Confession No. 1: I didn’t wait in line at midnight on July 15 to get my copy of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. I waited, on Saturday morning, for Grandma to show up with a copy for my family.
Then the race was on.
First, I had to beat my own children to the book (yes, the one their grandma bought for them). Then I raced the clock to finish the book before the weekend was over. I cranked up the air conditioning and found a comfy, quiet spot and let the magic take over.
I love Harry Potter, I love getting lost in these books, I love feeling like I am part of this magical world. I especially love that so many kids, including mine, are reading this series. It is so great to see kids sitting with a 600- or 700-page book in their hands when no one told them they had to.
And I loved this new book. But Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, the sixth in the series, is heavy on explanation and background information and light on fun.
We learn a lot about Tom Riddle and his past and how he became Lord Voldemort. We also learn about the Half-Blood Prince and how he helped Harry get through this year at school. But we don’t get enough time with all the other characters. I missed the lighter side of everyday life at Hogwarts. I missed Neville and Seamus. And I really missed Hagrid, who for some reason is hardly in this book.
Harry and his friends are growing up. Life is becoming more serious. Decisions are being made that will affect their future. Most importantly, Harry, Hermione and Ron have a greater understanding of what lies ahead in their battle to save the wizarding world.
A note to parents: Bookstores recommend this book for kids ages 9 to 12. But I would not recommend that any child come to this book without reading the others. This is not a stand-alone book. You won’t get it if you start with this one. If parents have any concerns about the book’s intensity, they really should read it together with their children.
And this book is intense—but it is also full of magic. I wish I had a magic wand so I could read the next book now. I don’t want to wait.
Confession No. 2: I didn’t do any laundry or any dishes all weekend—I read. And when I got to the end, I cried. Sandi Pedersen Tween Books columnist