Last month marked the 20th anniversary of the publication of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. Like many others who grew up with the Harry Potter series, the fact that it has been twenty years since Harry was first introduced to the world has made me feel both very old and very emotional. If you’re like me, you’ve spent the years since the series ended alternating between rereading the series and trying to find new books to read that will bring back that sense of wonder and excitement that Harry Potter inspired.
I’ve read a good many lists of books for Harry Potter fans, yet unfortunately a lot of those recommendations felt like they were based on nothing but the existence of a magic school (I’m looking at you, The Magicians).
I hope this list helps you find at least one book that you enjoy almost as much as Harry Potter, because while we’ll never get back those midnight book releases followed by all-nighters and then days locked in our rooms forgetting to eat and sleep and bathe while reading the latest Harry Potter book, there are still lots of good books out there to be read…
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1. Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman.
If you’re a fan of the wizarding world, you may enjoy Neverwhere, a story about another secret world hidden in London, or rather, under London. It’s a story about finding adventure, love and friendship in unexpected places.
2. His Dark Materials by Philip Pullman.
So this is not technically an adult series, but I recently read these books for the first time and fell completely in love with it. I cried a LOT. The characters, the world, the story, all felt so incredibly real. I already know I’m going to be rereading this one many more times in my life. If you, like me, didn’t get around to reading this one when you were younger because you were too busy reading Harry Potter, do yourself a favor and read it now.
3. Stardust by Neil Gaiman.
A young man vows to catch a fallen star and bring it back to the woman he loves… what he encounters along the way will challenge everything he thought he knew. Magic, love, adventure, unicorns… Stardust has just about everything a Harry Potter fan could want in a story.
4. 1Q84 by Haruki Murakami.
In 1Q84, Aomame follows a taxi driver’s suggestion and afterwards starts to see differences in the world around her. Meanwhile, Tengo becomes mixed up in a plot to win a writing competition, and ends up stumbling into a strange world where it seems anything can happen. 1Q84 is about two people trying to make sense of a strange new world they’ve found themselves in. If you love meeting interesting characters and discovering new magical worlds, you’ll find a lot to love in 1Q84.
5. A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab
Alternate Londons. Good magic. Bad magic. Friendship. Family. Adventure. Hope. A fight to save the world from destruction. A lot of wonderful ingredients added together to make a great story that I think Harry Potter fans will really enjoy.
6. The Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith (J.K. Rowling)
Originally published under the pen name Robert Galbraith, and later revealed to have been written by J.K. Rowling, this fun and intriguing mystery story follows private investigator Cormoran Strike and his new secretary, Robin, in their investigation into the death of famous young woman. This story was entertaining and fun, and I was so drawn into the story that I couldn’t put it down. If you love J.K. Rowling’s style and sense of humor in the Harry Potter books, you will find those in The Cuckoo’s Calling as well.
7. The Last Unicorn by Peter S. Beagle
This is one of my favorite books of all time, so I’ll use any opportunity to recommend it, but if you enjoy stories of magic and adventure and friendship and love (and if you are a Harry Potter fan I am sure this is the case), The Last Unicorn has all of those things and more.