Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by J. K. Rowling

Summer has been normal and boring for Harry Potter until right before the end. Dementors show up in his town and attack him and his cousin Dudley. Harry uses magic to fight off the creatures and, almost instantly, gets sent a letter from the Ministry that is requiring him to go to a disciplinary hearing. At the hearing it will be decided if Harry should be expelled from Hogwarts. At the hearing it is decided that Harry will not be expelled from Hogwarts. Once there, Harry notices a lot of strange things. Skeletal horses are pulling school carriages, but he is the only one that can actually see the horses. Also there is another new Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher named Dolores Umbridge. There are also rumors that Harry and Dumbledore are going crazy for thinking that Voldemort is returning. The only people that stand by Harry’s side are Ron and Hermione. Harry frequently gets detention with Professor Umbridge for lashing out at the people that think he’s crazy. Professor Umbridge soon becomes Hogwarts High Inquisitor which gives her the power to sack teachers whenever she feels that it’s necessary. Because of Harry’s frequent detentions, Professor Umbridge decides to take away the things Harry loves most like Quidditch, Sirius Black’s letters, and the ability to visit Hagrid at his hut. In retaliation, Harry forms a defense group which he calls Dumbledore’s Army. Professor Umbridge soon finds out, and Dumbledore takes the blame. In doing so, Dumbledore has to leave Hogwarts to avoid being arrested. Harry frequently has dreams of dark corridors and locked doors, and his scar prickles very often. Harry then finds out that Sirius Black, Harry’s godfather, was killed, and Dumbledore tells Harry the ultimate prophecy: If Harry doesn’t kill Voldemort, Voldemort will eventually kill Harry.

-Emilio V.

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by J. K. Rowling is available for checkout from the Mission Viejo Library. It is also available for download from Overdrive

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J. K. Rowling

Harry’s third year at Hogwarts is stressful in the beginning. He is constantly being buried under piles of homework. He also learns that Sirius Black, a mass murderer, is out to kill Harry. Mr. Weasley makes Harry promise that he won’t go looking for Sirius and Harry agrees. At Hogwarts, Dementors have been stationed around the school to prevent Sirius from getting in. The Dementors, however, have a worse effect on Harry than any other student because of Harry’s past. Mr. Lupin, the new Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher, teaches Harry how to cast a Patronus Charm which is the only spell that works against the Dementors. Ron and Hermione are constantly arguing because Hermione’s cat keeps trying to eat Ron’s rat. Soon they altogether stop talking because Ron thinks that Hermione’s cat did eat his rat. A few days later Sirius Black breaks into Hogwarts, but is quickly captured. Then as it turns out, Ron’s rat is not only alive, but a real human that transformed himself into a rat to spy on Harry. The man’s name is Peter Pettigrew and he was spying on Harry for Voldemort. Pettigrew quickly escapes before Harry can stop him. Harry finds out that it wasn’t Sirius Black that lead Voldemort to his parents, but that it was Pettigrew. Sirius is actually Harry’s godfather. Harry hopes that he can live with Sirius instead of the Dursley’s, but Sirius has to hide from the Ministry. Professor Lupin turns out to be a werewolf, and it was Sirius that saved the kids from Lupin.

-Emilio V.

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J. K. Rowling is available for checkout from the Mission Viejo Library. It can also be downloaded for free from Overdrive

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J. K. Rowling

Harry Potter is a miserable boy living with his aunt and uncle. He is often mistreated. He sleeps in a cupboard beneath the stairs and has to wear his cousin Dudley’s hand me downs. His life gets a massive change on his 11th birthday. A giant tells Harry that he is a wizard and that so were his parents. Hagrid also tells Harry about how his parents died which made him a hero in the wizarding world. Hagrid lastly informs Harry that he’ll be attending Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.

Harry doesn’t know what to do or think with everything he has just been told, but it turns out to be true and Harry starts school in September. Almost instantly he becomes friends with Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger. Harry loves Hogwarts more than anything ever before. Soon he starts participating in Quidditch practices and becomes the youngest Quidditch player in the last century. As the year goes on, the three discover the mystery of the three headed dog and what it could be guarding. They soon notice a professor that seems like he’s trying to steal the object, so they take action to prevent the robbery. Once they sneak past the three headed dog, they pass several challenges to get to the professor.

When they get to where the professor should be, Harry finds his parents’ killer Voldemort. Voldemort killed Harry’s parents to get to Harry, but somehow Harry survived Voldemort’s spell. He battles Voldemort and barely saves the mystical Sorcerer’s Stone. The end of the school year arrives and Harry, Ron, and Hermione are rewarded for their acts of bravery.

-Emilio V.

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J. K. Rowling is available for checkout from the Mission Viejo Library. It can also be downloaded for free from Overdrive.  

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by J.K. Rowling, John Tiffany, and Jack Thorne

I rejoiced when I heard there would be an eighth Harry Potter book as I’m sure the rest of the Harry Potter fandom did.  It definitely delivers the same thrills, adventure, and fun as the other seven.

