In Honor of J.K. Rowling’s Birthday, Here Are 9 Books to Read If You Loved ‘Harry Potter’
We love Harry Potter. You love Harry Potter (we assume). Meaning you, like us, were probably pretty bummed when the series came to an end. There’s always the opportunity to reread—especially on days like today, J.K. Rowling's birthday—but in case that’s not your thing, here are nine books that will satisfy even the most staunch Potterhead.
Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs
Riggs’s dark fantasy is about a young boy who time travels to a home for strangely gifted children with “peculiarities,” like invisibility, superhuman strength and prophetic dreams. It’s also worth seeing Tim Burton’s film version—after reading the book of course.
The Magicians by Lev Grossman
The first installment in a three-part series, The Magicians introduces us to Quentin, a high school student in Brooklyn who enrolls at a college of magic in upstate New York. Yes, it sounds like Harry Potter set in the Catskills, but its thematic material (including existentialism and sex) is a touch more mature than Rowling’s series.
The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt
Tartt’s Pulitzer prize-winning masterpiece is a Dickensian novel about Theo Decker, a young orphan struggling to make his way in a cruel world with the help of a stolen painting and his friend Boris. There’s no magic, but Theo and Boris’s relationship is reminiscent of that between Ron, Hermione and Harry.
Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card
This 1985 military sci-fi novel is set in Earth’s future and features a young boy, Ender Wiggin, who sets out to save his planet (similar to the “chosen one” aspects of Harry Potter’s character).
The Book of Lost Things by John Connolly
David is a 12-year-old living in WWII-era London, struggling to deal with his mother’s death and his father’s remarriage. After a bomber plane crashes into his garden, David is transported into the fantasy world of his books, where he must seek out the king to find his way home.
Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman
Beneath the hustle and bustle of busy London streets is a dark alternate city (called London Below) of monsters and murderers and saints and angels. A young businessman named Richard accidentally happens upon Below, which is as different from London Above as Rowling’s Muggle world is from the Wizarding world.
Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell
Cath is a freshman in college who writes award-winning fan fiction about Simon Snow, a fictional boy magician in the vein of Harry Potter. While the focus of the book is on Cath’s struggles to adjust and fit in, the Simon Snow aspects bear a striking similarity to the Potter series—and she’s written a companion novel all about him.
Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan
With elements of fantasy, mystery and friendship, Sloan’s 2012 novel about a laid-off Silicon Valley web designer who takes a job at an old bookstore has quite a bit in common with Rowling’s series—particularly once its protagonist, Clay, discovers that the purpose of the bookstore is not, in fact, to sell books.
The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
A fairy tale set in Victorian London, Morgenstern’s 2011 novel is about a magical wandering circus, Le Cirque des Rêves, that’s open only from sunset to sunrise. It features acrobats who soar without nets, floating cloud mazes and other fantastical elements that overlay the circus’s darker motives and purpose.