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As his fifth year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry approaches, 15-year-old Harry Potter is in full-blown adolescence, complete with regular outbursts of rage, a nearly debilitating crush, and the blooming of a powerful sense of rebellion. It's been yet another infuriating and boring summer with the despicable Dursleys, this time with minimal contact from our hero's non-Muggle friends from school. Harry is feeling especially edgy at the lack of news from the magic world, wondering when the freshly revived evil Lord Voldemort will strike. Returning to Hogwarts will be a relief...or will it?
The fifth book in J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter series follows the darkest year yet for our young wizard, who finds himself knocked down a peg or three after the events of last year. Somehow, over the summer, gossip (usually traced back to the magic world's newspaper, the Daily Prophet) has turned Harry's tragic and heroic encounter with Voldemort at the Triwizard Tournament into an excuse to ridicule and discount the teen. Even Professor Dumbledore, headmaster of the school, has come under scrutiny by the Ministry of Magic, which refuses to officially acknowledge the terrifying truth: that Voldemort is back. Enter a particularly loathsome new character: the toad-like and simpering ("hem, hem") Dolores Umbridge, senior undersecretary to the Minister of Magic, who takes over the vacant position of Defense Against Dark Arts teacher--and in no time manages to become the High Inquisitor of Hogwarts, as well. Life isn't getting any easier for Harry Potter. With an overwhelming course load as the fifth years prepare for their Ordinary Wizarding Levels examinations (O.W.L.s), devastating changes in the Gryffindor Quidditch team lineup, vivid dreams about long hallways and closed doors, and increasing pain in his lightning-shaped scar, Harry's resilience is sorely tested.
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, more than any of the four previous novels in the series, is a coming-of-age story. Harry faces the thorny transition into adulthood, when adult heroes are revealed to be fallible, and matters that seemed black and white suddenly come out in shades of gray. Gone is the wide-eyed innocent, the whiz kid of Philosopher's Stone. Here we have an adolescent who's sometimes sullen, often confused (especially about girls), and always self-questioning. Confronting death again, as well as a startling prophecy, Harry ends his year at Hogwarts exhausted and pensive. Readers, on the other hand, will be energized as they enter yet again the long waiting period for the next title in the marvelous, magical series. (Ages 9 and older) --Emilie Coulter
Grade all levels-The boy with the thunderbolt scar is back, and while he's bravely showing his magical might, he's also succumbing to some very human emotions. J.K. Rowling's fifth book (Scholastic, 2003) is not only bigger than the previous ones, it's better. Harry is now a feisty, sometimes frustrated, 15-year-old with his usual cohort of loyal friends and a new nemesis from the Ministry of Magic. Though the young wizard is fearful when it comes to dating, he's recklessly courageous combating his old enemy, Voldemort. Rowling has carefully combined dexterous detail with bursts of heart-pounding action to create a finely-textured story. Award-winning narrator Jim Dale does a superb job of making both the romping humor and the riveting danger feel three dimensional. Now thoroughly at home with the horde from Hogwart's, Dale is equally adept at creating this book's new and distinctive characters. Even those who've read all of the novel's 870 pages will be richly rewarded by listening to this exceptional recording; and every library should have the cassettes and/or the CDs for them to borrow.
Barbara Wysocki, Cora J. Belden Library, Rocky Hill, CT
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.