Young Adult Novel Plotlines: Harvard + COVID-19 Version

By Parul Agarwal

Chances are you’re currently stuck in your childhood bedroom, surrounded by the same four walls of your youth. Since we're all reverting back to our teenage selves, let's take some time to re-examine some of our favorite Young Adult storylines in the context of the times!

Harry Potter

This one is a classic. After all, everyone says Harvard is basically Hogwarts, right? You come in as an eager first-year, excited to eat in the Great Annenberg Hall and be sorted into the best House. For a modern day twist, though, She-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named comes in the form of Miss Rona: healthcare workers and emergency responders are undoubtedly the Aurors, saving the world. Be sure to learn those important spells like Sanitizium and Stayinside-dumbassicus to keep Miss Rona at bay!


One world, five factions: Economics is Dauntless (The Brave), Psychology is Amity (The Kind), CS is Erudite (The Intelligent), Pre-Med is Abnegation (The Selfless), and Social Studies is Candor (The Honest). But those who are Divergent are the most fearsome of all — the joint concentrators. As a dystopian Harvard bubble traps you into figuring out your concentration as quickly as possible, a global pandemic suddenly threatens to upend this carefully structured world. With twists and tourists at every turn, will you be able to survive?

The Hunger Games

Only a select group of individuals are selected to compete in the Harvard Games each year, a coveted yet dreadful position to fill. Entertained, the Final Clubs of the Capitol sit back and watch the ensuing battle as the Tributes fight to the death over LinkedIn connections and internships. After years of refusing to acknowledge the dirty, treacherous history of the Harvard Games, a tragic uprising led by Miss Rona finally brings the cyclical tradition to a halt. Only time will tell if Panembridge will be able to rise from the ashes…

The Mortal Instruments

While you might think you’re a mundane at first, you soon realize your full Shadowhunter potential upon arriving at Harvard Yard. With training in Science Center Hall B, learning runes in the majestic Widener Library, and hunting Yale Downworlders, the Shadowhunter life feels too good to be true. Unfortunately, you soon learn that the evil Shadowhunters of the COVID-19 Circle are determined to destroy the world with their devastating plague. By returning to your Shadowhunter home country of Zoom-Idris, you must work with your Nephilim brethren to figure out how to take COVID-19 down once and for all.

While TikTok dances and banana bread recipes are valid forms of entertainment, why not embrace this period of mental regression and revisit those old YA favorites from your childhood? Stay safe, stay inside, and read a book or two! With everything going on, these dystopian stories are feeling a lot more relatable than they should…

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