21 Alluring Books About Secret Societies You Can’t Put Down

Books about secret societies

There is so much allure to reading books about secret societies. The mystery, secrets, and exclusivity of these secret societies make each of these books fast-paced reads you will not want to put down.

You’ll find books about secret societies that are both sinister in nature and formed for a good cause. But all of these secret society books are fantastic. They will suck you in and you’ll be sad when they end.

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Table of Contents

Books About Secret Societies

cartographers

The Cartographers by Peng Sheperd

There is so much to this pick on our books about secret societies that I do not even know where to begin. Nell Young is a cartographer who has not talked to her father in seven years since he humiliated her, fired her, and ruined her reputation over a seemingly worthless map.

Now, he is found dead in his office at the New York Public Library with the worthless map he fired hidden in his desk. Now Nell is curious about the real meaning behind the map. When there is a break-in at the library the next day, Nell is in more danger than she thinks. I do not want to ruin anything but this mystery, dark academia, magical realism book has it all and I loved it.

Mr. Penumbra

Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore: A Novel by Robin Sloane

While this secret society book was not what I was expecting, it was so fun and quirky that I loved it.  Clay gets a job in a bookstore that has a strange clientele coming at very strange hours. 

What is even weirder are the books that they check out rather than buy.  I loved the mysterious parts of the book and the character development. This is one of my favorite books about bookstores!

please join us

Please Join Us by Catherine McKenzie

Do you love books about secret societies as I do? Then join me in diving into the world of Panthera Leo and their mission to help women conquer the world.

Nicole needs the women in her “Pride” to help her find a new apartment and get back on the partner track at her law firm. But are these women out to help her or is there something more sinister happening with Panthera Leo?

This one was so quick but also so enjoyable. It’s the perfect read for fall for anyone looking for a book about cults.

the Da Vinci code

The Da Vinci Code (Robert Langdon Series #2) by Dan Brown

This is one of the first books about secret societies that I ever read. Dan Brown found a way to incorporate symbolism and brilliant riddles into this modern-day mystery. 

While visiting Paris, Robert Langdon receives a phone call that the curator of the Louvre is dead. The body is covered in strange symbols that lead them on a search for the killer and for answers. This is one of the best murder mystery books I have ever read.

Why We Love It: The plot does not slow for a minute from the first page to the last.  It is the first in the Robert Langdon series and my favorite as well. I love the mystery, the suspense, and the non-stop action in this amazing novel!
Find this Book in Novels About Art / Books About Puzzles

How to Stop Time and other magical realism books

How to Stop Time by Matt Haig

Tom has a rare condition that makes him age very slowly.  Although he looks like he is in his 40’s, he is actually centuries old.  What do you do with unlimited time?

I love that the story doesn’t glamorize long life but, portrays it as simultaneously poignant and beautiful. Tom is moving through life mourning the loss of his true love who died hundreds of years ago. The story follows Tom back and forth between the present as he searches to find his purpose.  However, the book isn’t “heavy”-  I couldn’t put it down! It’s a historical fiction with a fantastical twist and is one of the books about secret societies that are also on our list of 30+ Magical Realism Books.

Historical Fiction Books About Secret Societies

Juliet 1

Juliet: A Novel by Anna Fortier

I ADORE this book set in Italy and have read it numerous times. What if Shakespeare’s Juliet was real and was actually a curse? Alternating between the “real” Juliet’s story and her modern-day descendant’s story, the book proves that love transcends time.

I can’t put my finger on why this story makes my top 10 favorite books, but it’s a comfort read that I go to whenever I need a pick-me-up. I re-read it again and again! It has a little bit of everything – romance, a mystery, a contemporary and historical element. I

t’s such a unique and amazing classic retelling and was a no-brainer pick for a list of the best romance novels of all time and was obviously going to be included in our Ultimate List of Romance Books. The epic love story also makes it perfect for a list of books like Outlander.

the guernsey literary and potato peel pie society

Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society by Mary Ann Shaffner and Annie Barrows

This story about the island of Guernsey’s occupation during WWII features a book club that started to deceive the German soldiers. The members of the book club quickly become friends. Can you think of a better book for book clubs than one about a book club?

When a young novelist finds out about their society, she begins a correspondence and eventually visits them to learn more. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society must remain secret for their safety rather than by choice.

The story is told entirely in letters and was recently turned into a Netflix movie! We both love this heartwarming novel. If you have not read this cozy book, we highly recommend it to anyone who loved The Jane Austen Society by Natalie Jenner.

Find this book in Secret Society Books / Books About WWII / Friendship Books / Book Club Books / Books About Books

Historical Fiction

Ultimate List of Historical Fiction

Love Historical Fiction? The Ultimate List of Historical Fiction is the perfect list for you. It is carefully divided by time.

Fantasy Secret Society Books

Ninth House and 21 Adult Books Similar to Harry Potter

Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo

Alex Stearn is the sole survivor of a horrible homicide. While recovering in the hospital, she is offered a chance to attend Yale on a full scholarship.

