HOOKED ON BOOKS: Trouble with magic school: You hate to graduate
Once upon a time, I fell in love with Harry Potter's magical world — especially its school of wizardry. Too soon, it was time to graduate from Hogwarts. Fun-filled as J.K. Rowling's books are, you can't keep re-reading them forever. Luckily, there are many other tales about worlds and schools of magic. To further your magical education, try these series:
Instead of an English boarding school, how about a home-study program in New York City?
In Diane Duane's 10-book Young Wizards series, starting with "So You Want to Be a Wizard" (1983), teen wizards Kit and Nita defend the universe from the ocean's depths to the far reaches of the galaxy in adventures that carry a strong emotional charge.
In four books by Emily Drake, starting with "The Magickers" (2001), a bullied boy named Jason attends a summer camp in California where talented kids train to use "magick" against monsters and bad guys. New Agey spirituality meets fantasy-world thrills and a touch of teen romance.
Gail Carriger's Finishing School quartet, starting with "Etiquette and Espionage" (2013), follows Miss Sophronia Temminick as she trains in ladylike manners and spycraft on a Steampunk airship. Adding magic to the curriculum are werewolves and vampires, but the exam will also cover weird science, fashion, romance and non-stop laughs.
Magisterium is a five-book series co-authored by Holly Black and Cassandra Clare, beginning with "The Iron Trial" (2012). It is also an underground school where young Callum struggles to understand his magical destiny. He is a fun main character who faces dark challenges.
Lev Grossman's Magician trilogy, starting with "The Magicians" (2009), inspired a recent TV series. On paper, it's a disturbing, grown-up story featuring a college of magic that's definitely no Hogwarts and a magical world like a dark Narnia.
Ursula K. Le Guin's six- or seven-book Earthsea cycle starts with "A Wizard of Earthsea" (1968), in which main character Ged leaves a school of wizardry on a journey of courage and sacrifice. For my money, Ged's island-chain world is as absorbing as J.R.R. Tolkien's Middle Earth, yet with an unequalled economy of words.
Henry H. Neff's Tapestry series, starting "The Hound of Rowan" (2007), brings a boy named Max to the Rowan Academy, where he is pulled into a magical war. Scary creatures, betrayals, hostage situations and the power of friendship are all on the lesson plan.
Children of the Red King
Opening Jenny Nimmo's eight-book series is "Midnight for Charlie Bone" (2002). When Charlie learns he is magically endowed, he transfers to the grim Bloor's Academy, where the nice kids are mistreated by other students and staff. Their adventures are aimed at younger readers who don't mind a little spookiness.
Terry Pratchett wrote 41 smart, hilarious Discworld novels between 1983 and 2015. Those featuring the absent-minded wizards of Unseen University include "The Color of Magic," "The Light Fantastic," "Sourcery," "Interesting Times," "The Last Continent" and "Unseen Academicals."
Caroline Stevermer's companion novels "A College of Magics" (1994) and "A Scholar of Magics" (2004) feature a French women's school called Greenlaw and the very British, male-only Glasscastle, where an ensemble cast shares intrigue, romance and snappy period dialogue.
E. Rose Sabin's four Arucadi novels start with "A School for Sorcery" (2002), in which students at the Simonton School focus on the ethics of magic and the responsible use of power. Moral dilemmas and sacrifices abound.
Angie Sage's seven-book Septimus Heap series starts with "Magyk" (2002) and depicts a wizard tower where a promising boy, the seventh son of a seventh son, trains as a sorcerer's apprentice. Ghosts, dragons and pirates also figure in the family-friendly fun.
N.D. Wilson's Ashtown Burials trilogy starts with "The Dragon's Tooth" (2011), revealing a secret community in Wisconsin that trains kids to fight immortal villains. Though not exactly a school of magic, Ashtown has a museum of magical artifacts and a zoo of monsters.