19 Books To Read If You Loved The "Harry Potter" Series
Maybe you'll never find a book better than Harry Potter, but that doesn't mean you can't enjoy reading other novels about magic, friendship, and adventure.
1. The Magicians, Lev Grossman
What it's about: The Magicians, the first book of a trilogy, is about Quentin Coldwater, a kid who attends an exclusive college of magic in upstate New York. He and his friends travel in pursuit of finding a magical land, but what they actually find is more than they bargained for.
Why you should read it: "The Magicians by Lev Grossman definitely filled my void. It grew with me, from a young teen reading Harry Potter, into my twenties with The Magicians!" —Cynthenomad
2. The Hunger Games, Suzanne Collins
What it's about: In a dystopian post-apocalyptic world, the nation of Panem attempts to maintain order and control by having an annual Hunger Games, an event in which children fight to the death until only one stands. Katniss Everdeen volunteers in the games to save her sister, resulting in a brutal and traumatizing experience.
Why you should read it: "The Hunger Games is basically the Triwizard Tournament on crack, so yeah, Hunger Games all the way." —Davepancham13
3. The Lightning Thief (Percy Jackson), Rick Riordan
What it's about: Percy Jackson, a young boy who faced several strange, supernatural encounters, discovers that he is actually the son of Poseidon. Percy and his friends go on a quest to prevent a war between the Greek Gods.
Why you should read it: "If you liked the mythology aspect in Harry Potter then this is definitely the series for you, and it has strong female characters as well." —Allegra Rupp, Facebook
4. The Golden Compass (His Dark Materials), Philip Pullman
What it's about: The Golden Compass (or Northern Lights) is set in a parallel universe and tells the story of a young orphan girl named Lyra on an epic quest to find her kidnapped friend and discover the secrets of "Dust" and the mysterious floating city outlined in the Aurora Borealis.
Why you should read it: "It's a dark yet intriguing world, about a young girl overcoming great obstacles and growing into a strong, confident woman! One of my all-time favorites!!!" —Mads Hamann Pedersen, Facebook
5. Sabriel (Abhorsen Trilogy), Garth Nix
What it's about: Sabriel was sent to boarding school, away from the power of Free Magic and the Dead who refuse to stay dead. But when her father, the Abhorsen, disappears, she enters the Old Kingdom to find him, confronting evil and revealing her hidden destiny.
Why you should read it: "Hands down, the Abhorsen Trilogy by Garth Nix. It is one of my favorite book series — very dark fantasy, fit for YA or adults, with an amazing plot and writing so vivid that reading them gives you the impression that you are actually viewing a film. I reread this series every year. Awesome books." —Kim Hawko, Facebook
6. Inkheart, Cornelia Funke
What it's about: This story within a story follows a 12-year-old girl named Meggie, who learns that her father can bring fictional characters to life. One night while reading a book called Inkheart, an evil ruler escapes and abducts them both. Meggie must learn to harness the magic that caused this nightmare so she can change the course of the story.
Why you should read it: "The Inkheart series by Cornelia Funke is beautiful and weird and kinda existentialist and has a female protagonist to boot. It’s got adventure and fantasy and a cool family dynamic. I’ve read and loved the Hunger Games, Divergent, and Maze Runner trilogies, but none hold a candle to Inkheart in my book." —hannahh49346df9c, BuzzFeed
7. Fangirl, Rainbow Rowell
What it's about: Twin sisters Wren and Cath become hardcore members of a fandom, relying on the Simon Snow community to help distract them from the hardship of their mother leaving. When the twins reach college, Wren reveals she wants to lead her own life, leaving Cath confused and incomplete.
Why you should read it: "Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell!! It's about sisters in their first year of college who have to deal with their favorite series ending (it's supposed to mirror HP in real life) and how they have to find ways to move on. Super-relatable, especially if you like writing/reading fanfiction or if you had a rough college transition." —Krysty Dross, Facebook
8. Graceling, Kristin Cashore
What it's about: Katsa, a strong yet vulnerable teenage girl, lives in a society where people are given a Grace, which is some sort of special talent. Katsa's gift is killing, and she is forced to use her skills to do her uncle's dirty work. But Katsa goes in search of a way to put her talents to good use.
Why you should read it: "If you are missing magic and strong female protagonists, like Hermione, Professor McGonagall, or Luna, I would recommend Graceling by Kristin Cashore." —Katyna Singleton, Facebook
9. Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children, Ransom Riggs
What it's about: After a horrific family tragedy, 16-year-old Jacob travels to an abandoned orphanage on a remote island off the coast of Wales. Jacob inspects the bedrooms and hallways, discovering that the children who lived there were both peculiar and dangerous, and possibly still alive.
Why you should read it: "I truly loved Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. It basically contains all plot points a Harry Potter enthusiast loves: a band of children with fantastic powers saving the world, mentors who turn into animals, sly time travel and other sorts of transportation, the idea that you could grow up as usual and become unusual, young love, et al., but the twists and turns Ransom Riggs takes and the inclusion of real historical pictures make this series new and interesting and engrossing. Did I mention a Tim Burton adaptation just began filming? Nothing’s going to topple HP anytime soon, but this book will ease your withdrawal, I promise." —Duer89
10. Shadow and Bone (Grisha Trilogy), Leigh Bardugo
What it's about: Following an orphan girl named Alina Starkov, the Grisha Trilogy is about a young woman's quest to discovering the true power of herself and trying to save a darkened land with her light.