The story centers around Albus Severus Potter, Harry Potter’s youngest son.  He doesn’t fit in as well at Hogwarts, but finds a friend in Draco Malfoy’s son Scorpius.  Albus and Scorpius are both sorted into Slytherin and Albus’s relationship with his father worsens over the years.  Then, everything changes as the pair meet Delphi, Amos Diggory’s niece, and set off to change the past with the help of a Time-Turner and save Cedric Diggory. The rest of the story lies within the book…

This was an interesting read because it isn’t written like a conventional book; it’s written like a script with descriptions of the surroundings, acts and scenes, and the character’s names before their dialogue.  I loved seeing Harry, Ron, and Hermione all grown up with families.  It makes you feel like you’ve grown along with the characters. This book was a great addition to the series and I recommend it to everyone who loves Harry Potter and magical, fantasy adventure books!

-Kaitlyn S.

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is available for checkout from the Mission Viejo Library. It can also be downloaded for free from Overdrive

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling

Eleven year old Harry Potter knows little of what he is capable of. After all, he’s lived with his Aunt Petunia, Uncle Vernon, and their son Dudley Dursley ever since the death of his parents in a supposed car crash. Living under the cupboard in the Dursley household is the miserable life Harry has become familiar with- nobody to celebrate his birthdays with, nothing to call his “own,” and on top of all this no one to call his mother or father.

All this changes the day he receives a mysterious letter, via owl, inviting him into the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. In that moment, he finds out he is a wizard! Harry, eager to leave his aunt and uncle, accepts the gesture. He befriends Hagrid, gamekeeper of Hogwarts, who assists Harry in gathering the necessary materials for his first year at school.

In a single year at wizards’ school, Harry has had more fun than all his eleven years combined! He is acquainted with Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger, two other first year students at Hogwarts. In addition, he uncovers his natural ability of flying on a broom! Harry joins the Quidditch team, where he is able to fly around the field to his heart’s content. Not only this, but he also learns much about the history of magic, potions, and even spells! There is still much for Harry and his friends to uncover as they discover what magic lies within the walls of Hogwarts.

J.K. Rowling has whisked me into the mythical journey of Harry Potter. I haven’t read a book so quickly in such a long time; I couldn’t seem to put it down! I am very excited to see what other adventures unfold for Harry as he discovers his true talents.

-Skyler K.

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone is available for checkout from the Mission Viejo Library. It can also be downloaded from Overdrive

Good Omens by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett

Good Omens is a novel co-written by Neil Gaiman and the late, great Terry Pratchett. The combination of their unique styles creates an incredible story that is extremely difficult to follow. This is one of those books that can only get better with each reading, because the first time you pick it up, you have no idea what’s going on.

It follows about six distinct storylines, all of which interact throughout the story. The best of these is the tale of Crowley and Aziraphale, a demon and angel (respectively) who have been on earth together since the Beginning. Literally, biblically, the Beginning.

Other characters include Adam, the antichrist; Dog, the aptly named Hellhound; a 1921 Bentley in perfect condition, a witch-hunter with a fondness for condensed milk, and a group of intelligent ducks.

Despite the fact that the book is nearly twenty years old, it has a really awesome cult following. There have been innumerable attempts to create movies, TV shows, mini-series, etc. about Good Omens, none of which have taken off. Aside from a podcast adaptation currently running on the BBC, the novel remains the only canon content in its universe.

There is something very special about this book. It’s funny and thought-provoking and a tongue-twister at times. It is definitely a Must Read, if only for the sake of enjoying a book that was written by two authors on different continents snail-mailing floppy discs across the Atlantic ocean because e-mail wasn’t fast enough yet.

-Zoe K., 11th grade

Good Omens by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman is available for checkout from the Mission Viejo Library. It is also available for download from Overdrive and Hoopla.

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J.K. Rowling

harrypotterchamberofsecrets_jkrowlingHarry Potter, ready to head back to Hogwarts after another long summer at the Dursely’s, gets an ominous message from a house elf named Dobby that he should not return to school. He returns to what he believes is just another year at Hogwarts but when messages written in blood are found on the wall declaring the Chamber of Secrets had been opened, students are petrified, and a mysterious voice that only Harry seems to hear, the entire campus is left in fear. This perplexing plot snatches the reader’s attention as Ron, Harry, and Hermione slowly find pieces to this puzzle.

In the midst of all this, Harry find a journal from a student named Tom Riddle which shows him the last time the Chamber of Secrets was opened. According to this, Aragog, a spider Hagrid had care for, was the result of the attacks. This is what really left me puzzled. Why would Hagrid let his arcomantula hurt the students? He was always nice to all the students and never would want to harm any of them. So, obviously the trio had find out what really happened on that day. Hermione, being the brains of the group, figured out what was down in the Chamber of Secrets and learned how to find it only to be petrified.

Harry, Ron, and the clueless Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher, Gildroy Lockhart, all head down to the chamber. A rock slide separates them leaving only Harry to fight the beast hidden away in the secret room along with young spirit of Voldemort. By a miracle from Godric Gryffindor, he defeats Voldemort and his basilisk before being rescued to safety by Dumbledor’s pet Phoenix, Fawkes.

A wild ride of twists and turns, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets keeps you captivated through the very end. It is an amazing sequel to Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone and a great piece of writing from J.K Rowling.

-Ava G.

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J. K. Rowling is available for checkout from the Mission Viejo Library. It is also available for download from Overdrive