If You Liked Harry Potter, Try These Selections

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Harry Potter’s fantastical rags-to-riches hero’s journey has been capturing readers’ imaginations for over 25 years now. Whether it’s the found-family friendships that fans love, the magical school, or the massive worldbuilding, J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series has grown to be a modern classic of the fantasy genre. For anyone who has completed it and is in search of something similar, see this list for comparable books and book series for readers of all ages.


Middle Grade (Ages 9-12):

The Golden Compass: Book 1 of His Dark Materials by Philip Pullman

This is a classic children’s fantasy series that has since been made into a movie and a TV show.

The School for Good and Evil by Soman Chainani

Do you long to be selected for a magical school like Hogwarts? Try this book. For the past 200 years, children deemed either “good” or “evil” have been taken from their families and trained to be fairy-tale heroes and villains. Best friends Sophie and Agatha have dreamed of being selected for this school, Sophie picturing herself as an enchanted princess, and Agatha as a dark witch. But when they are taken and their fortunes reversed, they might discover who they truly are… 

The Lightning Thief: Book 1 of Percy Jackson and the Olympians by Rick Riordan

A young boy learns that he is descended from a line of powerful, supernatural beings and leaves his home to learn to harness his gifts. He, along with his newfound friends, get caught up in a war bigger than themselves. Sound familiar? This is basically Harry Potter but with Greek Mythology. Also available in graphic novel form.

Shad Hadid and the Alchemists of Alexandria by George Jreije

This book follows a baking enthusiast turned alchemist as he battles a world of necromancers. Sixth-grader Shad Hadid is a Lebanese orphan living with his grandmother in Portland, Maine. While running away from his former friend-turned-bully, he spontaneously encounters a jungle, a necromancer, and an alchemist- and discovers that he is an alchemist, too. From there Shad enrolls in Alexandria Academy where he will hone his new craft, and eventually uncover a secret necromancer plot, too. 


Young Adult (13-18): 

Legendborn by Tracy Deonn

Bree’s mom has just been killed in an accident, and Bree is trying to take her mind off things by enrolling in a residential college program for bright high-schoolers. But she gets more distraction than she bargained for when she sees a magical attack her first night on campus. Flying demons, a secret society that hunts them down, and a mysterious teenage mage who goes by Merlin—all of this leads Bree to discover her own powers and learn more about the secrets behind her mother’s death. Oh, and also, this is all connected to King Arthur and his Knights of the Round Table. Need I say more?

The Amulet of Samarkand: Book 1 of The Bartimaeus Trilogy by Jonathan Stroud

Nathaniel is a boy magician-in-training, sold to the government by his birth parents at the age of five and sent to live as an apprentice to a cruel master. Nathaniel tolerates this existence until the summer before his eleventh birthday, when he is publicly humiliated by the ruthless magician Simon Lovelace. He begins fervently studying magical texts about djinn in order to eventually exact his revenge on Lovelace…

The Alchemyst: Book 1 of The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel by Michael Scott

Were you intrigued by Nicholas Flamel and his Sorcerer's Stone in Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone? This Young Adult series follows a pair of siblings as they try to keep the most powerful book that has ever existed—Nicholas Flamel’s secret to eternal life—out of the wrong hands. Also exists as a graphic novel.



A Deadly Education by Naomi Novik

Learning has never been as deadly as it is at Scholomance, a school for the magically gifted where failure means certain death. A little more strict than Hogwarts, eh? Rules include: Don’t walk the halls alone, and beware of the monsters lurking everywhere. El, a young girl with dark magic more powerful than anyone could imagine, is beginning to unlock the secrets of Scholomance.

The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss

The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss is perfect for an adult looking for a new read with the magical academia, familial themes, and memorable characters that made Rowling’s series famous. The main character Kvothe narrates the story of witnessing his parents’ murder and then going on to study magic at a renowned school. This book has a lot of adventure and Kvothe is a funny, clever, and charming character.

Magic for Liars by Sarah Gailey

Do you have a craving for a good whodunnit? Described as Harry Potter meets murder mystery, Magic for Liars follows a private investigator whose estranged sister, a magically gifted professor, needs help investigating a murder at her school for young mages. This book also has wonderful representation of queer characters.

The Color of Magic by Terry Pratchett

If you particularly enjoyed the humorous moments in Harry Potter, Terry Pratchett’s The Color of Magic may be for you. Following an interplanetary tourist and his blundering wizard guide, this is the comedic fantasy book you never knew you needed. The Color of Magic is book one in Pratchett’s beloved Discworld series.

Vita Nostra by Marina and Sergey Dyachenko

This last selection is definitely not for everyone, but if you are looking for a strange and wild ride, put this on hold immediately. Vita Nostra begins with teenage Sasha, who notices a strange man watching her while she’s on vacation with her mom. Sasha confronts him and he convinces her to go to the ocean at a specific time every morning and swim to a buoy and back. Sasha accepts his strange task out of curiosity. After her first swim out to the buoy, she immediately vomits up a gold coin. The story only gets more uncanny from this point on. If you liked Harry Potter, but want a weirder and darker academia story, this is for you.

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