Why you should read it: "The Grisha Trilogy is so unique and interesting. I promise anyone that they will not regret picking up that book." —Nikom4f65e5882
11. Neverwhere, Neil Gaiman
What it's about: An ordinary businessman with a good heart, Richard Mayhew's world is forever changed when he stops to help a mysterious, bleeding girl on a sidewalk. He falls through the cracks and lands under the streets of London, a city filled with monsters and saints, murderers and angels, and more.
Why you should read it: "It creates an immersive world like the Potter books do, all the while being funny, dark, and action-packed. The characters are witty and memorable, with the lead coming into his role as a hero just like Harry does — stumbling and fumbling all the way." —Allison Kay, Facebook
12. The Night Circus, Erin Morgenstern
What it's about: This story is about a circus, one with black and white tents that arrives with no warning or announcement. Behind the scenes, two young magicians prepare for a duel that they have been trained for since childhood. Despite themselves, the duo fall in love, but what they don't know is that this game can only leave one standing.
Why you should read it: "Beautiful writing and a different take on magic. I read it at least twice a year." —Samantha Flanagan, Facebook
13. The Alchemyst: The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel, Michael Scott
What it's about: This story is about Nicholas Flamel, the greatest Alchemyst of his day. Nearly 700 years after his birth, he still lives, the secret of eternal life hidden in a book that Dr. John Dee is trying to steal. If it ends up in his hands, it could destroy the world, and based on a prophecy, twins Sophie and Josh Newman are the only people who can help save humanity.
Why you should read it: "It’s absolutely brilliant!" —Raynw
14. The Amulet of Samarkand (The Bartimaeus Trilogy), Jonathan Stroud
What it's about: Eleven-year-old Nathaniel is a magician in training, sold to the government at a young age and forced to live as an apprentice. When Nathaniel is humiliated by ruthless magician Simon Lovelace and betrayed by his master, he vows revenge. Nathaniel summons 5,000-year-old djinni Bartimaeus to avenge Simon by stealing the Amulet of Samarkand, but he ends up in a dangerous and deadly situation.
Why you should read it: "The Bartimaeus Trilogy is a really great one. It’s still about magic and localized in the U.K., but the methods are completely different, and it also has better internal consistency than the HP books." —HapaxLegomenon
15. Throne of Glass, Sarah J. Maas
What it's about: Celaena Sardothien is an assassin, and she is summoned to the castle; not to kill the king, but to win her freedom. If she defeats 23 killers, thieves, and warriors in a competition, she is released from prison to serve as the king's champion. But when competitors start dying one by one, her fight for freedom becomes a fight for survival.
Why you should read it: "Really interesting and unpredictable books. There’s six in the series but only three are out so far, so you can still experience the magic of waiting for the newest one to be released!" —Lilypeach01
16. Cinder (The Lunar Chronicles), Marissa Meyer
What it's about: Loosely based on classic fairy tales, the Lunar Chronicles is focused on a girl named Cinder, a cyborg who is trying to save the plague-ridden world from the destruction of an evil space queen.
Why you should read it: "I definitely recommend The Lunar Chronicles for anyone who is OBSESSED with Harry Potter. Although there are no “magical” elements, the futuristic world of the Lunar Chronicles and Marisa Meyer’s characters are truly captivating! I found it impossible to not like any of the characters, especially the three different heroines. Plus, there’s still one more book coming out this fall, so you will have something to look forward to!" —Isabellal4634df633
17. The Name of the Wind (Kingkiller Chronicles), Patrick Rothfuss
What it's about: Told in first-person narrative, this is the story of Kovthe, a magically gifted young man who becomes the most notorious wizard of his time. From his childhood in a troupe of traveling players, to his time as an orphan in a crime-ridden city, to his daring bid to enter a school of magic, this story transports readers into the mind and body of a wizard.
Why you should read it: "It’s sort of like Harry Potter meets Lord of the Rings. Strong, complex female characters, a good trio/quartet of friends, and incredible world-building. Fair warning, though: The last book in the trilogy isn’t out yet, and Rothfuss writes slower that George R. R. Martin." —Katherineh5
18. The Queen of the Tearling, Erika Johansen
What it's about: Set in a medieval-type future, Princess Kelsea Raleigh Glynn, raised in exile, travels to the Tearling to reclaim her dead mother's throne and save her kingdom from the Red Queen. Though she faces great danger, she has a certain weapon on her neck; a sapphire of immense magical powers.
Why you should read it: "Emma Watson is already slated to be the heroine in the movie adaptation AND is producing the movie because she loved it so much." —Ashleylupinj
19. Storm Front (Dresden Files), Jim Butcher
What it's about: Harry Dresden, Chicago's only professional wizard, is lacking business. When the police bring him in to consult on a double murder case committed with black magic, he gets excited. But it turns out he's in more danger than he anticipated.
Why you should read it: "It's 15 books strong and still going. Imagine Harry Potter grows up and becomes a detective in Chicago. Lots of action, lots of humor, and lots of heart." —Pianoman72