may be concealing a dangerous agenda linked to a secretive, tightly knit group of students chosen to study its most promising and mysterious curriculum.