12 Books Like Donna Tartt’s The Secret History

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If you loved the journey you took with The Secret History, then you will want to check out this list of other books that will provide you with a similar level of mystery, intrigue, and magical fictional worlds. From mysteries set in Oxford to sweeping novels of tragedy and redemption to captivating dark academias, here are nine books for fans of Donna Tartt’s classic work of fiction.

If We Were Villains by M.L. Rio

What happens when the lines between fiction and reality blur? Nothing good, least of all for Oliver Marks. Now, ten years later, Oliver is ready to tell his story and the events that led to his imprisonment years ago.  

M.L. Rio’s captivating debut novel If We Were Villains invites readers into the morally ambiguous world of Dellecher Classical Conservatory. With friendship, betrayal, obsession, deadly rivalry, and dramatic twists, this gripping tale of college life will keep fans of The Secret History on the edge of their seats. 

Black Chalk by Christopher Yates

In Black Chalk, six Oxford University students play a game of high stakes and damaging consequences.  When the game turns deadly, tragedy strikes, leaving the remaining players forever changed. More than two decades later, they come together to play the final round. Let the games begin.

With mind-bending twists, a psychological edge, and unforgiving consequences, this thrilling novel is the perfect companion for readers seeking books like The Secret History.

Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo

Galaxy “Alex” Stern, a former drug user and high school dropout, has been given a full-ride to the prestigious university, but her unusual acceptance comes with a heavy price—the ability to communicate with ghosts. Thrown into the secretive underground of Yale, Alex must quickly learn how to navigate the deadly rituals if she hopes to survive her freshman year. 

Unlock the hidden door to Yale’s most exclusive society and experience the sinister secrets that lurk within Leigh Bardugo’s must-read Ninth House. Fans looking for books like The Secret History will fall in love with its dark, disturbing twists and turns. Get ready for an unputdownable adventure waiting just behind the ivy-laced walls.

The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt

When tragedy strikes thirteen-year-old Theo Decker, leaving him without a family, he finds solace in a captivating painting. Donna Tartt’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, The Goldfinch, follows his journey from his new, unfamiliar world, to the fascinating world of art and the darker sides he discovers along the way. If you enjoyed The Secret History, you’ll love this fabulously written story of tragedy and redemption.

Bunny by Mona Awad

Samantha Heather Mackey feels like an outsider in her prestigious New England MFA program; surrounded by affluent peers and condescending professors, the full scholarship student is out of her element. That is until she receives an exclusive invite to the secretive Smut Salon. Hidden within lies the dangerous world of the Bunnies, a sinister clique with sinister rituals and secrets. 

Combining Stephen King’s Carrie with Heathers, Bunny is a darkly funny satire of toxic female friendships. For those seeking sinister yet captivating books like The Secret History, Bunny is the perfect read.

Special Topics in Calamity Physics by Marisha Pesshl

Blue van Meer is an academic overachiever, but when it comes to making friends, she’s at a loss. But when she gets accepted into the prestigious St. Gallway School, Blue finally finds a clique – the Bluebloods. It’s an idyllic life, until Blue finds herself at the center of a bizarre murder mystery. 

Marisha Pesshl’s Special Topics in Calamity Physics is a beautifully written debut and incredibly humorous piece of literature. With its dry, cutting humor, and unforgettable characters, it is perfect for fans of The Secret History.

Babel by R.F. Kuang

In K.F. Huang’s thrilling novel, orphan Robin Swift is swept away to London by the enigmatic Professor Lovell, and is soon revealed to be on a path to training and attending Oxford University, also known as Babel. But while Robin is eager to join the distinguished halls of Babel, he soon discovers his allegiance to his homeland comes with a heavy price. 

Huang’s writing is a breathtaking blend of emotion, history and complex characters, exquisitely exploring themes of colonialism and imperialism while emphasizing the power of language.

These Violent Delights by Micah Nemerever

When Paul, overwhelmed by the tragedy of his father’s death, heads off to university, he finds solace in Julian, an effortlessly charming classmate. Despite their shared love of knowledge, Paul can’t seem to keep up with Julian’s high standards. As their friendship slides into obsession, they find themselves on a journey to a place they could have never imagined.

Stoner by John Williams

Immerse yourself in the emotionally-charged story of William Stoner, a financially unstable English professor who overcomes poverty to lead a life of rich literature and a respectable marriage. But beneath the surface of his seemingly successful life lies a world of regrets and consequences that forces Stoner to take an honest look deep within himself and discover his true desires. 

John Williams’ classic Stoner is an emotionally powerful work of literature that will stand the test of time. If you’ve been searching for a book to read after The Secret History, add Stoner to your bookshelf for an unforgettable experience.

The Likeness by Tana French

The thrilling second installment of Tana French’s beloved Dublin Murder Squad series returns with Cassie Maddox at its heart. Summoned back to Dublin to investigate a chilling murder, the victim’s eerie resemblance to Cassie and an ID card identifying her as Alexandra Madison, Cassie’s past alias, suggests she may be the key to solving the case. For fans of The Secret History and thrilling murder mysteries, The Likeness is a must-read.

A Separate Peace by John Knowles

John Knowles’ highly-acclaimed novel A Separate Peace paints a vivid picture of the struggles of adolescence against the backdrop of World War II. In this timeless coming-of-age story set at a New England boarding school, Gene, a young introverted intellect, and Phineas, an impulsive athlete, form an unlikely friendship as they grapple with the harsh realities of life. Fans of The Secret History will be enthralled by the academic setting and emotionally-charged themes of A Separate Peace.

The Bellwether Revivals by Benjamin Wood

When Oscar Lowe, an intelligent young man, crosses paths with mysterious medical student Iris Bellwether and her beguiling brother Eden, his life is drastically altered. Pulled into a glittering and exclusive world of privilege and academia, Oscar soon discovers that it hides a much darker side.

The Bellwether Revivals by Benjamin Wood is a captivating tale of secrets and suspense, perfect for readers of Donna Tartt’s The Secret History.