A photo of some buildings in silhouette against a dusky blue sky with a sign saying 'Hogwarts' next to a lamp

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Knights of the Borrowed Dark by Dave Rudden (2016)

The first book in a brand new series following Denizen Hardwick, an orphan who spends his life reading fantasy books only to discover his own role at the heart of an ancient fantastical battle between good and evil.  This gripping read, blending the real world with fantasy, ticks all the boxes for lovers of Harry Potter while giving readers a more streetwise hero.  This is a gripping and witty read which also packs an emotional punch with a satisfying twist. A great next-level series for fans of the original boy wizard.  

Recommended reading age: 9-11 years old

The Crooked Sixpence by Jennifer Bell (2016)

Imagine if the Diagon Ally of Harry Potter’s London wasn’t just one street, but the start of an entire underground city. Siblings Ivy and Seb are thrown into a dangerous adventure when their beloved grandma becomes ill and they have to race to uncover a family mystery while navigating their way through a shadowy version of London – Lundinor – the capital ruled by Cockney law. This is the first in a new trilogy introducing young readers to a quirky world where ordinary objects behave in unnerving and extraordinary ways.

Recommended reading age: 9-11 years old

Magisterium: The Bronze Key by Holly Black & Cassandra Clare (2016)

The third book in the Magisterium series takes readers back to the underground school where mages train talented apprentices to control the elements. With the heroes, Callum, Tamara, and Aaron now in their third year, The Bronze Key keeps up the page-turning suspense, while dwelling on the problem of power and who wields it. The series continues to satisfy the gap left by Hogwarts while giving a fresh take on trainee wizards.  

Recommended reading age: 9-11 years old

Earthsea: The First Four Books by Ursula K. Le Guin (1968)

A classic series from one of the greatest fantasy storytellers. Unlike the blended world of Harry Potter where characters move between the real and fantastic (or muggle and wizarding worlds), Earthsea is an entire fantasy land in the style of J. R. R. Tolkien’s Middle-earth. These books introduce us to dragon lord Ged as he begins his journey from a humble village boy to become the most famous wizard of his age.

Recommended reading age: 9-11 years old

Furthermore by Tahereh Mafi (2016)

A funny and beautifully told modern-day fairy tale which follows impulsive and brave Alice as she navigates the enchanted world of Furthermore to find her father. It will satisfy any insatiable reader who loves getting to grips with magic-based fantasies. There’s a nice twist where the almost albino Alice is powerless in a world where colour is king, which drives a life-affirming message for young people: the importance of appreciating people’s differences and accepting everyone.

Recommended reading age: 9-12 years old

Daughter of the Deep by Rick Riordan (2021)

Harding-Pencroft Academy is where all the best marine scientists, naval warriors, navigators, and underwater explorers go. And similar to beloved Hogwarts, the students are sorted into one of four main houses; Dolphin, Shark, Cephalopod, and Orca. Ana Dakkar is in her freshman year at HP and the prefect of House Dolphin. She also lost her parents a couple of years ago following a disastrous scientific expedition, so HP is the only home she and her brother Dev have. It’s now the end of the school year, and Ana and her class are sent on a top weekend trial at sea. But on the bus ride to their ship, the students witness a terrible tragedy that sets into motion a series of events that will change their lives forever...

Recommended reading age: 9-11 years old

The Worst Witch by Jill Murphy (1974)

Before there was Hogwarts and Harry Potter, there was Miss Cackle’s Academy and Mildred Hubble. But Mildred is no Hermione Granger. She’s the exact opposite actually; more akin to Neville Longbottom. No matter how hard she tries, Mildred just can’t seem to master magic. She conjures her spells incorrectly, she’s always crashing her broomstick, and her potions never turn out right. After a particularly catastrophic incident during the Halloween festival, it appears Mildred’s days are numbered at the Miss Cackle’s. But when she unwittingly stumbles across an evil plan being made by a group of witches, Mildred might be the academy’s only hope.

Recommended reading age: 7-10 years old

The Soul Hunters by Chris Bradford (2021)

Just as Harry Potter is inexplicably thrust into the ultimate battle, schoolgirl Genna Adams finds herself in a similar situation. Genna is off to see her friend Mei’s parents’ exhibition at their local museum. But a chilling encounter with a stranger called Damien sees Genna leave early only to be attacked by him and a hooded gang later on in the park. Luckily, a kind stranger called Phoenix saves her and she’s is able to get away. But that’s not the last she’ll see of Damien. A week later, Genna is kidnapped so Phoenix is back once again to save her. It's only then that he reveals Damien is after Genna’s soul. Soon, Genna finds herself racing across time to not only save herself but the rest of the world.

Recommended reading age: 9-12 years old

The Edge Chronicles 1: The Curse of the Gloamglozer by Paul Stewart & Chris Riddell (2001)

Fans of fantasy universes like Harry Potter will love The Edge Chronicles series by Paul Stewart and Chris Riddell. Set in a fictional world known as The Edge, the series covers a 600-year period and features a whole cast of characters and creepy creatures, all superbly illustrated by Riddell. In The Curse of the Gloamglozer, 14-year-old Quint Verginix is the son of famous sky pirate Wind Jackal. Quint has always dreamed of following in his father’s footsteps, so when he’s sent to the floating city of Sanctaphrax to be an apprentice to the Most High Academe, Linius Pallitax, he’s not pleased. But whilst there, Quint discovers that Linius is harbouring a terrible secret. Will Quint be able to save Sanctaphrax?

Recommended reading age: 9-11 years old

Murder Most Unladylike by Robin Stevens

A lot of Harry Potter’s magic came from Hogwarts itself and this clever whodunnit series introduces us to another brilliantly atmospheric boarding school. This time it’s the 1930s and our sleuths Daisy Wells and Hazel Wong are racing the police to investigate a murder. This page-turner also shows us to charismatic heroes in a believable friendship – with all the highs and lows that might entail. Young readers will be drawn to the emotional drama as much as the never-ending suspense.

Recommended reading age: 9-11 years old

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