Today, we are thrilled to welcome author Mary Jo Putney back to Heroes and Heartbreakers. Previously, Mary Jo wrote about authors Lois McMasterBujold and Barbara Samuel; today, she dons her YA hat and talks about British boarding school books. Mary Jo’s newest release in her YA series, Dark Destiny, is out now. Welcome, Mary Jo!
Popular fiction always has fantasy elements woven in: Fantasies of power, adventure, justice, romance. Young adult books have those, along with fantasies of kids having power—of being detectives and saviors. Of having magical abilities. Of really being princesses or gypsies and totally unrelated to the dorky family one lives in.
And among those fantasies are boarding schools. When I told my sister that I was excited to be writing a blog on boarding school books, she said,
“You never went to a boarding school.”
“No, but I thought it would be totally cool to go to one. Didn’t you?”
I rest my case.
The boarding school book is mostly a British genre, since the nation has a long tradition of boarding schools—Winchester College has been educating boys in the same buildings for over six hundred years. There are books for boys and books for girls because the schools themselves were divided by gender. There are also adult boarding school books such as Goodbye, Mr. Chips, and R. F. Delderfield’s To Serve Them All My Days series.