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Does It All End Here? Searching for Harry Potter's Successor

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Daniel Radcliffe as Harry Potter. Harry Potter and the Deathly Harrows 2 made $168.5 million in box office in the U.S. (Flickr user: JimmyMac210/flickr)

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2” raked in $158.4 million domestically over the weekend, breaking records which "The Dark Knight" had held, according to Warner Bros. Although the movie's world premiere was a moment that Hogwarts fans had long been waiting for, the film's opening also marks the end (until J.K. Rowling announces she's working on an eighth book) to the adventures of Harry Potter.

WNYC reached out to book publishers, teen lit reviewers and librarians to find out what new titles have the potential to grip readers of all ages, create mass appeal for movie-goers and deeply root themselves in popular culture a la "Harry Potter." Here's our list — strong-willed protagonists, magic, movie adaptations, teenage love and all:

"Divergent" by Veronica Roth At the age of 16, all the members of Beatrice Prior’s dystopian Chicago world must select one of five factions to which they will devote the rest of their lives. Caught between staying with her family and being her true self, Prior makes a surprising choice, and in her ensuing initiation must face questions about identity, loyalty and secrecy. Published by Katherine Tegen Books. Summit Entertainment picked up the film rights to “Divergent” this past spring. Learn more about Veronica Roth here.

"I Am Number Four" by Pittacus Lore Follow six alien teenagers as they hide out on Earth, attempting to escape an evil force bent on destroying them. The second book in the Lorien Legacies series, “The Power of Six” is due out in August. Published by Razor Bill. Dreamworks released “I Am Number Four” on the big screen earlier this year. The film, which was directed by D.J. Caruso (“Disturbia”) and produced by Michael Bay (“Transformers”), stars Alex Pettyfer and Dianna Agron of “Glee.”

hunger games"The Hunger Games" by Suzanne Collins Follow Katniss Everdeen through this three-part series as she competes in the Hunger Games, a grim game of survival that leaves all but one of its participants for dead. And there's love involved... Published by Scholastic. A film adaptation of the series is currently underway and set for release in March 2012. The film, starring Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson and Liam Hemsworth, is directed by Gary Ross (“Seabiscuit,” “Pleasantvile”). Learn more about Suzanne Collins here.

"Legend" by Marie Lu Fifteen-year-olds June and Day are both prodigies -- and enemies. But when June tries to avenge the murder of her brother, she and Day, the prime suspect and the world’s most wanted criminal, discover the truth behind their crossed paths and unravel a series of secrets about their society. “Legend” comes out in late November. Published by G.P. Putnam's Sons Books. A film adaptation is currently in development with CBS. Learn more about Marie Lu here.

"Matched" by Ally Condie Cassia lives in a world in which free will is essentially eliminated, and in which one’s job, love interest and even time of death are predetermined. When she discovers a glitch in this seamless society, however, she must choose between the "Society Officials" and her own fate. "Matched" was published in December and “Crossed,” the second book in this three-part futuristic romance, is set for release in November. Published by Dutton Books. A film adaptation is currently in development with Disney. Learn more about Ally Condie here.

"Shatter Me" by Tahere Mafi Mafi’s debut novel, which comes out in November, features a girl with a sinister touch — so sinister that she hasn't touched anyone in 264 days. Harper Teen describes the supernatural romance novel as a cross between “The Hunger Games” and “X-Men.” Published by HarperTeen Publishers. Twentieth Century Fox bought the movie rights to “Shatter Me” earlier this year. Learn more about Tahere Mafi, who is just 23 years old, here.

twilight"The Twilight Saga" by Stephenie Meyer Love, lust and blood-lust are all put into play in this against-all-odds romance story starring vampire Edward Cullen and his girl next door Bella Swan. Packed with tension between werewolves and vampires, and struggles between good and evil and mortal and immortal, Meyer’s series has been credited with kicking off the resurgent vampire and werewolf craze. Published by Little Brown & Co. This best-selling series has already topped box office figures with film adaptations of the first three books. The films’ star-studded cast includes Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson and Taylor Lautner. “Breaking Dawn: Part 1” will hit theaters on November 18. Learn more about Stephenie Meyer here.

"The 39 Clues Series" In this best-selling ten-book series, the Cahill siblings search for the 39 clues that guard their family’s power. Readers can partake in the search: in addition to the books, the series features 39 Clues card packs -- sold both with the books and separately -- and an online game. The series, which was written by a number of different authors also references figures from world history -- including Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Benjamin Franklin. Published by Scholastic. DreamWorks has acquired movie rights for The 39 Clues, and Steven Spielberg is in talks to direct the series’ big-screen adaptation.

"All Good Children" by Catherine Austen

"All Good Children" by Catherine Austen When an elite school starts medicating all of its students, Maxwell Connors, a teen prankster and graffiti artist, fights to keep from falling prey to the fate of his classmates. “All Good Children” hits the stands in October. Published by Orca Book Publishers. Learn more about Catherine Austen here.

