Which YA Books Should the Characters of Harry Potter Read?
Like the rest of the Muggle world, we’ll never lose our love for Harry Potter (anyone else re-read it every summer?). Our other great love is, of course, YA books. So we got to thinking—which YA books would we recommend to Harry, Ron, Hermione, and the rest of our favorite characters from the series?
Harry Potter – Half Bad
We can see Harry really digging into Sally Green’s Half Bad series. He has a lot in common with the protagonist, Nathan: Nathan lived in a cage; Harry, a cupboard under the stairs. Nathan is the child of a good Witch and a bad Witch, caught in a war between both sides. Harry, of course, is also caught in a war between good and evil, and though he fights on the side of good, his relationship with Lord Voldemort is complicated—and he has more in common with the Dark Lord than he’d like to think.
Hermione Granger – The Inside of Out
We all love Hermione: she’s the smartest, most level-headed witch we know, and she’s kind and compassionate to boot. But, sometimes her ambition and good intentions get the better of her. Remember SPEW? We’re not saying House Elves shouldn’t be liberated, but maybe Hermione shouldn’t have been the one to lead the movement, so to speak. We think she could probably learn a thing or two from Daisy, the main character in Jenn Marie Thorne’s The Inside of Out. See, Daisy decides to fight the good fight against an old-fashioned school board on behalf of her school’s LGBT student population . . . even though she’s straight. But things quickly spin out of control, and Daisy goes from being an ally to stealing the spotlight on the turn of a dime. She has to learn the hard way that maybe it’s not her place to be the hero in someone else’s story.
Luna Lovegood – Between Worlds
Luna “Loony” Lovegood caught a lot of flak for her less than conventional beliefs, but we like to think maybe she could just see things that others couldn’t. No doubt she’d love Skip Brittenham’s Between Worlds, an immersive story about two best friends and fellow outsiders who stumble upon an alternate universe in a mysterious forest. The fact that the book uses cutting-edge augmented reality technology to bring the world to life in interactive 3D? That’s just a bonus for Luna, who will doubtless be wearing her Spectrespecs.
Neville Longbottom – The Forbidden Orchid
With his deep passion and talent for Herbology, we can only imagine that Neville would be a fan of Sharon Biggs Waller’s The Forbidden Orchid, the story of Elodie Buchanan’s search for an extremely rare and valuable flower. Her journey takes her from the safety of her home in England to the dangers and wilds of China, where she discovers previously unknown confidence and courage—traits that Neville also came to find within himself.
Ginny Weasley – The Wrath and the Dawn
The youngest Weasley is no joke: like her mama, she’s a wicked good witch that you shouldn’t underestimate. And while she certainly doesn’t need a man, she’s not averse to a little romantic action now and then (as evidenced by her snogging Dean Thomas, and eventually Harry). We think she and Shazi from Renee Ahdieh’s The Wrath and the Dawn might be soul sisters – brave, determined, smart, fiery women who boys just don’t stand a chance against. Plus, like Ginny and her wand, Shazi wields her own weapon: the power of storytelling. In this retelling of A Thousand and One Nights, she uses it to keep the handsome Caliph hanging on her every word and unwilling to execute his bride until her story is done.
Draco Malfoy – Rocks Fall, Everyone Dies
Poor Draco. Say what you will, but it seems to us Draco got the short end of the stick in some ways. He wasn’t perfect (okay, he could be downright nasty), but he was raised by a pretty terrible family, so what do you expect? Our hope is that, in reading Lindsay Ribar’s Rocks Fall, Everyone Dies, Draco will come to realize that we all have a choice in life about the kind of person we want to be. Aspen Quick’s family uses their unusual magic for selfish gain, stealing other people’s innermost qualities—their memories, their fears, even their love. But like the Malfoys, Aspen and his family have an addiction to power that comes at a heavy price for a lot of innocent people.
Severus Snape – Rebel Belle
Okay, we know what you’re thinking, but hear us out. Snape, the cold, sarcastic Potions Master, actually has a lot in common with Harper Price, Southern belle and protagonist of Rachel Hawkin’s Rebel Belle. Both of them lead secret lives: Harper as a Paladin with supernatural strength, agility and fighting instincts, and Snape as a double agent for the Order of the Phoenix and as an emotionally complex man with deep feelings for Harry’s deceased mother, Lily. And both of them are charged with protecting their least favorite person in the world. For Harper, that’s David Stark, school reporter, and subject of a mysterious prophecy; and of course for Snape, it’s Harry, the son of his arch nemesis James Potter, also the subject of a mysterious prophecy. All we’re saying is, Snape could probably use a friend, and he and Harper have plenty they can bond over.
Albus Dumbledore – Grasshopper Jungle
We found recommending a book to Dumbledore a bit of a challenge, but ultimately decided that considering his tendency to gravitate towards unusual things such as unfortunate flavors of Bertie Bott’s Every Flavor Beans and the Room of Requirement’s magnificent collection of chamber pots, we thought he might go for Andrew Smith’s Grasshopper Jungle, a hilarious, intense, complex novel about a small town under siege by an unstoppable army of gigantic, hungry, and horny praying mantises.
We don’t imagine that Voldy curls up with a blanket and a good book all that often, but if he did, it would have to be with The Young Elites by Marie Lu. The Dark Lord would definitely identify with Adelina, whose lust for vengeance and desire for destruction is a worthy match for his own. And like the Dark Lord, Adelina thrives on fear and hate.
Rubeus Hagrid – Nightfall
Hagrid’s love of big beasties and creepy crawlies is legend. While most people, like Marin, Kana, and Line, the protagonists of Nightfall, would run from the things that go bump in the night, Hagrid . . . well, Hagrid finds them cute. When Marin, Kana, and Line get stuck on the island of Bliss after it has been submerged in darkness for fourteen years, they find themselves hunted by the creatures that inhabit the island during the long night. We won’t describe them, but suffice to say that Hagrid would be thrilled to meet one.
Ron Weasley – A Tale of Two Besties
While being Harry Potter’s BFF is undeniably cool (we’d certainly volunteer for the job), sometimes that means playing second fiddle to The Chosen One. Ron is usually pretty cool about it, but he has his moments, too. And during those tough times when being Harry’s sidekick might be less than fun, we think he’d find catharsis in A Tale of Two Besties. In the book, BFFs Harper and Lily find their relationship challenged when they go to different high schools. Suddenly Harper, usually the popular one, finds herself at the bottom of the food chain, and Lily has gone from “gawkward” to Goddess.
Dobby the House Elf – An Ember in the Ashes
Dobby would probably be the biggest Potterhead of us all, but if we could suggest another book for him to read, it would definitely be Sabaa Tahir’s An Ember in the Ashes. For starters, he and Sabaa share a passion for socks that makes them a perfect match. But more to the point, Dobby knows exactly what it’s like to have to serve a sadistic and evil master, and to fight for those he loves behind that master’s back. He would totally root for Laia as she faces off against the ruthless Commandant, and does everything she can to save her brother, no matter what the cost to her personal safety. But he would also sympathize with Helene—she may not bang her head against the wall for her own disobedience, but her loyalty to the Martial Empire is so ingrained in her that she can’t bring herself to oppose it.
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