As I write this, my exams are due to start in a few days’ time, and by the time this goes live I’ll have sat my first. Because of this, I thought it would be fun to make a list of books that feature exams taking place, or are referenced. Onto the post!
Radio Silence– this has to be top of this list. I read it last May, on the day before/day of my last exam, and it’s amazing. It captures the pressure to do well, particularly when you’re seen as clever, so we’ll, and I related to it hugely. It’s also just a REALLY bloody good book. I was gripped, I was invested in the characters, I loved them so much turning the last page was bittersweet. Highly recommended. I have a bit of study leave with no exams after I sit all of mine, and I’m going on holiday, so I plan to read LOADS. I’ve decided to save Alice’s newest I Was Born For This as a treat (though looking at it every day is torture 😂😂), along with some others I think will be extra amazing.
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix– the OWLs, the wizarding equivalent to GCSEs or National 5s, take place in this book. Even though they’re fictional, they still show how stressful exams are and lots of other little details I thought were very true, like people trying to show off how much they revise which then panics others and all the teachers bringing it up all the time. This is my favourite Harry Potter book for lots and lots of reasons, and I can’t wait till I have time to reread them all again, hopefully before the end of the year.
Goodbye, Perfect– this is Sara Barnard’s latest book, and it takes place just before, during, and after the GCSE period. It touches on the pressure exams put on people, and they’re mentioned quite a lot throughout. The book is about Eden, the best friend of Bonnie who has run away with a teacher she is in love with, and explores how this affects her, which I thought was a super unique perspective. Eden is quite frankly amazing, as are her sister Valerie and boyfriend Connor, and it’s well worth a read if you’ve not yet picked it up! All of Sara Barnard’s books are, in fact.
Out of the Blue– this takes place in the summer, and is about a magical realism adventure in our world, but a version in which ‘Beings’ have started falling to earth, so it’s not the most obvious choice for this list. However, it does touch a little on the anxiousness before results day, AND it’s set in Scotland and mentions the actual exams I’m currently sitting (Highers), so also earns a place for that reason.
Magic in Manhattan– it’s been a while since I read this book (The 4th and final in the brilliant All About Rachel series), and I don’t think Rachel and Mike’s Samsorta ceremony to make them fully fledged witches is technically an exam, but they do have to take lotsof classes for it and prepare, so I thought it would be good to give it a shout out ! The books are about two sisters, Rachel and Miri, as they discover they’re witches and navigate how that affects their families, friendships and in Rachel’s case, romances. I so wish I knew where my copies were so I could reread!
What books can you think of that feature exams? Are you a fan of any I’ve mentioned? Let me know in the comments or on Twitter @GoldenBooksGirl!