What Book Will Fill Harry Potter Gap?

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The release of the last Harry Potter movie marks an end to a saga more than 10 years in the making. The first J.K. Rowling book was published in 1997. But the question of what young adult series will fill that void remains to be seen. Michele Norris talks to Judy Bulow, a book buyer at Tattered Cover Books in Denver, about what comes after the adventure of the boy wizard comes to an end.


It's been more than ten years since the adventures of the boy wizard Harry Potter hit bookshelves. Now, what series will have kids lining up at midnight at the bookstore and the box office?

To help us read the literary tea leaves, we're joined now by Judy Bulow. She's a book buyer at Tattered Cover Books in Denver, Colorado. Judy, thanks so much for being with us.

Ms. JUDY BULOW (Book Buyer, Tattered Cover Books): Thank you for having me.

NORRIS: What series could possibly fill the gap left behind by Harry Potter, or is there a series that's already starting to do that?

Ms. BULOW: Well, Harry Potter was such a phenomenon from the first book to the last movie, and the website that is now Pottermore. I don't think anything is going to fill that gap in that way for a while.

But there is a series called "The Hunger Games," which is for slightly older readers, and it's about a girl who must fight other kids her age for her own livelihood and for the livelihood of her family.

And it sounds like it's very violent. It is, but the way the author has written it, it works very well. There is a movie coming out of "The Hunger Games." It should be great. All of the Harry Potter movies were done with such quality, and I think "The Hunger Games" will also have that quality.

NORRIS: Is that important for a book to reach blockbuster status that it also capture the attention of Hollywood?

Ms. BULOW: Well, I think it is, but I've noticed that many Hollywood people kind of option a lot of movies that do or don't get made. There's one called "Before I Fall," which is Lauren Oliver. It's sort of a "Groundhog Day" for teens, where she is dying, but she kind of relives her day.

Or there is one called "If I Stay," which is about a girl who's in a coma, and she tries to decide whether she really wants to stay alive or whether she just wants to give up her life, which is not the ideal life. And those have both been optioned.

They're great books. I don't know if they'll be made into movies, but they would be wonderful movies.

NORRIS: If someone was just tuning in, I think they might be surprised to know that we're talking about young adult fiction. These movies are really dark.

Ms. BULOW: Yes, it's very dark. I think teens and the demographic we're talking about after Harry Potter really like the dark dystopia.

There is another wonderful book called "Divergent," and that is a book about a girl who is choosing one of five factions. She's in Chicago. It's the skeleton of its former self. It's in the future. She picks the most violent, the most risk-taking faction. And she sort of evolves as a girl hero because in this one, she wants to be better than the boy who's in it. And that's kind of a change from oh save me to I'm as good as you to I want to be the best.

NORRIS: Okay, we've seen wizards, witches, vampires seem to be everywhere right now. What's the next rage?

Ms. BULOW: Well, we've had the werewolves. We've had zombie books, but now we're sort of getting funny zombie books. Like there's one called "You Are So Undead To Me," which I think is funny.

(Soundbite of laughter)

Ms. BULOW: Because it's about a girl who counsels zombies so they can go to the grave. But I think now it's falling angels, shapeshifters into wolves and birds and sometimes into any animal they want to be, still more dark dystopian novels, still a few frothy girl novels. So there's kind of a extreme there. But I think we're into the shapeshifters now, and that's fine, and then also some very realistic books.

NORRIS: Judy Bulow, it's been a pleasure to talk to you. All the best to you. Thanks so much.

Ms. BULOW: Thank you.

NORRIS: That's Judy Bulow. She's a book buyer at Tattered Cover Books in Denver, Colorado.

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