She finds the Secret Societies of Yale, each practicing a unique type of magic. There are so many things about this urban fantasy book that I love. It is filled with magic, unlike anything you have ever read before. It has fantasy, secret societies, magic, and mystery. I could not put it down.

This book about secret societies is definitely at the top of my list and it is perfect for fans of dark academia. If you are a huge fan of Leigh Bardugo, this is her first adult book and we could not help compiling a list of books just like it. It is also perfect if you are looking for books like The Da Vinci Code.

Book of night

The Book of Night by Holly Black

I have read Holly Black for years and love her so I was so excited to read this adult fantasy. This fantasy is complex and dark which I should have guessed from the name.

Black is able to make our world into something else and make it seem entirely plausible. In this world, shadows can be manipulated and changed into something else. They can be removed and controlled.

Charlie is a Con artist who finds herself pulled into something that is over her head. Desperate to save herself and her sister, Charlie will do almost anything. While nobody calls themselves witches in this book, the manipulation of matter is certainly witch-like. I would definitely consider this a witch book like no other.

The Atlas

The Atlas Six by Olivie Blake

There are so many twists and turns to this fantasy dark academia novel, I am not sure where to begin. I do know that I will be reading the next book!

The Alexandrian Society members are the guardians of knowledge from the greatest civilizations that have ever existed. Six of the most brilliant magical academicians are chosen every decade to take their place in this secret society. Five will go on the secure a life filled with all the wealth and power they could dream of.

When the candidates of this decade are chosen, they each have powerful abilities that could lead to greatness or destruction. When The Society may not be everything it appears, will they have to knowledge and the ability to recognize it before it is too late? This is one of the books about secret societies that has an almost cult-like following and is an urban fantasy book you will not want to miss.

discovery of witches

A Discovery of Witches (All Souls Trilogy #1) by Deborah Harkness

Diana Bishop is a witch who accidentally recovers an ancient book that has been missing for hundreds of years. In doing so, she triggers her long-forgotten magic and opens the door for vampires, witches, and demons to search out Diana and the book.

This urban fantasy book about secret societies, witches, vampires, and more is a blend of heart-pounding action, historical fiction, and romance with the perfect mix of fantasy as well.

Why We Love This Book: If you love the witch aspect of Harry Potter, Vampires, fantasy books, or time travel books then you will love The All Souls trilogy. This adult fantasy novel explores the history of witches, demons, and vampires. This series reads like a historical fiction and we are obsessed.
Find this book in Books Like A Discovery of Witches / Best Fantasy Books for Adults / Books About Witches / Adult Books Similar to Harry Potter / Books About Libraries

The Very Secret Society of Irregular Witches

The Very Secret Society of Irregular Witches by Sangu Mandanna

This book is definitely a feel-good book of the season. Mika Moon knows that she must hide her magic and stay away from other witches so their powers do not draw the attention of other people. She also knows that witches are destined to be orphans, a very lonely existence.

When she is asked to come and teach magic to three young witches, she finds the life that she had always dreamed of, even if it is temporary. But, does it have to be? Can she find the life she always wanted?

I listened to this charming witch book in one day and loved it. This adult fantasy book is a delightful pick from our list of secret society books for fall.

Adult Fantasy Novels

Ultimate List of Best Adult Fantasy Novels to Read

If fantasy books are your favorite books, then these are the perfect book lists for you. We carefully divided them into sub-genres including secret societies.

Category Headers

Dark Academia Books About Secret Societies

The Secret History (Read with Jenna Book List) and other December 2022 Celebrity book Club spoilers

The Secret History by Donna Tartt

December 2022 Read with Jenna Book Pick

Richard is one of a select group of six students who have been hand-picked to work under the guidance of a classics teacher named Julian Morrow. Richard is narrating the story and he begins by telling about the death of one of the students named Bunny.

As the story progresses, it is clear that this secret society of students rides the line of morality. The strained friendships and sexual tensions continue to push the edge until Bunny is killed.

This is one of the books about secret societies that was deeply disturbing and difficult to read. It certainly earns its place on our list of dark academia books and books about cults! And as with most books set in college, this one is a perfect book for fall.

the maidens

The Maidens by Alex Michaelides

What an amazing thriller. Alex Michaelides did it again! This secret society book was insane with twists and turns. It kept me on the edge of my seat and my heart beating a little faster! 

Mariana is a therapist who is still grieving the loss of her husband when she gets a call from her niece, Zoe. Zoe’s best friend Tara is missing and Zoe is afraid something has happened to her. 

One by one, When women start dying at Cambridge and Mariana gets deeply involved as she tries to solve the mystery. This Addicting Dark Academia Book is perfect to read before this creepy thriller book becomes a tv show.

The Cloisters and more November 2022 celebrity book club spoilers

The Cloisters by Katy Hays

November 2022 Read With Jenna Book Club Pick

Ann Stilwell is desperate to escape her small town and her painful past. She arrives in New York City where she is supposed to spend her summer working as a curatorial associate at the Met. When she arrives, she is informed her supervisor is gone for the summer and she does not have a job. Luckily, she is able to get an assignment with The Cloisters, a gothic museum, that is known for its medieval art collection.

