Monday, August 12, 2013

Top Ten Books in Boarding Schools

The Broke and the Bookish have a weekly feature called Top Ten Tuesday and they invite anyone to participate. This week we are posting ten titles that take place in a specific setting. I chose boarding schools at the prompting of our exchange student.

Residential Schools - Our History

I start off with a specific kind of boarding school. Indian boarding schools were in place to assimilate Indians to white culture. They are often called residential schools by Native people to distinguish them from a posh prep school type of place as that was far from the reality.

Shin-chi's Canoe is a sequel to an equally wonderful book called Shi-shi-etko. Shin-chi's Canoe tells of a sister and brother who have been sent to an Indian boarding school. This is a piece of fiction, but is a moving story because it is based on the very real history of Canada and the U.S. Families were broken apart and students were not allowed to use their language. Many lost vital parts of their culture during that time. 

When I Was Eight is slightly different in that it is a memoir and also the young Inuit girl, Olemaun, is looking forward to going to the Indian boarding school. She is so eager to read that she begs her parents to allow her to go even though she has heard how difficult it will be. Olemaun faces many challenges, but she is resilient and passionate about learning.

Finally, My Name is Not Easy, presents Luke as he navigates Sacred Heart School - a place where they can't pronounce his name, but also where he is not supposed to speak it either. His language is forbidden. There are students from several ethnic backgrounds at the school and they don't always interact in positive ways. There isn't a lot about this experience that is easy. This is about survival.

Boarding Schools in Fantasy

No boarding school list would be complete without the Harry Potter books. I don't even think I need explain.

Fortunately, Princess Academy is the best kind of princess book. Not a ton of pink and lace, but a lot of  strength and a girl who doesn't wait around to be saved.

Realistic or Somewhat Realistic Boarding Schools

Jellicoe Road is completely confusing for about 100 pages, but if you can get past that, you are in for a treat. Taylor had my heart. She has lived through tragedy and the story goes back and forth between her present struggles and events from the past. This a beautiful book.

In The Tequila Worm, Sofia gets a scholarship to attend an elite boarding school. There she has to learn a whole new culture and interact with people who have no understanding of her barrio. This leads to a better appreciation of her family and community. I loved the stories Sofia told.

I laughed so hard reading Openly Straight. I also cried a little. I loved Rafe. He figures that since nobody knows him at this new school, he can be Rafe not "the gay guy." He wants to be rid of the label for just a bit. Obviously that leads to difficulties, but it is so fun to watch him work through it all. He was making dubious choices all over the place, but he was learning along the way.

Though Anna's complaining annoyed me for quite awhile, she did improve over time. I ended up liking this cute and often funny story of love in France.

I'd Tell You I'd Love You is another very funny and rather lighthearted read. I love that she knows fourteen languages and seven ways to kill a man. 

Have a great week of reading!


  1. I want to read quite a few books on your list! I particularly like the look of My Name Is Not Easy :-)

    1. Thanks for stopping by. I'm glad you found an interesting book. That's a great one.

  2. I'd love to read the historical books about Native Americans at boarding school. I've always loved books about Native Americans, but amn't sure I ever read one set at a boarding school.

    1. I hope you are able to find some copies. They are great.

  3. I've seen Openly Straight on a few lists this week. I'll have to check it out. New GFC follower.

    My TTT.

    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  4. Everyone says Jellicoe Road is amazing. I've got it on my Kindle, but haven't gotten to it yet. That and My Name Is Not Easy. Great choices :)

    New GFC/G+ follower!

    Here's my TTT

    Stop by my giveaway if you have a moment!

    Jess @ Such A Novel Idea

    1. I was surprised at how much I love Jellicoe Road. I hope you enjoy it. Thanks for following.

  5. I'm always surprised when I see people who know about Princess Academy! It's an awesome book that deserves to be more popular :)
    Top Ten Tuesday
    Giveaways: Paperback of The GAP Club & 5 signed YA books