The Unmagical Life of Briar Jones: Discover the next dark academia sensation from the instant New York Times bestseller

Front Cover
Orion, Oct 28, 2025 - Fiction - 320 pages

From instant New York Times bestseller and Nero Award-shortlisted TikTok favourite Lex Croucher comes your new dark academia obsession...

Briar always dreamed of going to the elite Temple School of Thaumaturgy.

Briar's best friend, Seb, just wanted them to stay together.

When Seb gets in and Briar doesn't, their relationship is shattered.

Until, on the cusp of their final year, Briar secures a summer job sorting through the old magical textbooks strictly forbidden from the students who know how to read them, finally gaining entry to the notorious ivory tower to see what their closest friend has become and to learn, at last, who really controls the secrets of magical selection...

The Secret History meets Her Majesty's Royal Coven in this stunningly prescient fusion of dark academia and crossover fantasy following the life of a non-binary student and aspiring magician who fails to gain admission to the UK's only school of magic feat. tyrant prefects, trials-by-sorcery, queer found family fighting the establishment, and childhood friends-to-rivals-to-enemies-to-more.


'Exactly what I needed right now'

'A total, rollicking delight'

'Fun and genuinely funny'

'I loved this book to a degree that's slightly ridiculous'

About the author (2025)

Lex Croucher grew up in Surrey reading a lot of books and making friends with strangers on the internet, and now lives in London with an elderly cat, producing videos by day and watching period dramas by night. With a background in social media for NGOs, their books include adult Regency romcoms Reputation, Infamous, and Trouble (Zaffre); and YA medieval romcoms Gwen and Art Are Not in Love and Not for the Faint of Heart (Bloomsbury). Gwen and Art Are Not in Love was an instant New York Times bestseller, winning the Books Are My Bag Readers' Award for Young Adult Fiction as well as being shortlisted for the Café Nero Children's Fiction Award. Last year, Lex was also one of four authors shortlisted for the inaugural TikTok Book Awards. You can find them on Twitter @lexcroucher and on Instagram and TikTok @lexcanroar.

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