books about bright young things behaving badly
April 10, 2013 5:59 PM   Subscribe

The Secret History. The Talented Mr. Ripley. Can you suggest any more books about evil prep-school types? Mystery or psychological thriller elements a plus, but not necessary. Nonfiction is okay too.
posted by Ralston McTodd to Media & Arts (25 answers total) 57 users marked this as a favorite
Don't forget, Mr. Ripley is the outsider looking in, not the prepster--but the rest of the series is well worth reading.
Skippy Dies by Paul Murray
posted by Ideefixe at 6:04 PM on April 10, 2013 [3 favorites]

A Separate Peace
posted by seasparrow at 6:10 PM on April 10, 2013 [2 favorites]

The Fundamentals of Play by Caitlin Macy
posted by jalexei at 6:13 PM on April 10, 2013

Special Topics in Calamity Physics by Marisha Pessl.
posted by Georgina at 6:18 PM on April 10, 2013 [2 favorites]

Every iteration of the Leopold-Loeb story (e.g., Compulsion by Meyer Levin).
posted by thetortoise at 6:24 PM on April 10, 2013

The Lake of Dead Languages by Carol Goodman.
posted by mogget at 6:25 PM on April 10, 2013 [1 favorite]

The Basic Eight by Daniel Handler
posted by kettleoffish at 6:38 PM on April 10, 2013 [4 favorites]

Seconding A Separate Peace. I hated that book as a kid, but it seems pretty genre-defining.

If you've got any interest in fantasy, Lev Grossman's The Magicians is partially situated in this territory.
posted by brennen at 6:38 PM on April 10, 2013 [3 favorites]

The Billionaire Boys' Club (both a book and a movie).
posted by Melismata at 6:40 PM on April 10, 2013

Came in here to suggest The Magicians if you are up for a little magical realism.
posted by Rock Steady at 6:53 PM on April 10, 2013

The Wishing Game by Patrick Redmond (published in the U.S. as Something Dangerous).

I'm the King of the Castle by Susan Hill.
posted by thetortoise at 7:06 PM on April 10, 2013

Joanne Harris, Gentlemen and Players.

A thriller about a "saboteur" wreaking havoc in a prestigious British boy's school with the intent of destroying the school. It was a very gripping read.
posted by Unified Theory at 7:17 PM on April 10, 2013

The Likeness is a mystery that revolves around a small clique of eccentric students.
posted by grapesaresour at 7:25 PM on April 10, 2013 [4 favorites]

Brat Farrar by Josephine Tey. Miss Pym Disposes by Josephine Tey.
posted by Malla at 7:30 PM on April 10, 2013 [1 favorite]

Bret Easten Ellis: Less than Zero and American Psycho.
posted by fshgrl at 8:27 PM on April 10, 2013

Laura Kasischke's The Raising. Muriel Spark's The Finishing School.
posted by mixedmetaphors at 8:46 PM on April 10, 2013 [1 favorite]

The Liar by Stephen Fry.
posted by expialidocious at 9:31 PM on April 10, 2013 [3 favorites]

Seconding The Likeness. Parts of it reminded me very much of The Secret History.

Without Mercy by Lisa Jackson
posted by SisterHavana at 9:42 PM on April 10, 2013

If you're interested in YA, The Tragedy Paper is an odd little twist on the boarding school gone wrong genre.
posted by itsamermaid at 5:54 AM on April 11, 2013

The Hole by Guy Burt.
posted by ThaBombShelterSmith at 12:01 PM on April 11, 2013

If you liked The Secret History, you owe it to yourself to read Bret Easton Ellis's The Rules of Attraction.

You may have heard that there are lots of rumors that Ellis helped Tartt write The Secret History. She finds those rumors very irritating but consider that she dedicated the book to him, she hasn't written anything anywhere near that level of competence since, and his book, The Rules of Attraction, was published five years before The Secret History, and contains direct references to characters and events in that book. For example:

He probably thought it was too uncool to come to these things anyway. But who doesn't go the The Dressed To Get Screwed party, besides that weird Classics group (and they're probably roaming the countryside sacrificing farmers and performing pagan rituals)?

posted by janey47 at 4:45 PM on April 11, 2013

Yeah The Rules Of Attraction is supposed to take place at the same school as The Secret History, at least that's what I was told.

It also has a very good movie adaptation available.

( don't agree on competence, The Little Friend is amazing but a southern murder mystery thing.)
posted by The Whelk at 5:38 PM on April 11, 2013

a few more YA recs:
Charm & Strange comes out in June (by a good friend of mine, it's brilliant)
The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks
Paper Covers Rock
The Year of the Gadfly
posted by changeling at 5:14 PM on April 14, 2013

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