For the past 10 years, Harry Potter has captured the imaginations and the heart of millions worldwide. Many wonder who will be our next literary hero. Many authors are trying, but will their stories measure up?
All good things must come to an end, and the 7th and final book in the Harry Potter Series was premiered last July. Those who have read the book now know fate of Harry and Lord Voldemort (I won’t spoil it for those who haven’t read it yet).However, for those teens who have finally discovered the joy of reading, we ask, What’s next?Who will be the next literary phenomenon to take us on a journey to another world? To answer that question, we should first look at what made Harry such a hit in the first place.A Potion for Success?What was it about Harry that made us love him so much? It could be that Harry was so darn believable as a real person. J.K. Rowling wrote a tragic story of the 11-year-old underdog coupled with his firm hatred of all things evil appealed to our better half, and his obvious faults soothed our conscience.Rowling also instilled into Harry’s story a childlike and simple humor reminiscent of Roald Dahl, and a magical community as fully imagined as Lewis’ Narnia.One of the most important factors was that Harry was a boy that we all grew up with. Harry’s character developed as we did; when he got older, so did we.Who is The Next Harry Potter?What book is now sitting on a shelf in a bookstore, waiting to be discovered? Since 17,000 new children’s literature books are published every year, we can only hope that a good one will come soonThankfully, there are a few possibilities:”Peter and The Starcatchers” by Dave Barry and Ridley PearsonBrief Synopsis: This trilogy circles around a familiar and much-loved face: Peter Pan. Set before Peter met Wendy in J.M. Barrie’s novel, it features an orphaned Peter who is sent to work on the ship Never Land along with four other boys. The adventure that follows includes many of the events that later are mentioned in the movies. Captain Hook, the Mermaids, the Lost Boys, and Tinkerbell all come into play in this series.
What Makes this Series Great: “Peter” brings back into the spotlight a classic character. Add to this engaging writing, swashbuckling action and childlike humor, and you’ve got the makings of a hit trilogy.What Could Hold This Series Back: It’s complete already. Much of the uproar surrounding Harry Potter was the mystery of what the next book would hold. Will Harry survive? What about Voldemort? There will be none of this unknown because the three books in the series are out already. They may have even already hit their peak.”The Dark is Rising” by Susan CooperBrief Synopsis: This series is about Will, the eleven year old boy who finds out he is the last of a race called The Light, who have magic powers and are sworn to fight evildoers called The Dark.What Makes This Series Great: It’s a mixture of all our favorites! This series combines the good versus evil of Star Wars (including the “Dark” and “Light” symbolism), plus the destined accident of finding a new world that we see in Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis, as well as the “young boy finds new powers and uses them for good” theme of Harry Potter. It also is well-written with well-rounded characters and plenty of intrigue.What Could Hold This Series Back: It’s pretty confusing. The main character, Will, isn’t even introduced until the second book, with the characters of the first book fading in and out of the series at the author’s will.”Tunnels” by Roderick Gordon and Brian WilliamsBrief Synopsis: Two fourteen year old boys are the main characters of this story, and they could easily be compared Harry and Ron. Their names are Will and Chester, and they stumbled upon an underground world while looking for Will’s father. Together, they set out to find Will’s Father and ended up contending themselves against an army of underground enemies.What Makes This Series Great: It’s got rich imagery with tons of interesting word-play. The characters are lovable and funny, but still have flaws. Rising action, plot twists, and new worlds abound in this novel, causing a tour de force of amazing reading. The first book captures your attention and doesn’t let go. In much the way of Harry Potter, it makes you yearn for the next book to come out soon.What could hold this book back: The characters are slightly unbelievable. Will plays a 14-year old archeologist, with a knowledge and maturity not usually found in teenagers. What made Harry so popular was that he was a universal hero, Will doesn’t quite hold up to this standard.All in all, these three series provide proof that children’s literature will not falter completely without Harry around. Even though he’s graduated, we still have plenty of freshmen to fill the gaps in our hearts. And if they can’t fill the gap, then they’ll just have to make a space of their own.