"The Inheritance Cycle" by Christopher Paolini Follow Dragon Rider Eragon and his dragon Saphira as they battle forces of evil and tempt the fate of an entire civilization. The final book in this four-part series is due out in November. Paolini wrote the first draft of “Eragon,” the first book in the series, at 15 years old. Published by Random House. Fox 2000 released “Eragon” on the big screen back in 2006.

"Percy Jackson and the Olympians" by Rick Riordan When Percy Jackson is sent to Camp Half-Blood for the summer, he discovers that Poseidon, the mythological god of the sea, is his father. The series follows Jackson and his half-blood, demi-god friends as they divert war among the Greek gods and stave off mythological monsters, all within the landscape of a modern-day United States. Published by Percy Jackson Books. Earlier this year, Twentieth Century Fox released “The Lightning Thief,” a film adaptation of Riordan's first novel featuring Percy Jackson. The film was directed and produced by Christopher Columbus, who also directed the first two “Harry Potter” films. Learn more about Rick Riordan here.

Book recommendations were compiled thanks to Flamingnet teen lit reviewer Kelsey Mengle, the New York Public Library's Jeanne Lamb, Penguin Young Readers Group, HarperTeen and Orca Book Publishers.

Do you have a favorite book or series that you think will be the next "Harry Potter"? Let us know by posting a comment below.

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Comments [7]

ONLY THE OBVIOUS from LONDON

What people forget about Harry Potter is - J.K.ROWLING wrote a book for 7 year olds that was the first in a series that grew,developed and changed with the reader.

All the books listed jump in at the 'teen end' and tread water there.

Writers with an eye on Hollywood always start at this age because they know teenagers are the key demographic for cinema ticket sales.

(Publishers are desperate for Hollywood to buy the film rights - it shifts millions of copies of books.)

The Twilight Sage isn't a kids book. Neither is Hunger Games.

Harry potter starts as kids lit and broadens its appeal.

J.K Rowlings success is based on her wanting to WRITE a great kids series -her intention was never to create a cash cow. That happened by accident.

Hollywood take note.

Aug. 08 2012 10:54 AM
Kevin from San Diego

There's an incredible series lurking in the background. One day it will blow away all other contenders for the Potter throne. Check it out and spread the word - www.conorandthecrossworlds.com

Have to give a strong nod to Hunger Games, though, awesome concept.

Jul. 16 2011 01:11 PM
Dim from Oklahoma, USA

Nothing will ever, EVER take Harry Potter's place, so that's why everyone wants to find something not as good, but close enough. I'd say The Hunger Games, Legend, Divergent, Shatter Me, and Percy Jackson are very close contenders.

Jul. 15 2011 05:14 PM
Martha

The Hunger Games was a really great trilogy and alot more enjoyable to read than Harry Potter to me. It also had a very realistic ending in my opinion.

I think Legend has a good chance of taking Harry Potter's place as does any book Marie Lu sees fit to write. I read the advanced copy already and I'm madly inlove with the series.

Jul. 15 2011 03:38 PM
JacquelynJoan from LI, New York

The Mysterious Benedict Society. It has 3 in the series already and some very strong female characters. Exciting mystery, politics, adventure, action, etc. Encourages a love of learning, logic, courage, friendship. Shows that every person learns differently and excels at different things. Target age is 9-12, I think, but I read it as a 21 year old and loved it!

Jul. 15 2011 02:57 AM
Katie from Minnesota

I will put the ones I have read in the correct order :)

HUNGER GAMES -the best book series ever!
Harry Potter -second best series ever!
I Am Number Four
Matched
Percy Jackson

Jul. 14 2011 03:42 PM
Hannah

In all honesty, I don't think anything can ever match Harry Potter. It's simply too huge and intricate in detail. However, I haven't read a good number of the books on this list. Of the ones I have read, none of them come close.
The Hunger Games: Good trilogy with a fairly disappointing ending for me personally. I didn't like the main character (or many of the characters for that matter) so it fails in the that aspect.
Twilight: Enough said
I am Number Four: never read it, but it sounds like Twilight with Aliens plus it was written by that hack who wrote A Million Little Pieces and started a book slave driving company.
Inheritance: Didn't we stop hearing about this years ago? Is this still popular? The books were horrible and the movie was worse.
Percy Jackson: Was surprisingly good, but doesn't have the strength of Harry Potter. Also, the movie bombed.

And finally LEGEND: which I haven't read but am sooooo excited to. I think Legend has a great start already considering how popular Marie Lu is online at sites like deviantArt. I've read a book she posted online which also featured Day as a character (so I love him already :D).

Jul. 14 2011 03:00 PM

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