Ann suddenly finds herself entwined with a small group of students with secrets of their won. When she finds a 15th-century deck of tarot cards, she is reluctant to share her findings and this starts a dangerous game that Ann is not prepared for. This is one of the dark academia books about secret societies you don’t want to miss.

Dark Academia

26 Addicting Dark Academia Books to Read Now

There are so many dark academia books about secret societies, so check out this list for more suggestions.

YA Fantasy Books About Secret Societies

legendborn

Legendborn by Tracy Deonn

Why did I not read this book before now? In a way, I’m glad I just read this because I only have to wait a few more months for the sequel in this young adult fantasy series. If you love YA fantasy books, this King Arthur re-imagining is a must-read.

Bree Matthews’s mother died in a tragic accident and she cannot seem to recover. When she has a chance to attend a special program for bright high school students at UNC-Chapel Hill, she jumps at the chance.

When Bree witnesses a magical attack on her first night there, her world is thrown upside down as she enters the world of the Legendborn. It is a secret society of students with powerful magic who are also descendants of King Arthur! This is one of the best re-tellings I have read.

Find this book in fantasy books for Teens / Books About Secret Societies / Dark Academia

they wish they were us

They Wish They Were Us by Jessica Goodman

At a prestigious private school in New England, a group of kids known as “The Players” rule the school. They get top grades, get into the best schools, and rule the social scene. This is one of the books set in high school that makes me glad I never have to go back.

But when one of the girls in the group is murdered, her best friend Jill begins to investigate who the real murderer is and just how dark their privileged world is. This is a book that will make you think about what privilege means and the lengths people will take to get what they want.

Find this book in Books About Secret Societies / Best Mystery Books / Best Psychological Thriller Books

Ace of spades

Ace of Spades by Faridah Àbíké-Íyímídé

Hello Dark Academia. Centered around Devon and Chiamaka, the only black students at an elite private school, this is one wild thriller.

After being chosen by prefects on the first day of their senior year, Devon and Chiamaka quickly become the targets of the mysterious Aces – a dangerous gossip girl-type character out to ruin their lives.

I was on pins and needles as this thriller unraveled, addressing systemic racism in private institutions in the process.

Find this book in Books Set in High School / Dark Academia Novel / Stalker Books / Psychological Thriller Books

YA Fantasy Header 1

Ultimate List of YA Fantasy

If fantasy books are your favorite books, then these are the perfect book lists for you. We carefully divided them into sub-genres including secret society books!

Middle-Grade Books About Secret Societies

HP Goblet of fire

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (Harry Potter #4) by J.K Rowling

Although the order changes sometimes, this is my second favorite Harry Potter book in the series. In my opinion, it was the first book that really showed Rowling’s potential for great storytelling. If you are reading the Harry Potter books in order, as you should, you will LOVE this book.

Harry Potter finds himself participating in the Triwizard Tournament when someone tricked the Goblet of Fire and entered Harry’s name. He must compete against much more experienced wizards in tasks that will bring him glory or death.

Why We Love It: Harry faces dragons, dark wizards, and mermaids while performing magic he never thought possible. He faces the Deatheaters for the first time!
Find this Book In Books About Secret Societies / Harry Potter Books in Order / Best Puzzle Books

Keeper of the Lost Cities

Keeper of the Lost Cities by Shannon Messenger

Move over Harry Potter, there is a new middle grade fantasy series poised to take your throne! Meet Sophie Foster, a newly found elf living in the human world.

In book one of this ever-growing series, she’s taken back to the Lost Cities and sent to Foxfire Academy to learn to harness her powers as a Telepath. In the process, she is welcomed into a new family, makes loads of friends, and uncovers a secret organization trying to destroy the human world.

Why We Love This Book: All 5 of our children loved this series, and frankly, Jackie and I did too! It’s also a great family-friendly audiobook for long car trips. We’ve got a list of books like KOTLC if you have already read this series.
Appropriate for ages 
9-12
Find this book in
Secret Society Books / Fantasy Books for Tweens / Books for 11-year-olds / Books Like Percy Jackson / Kids Audiobooks

The Mysterious Benedict Society and more books like Keeper of the lost cities

The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart

This is a mystery book for tweens that all adults should read but you can also find it on our list of books for 13-year-olds. It’s about a group of extremely gifted children who are sent to spy on an evil organization.

As members of a secret society, these genius kids must follow the clues on their secret mission.

Why We Love This: This is the first middle-grade book in a series that is geared toward older kids. It was funny and interesting and extremely clever.
Find this book in Middle Grade Mystery Books / Books for 13-year-olds/ Books About Puzzles

For more middle grade secret society books, check out our list of books for 10-year-old, 11-year-old, 12-year-old, or 13-year-old readers.

Did we miss anything on our list of books about secret societies?

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