Middle Grade Mania

I know we’ve all lamented the loss of Harry Potter. Buyers and bookstores especially. How will we ever make up for the phenomenon that was Harry Potter? I heard it every day for over a year. It was tiring. There will not be anything like Harry Potter again. Probably not in our lifetime. I guess you could argue for Twilight… but it’s just not the same.

As you know, I’ve been reading Harry Potter because I’m bored and lonely and I’m very nearly 26 and a best friend from high school is getting married this weekend and I don’t even have a … wah wah wah. Harry, Ron and Hermione (even Neville, Ginny and Luna) become shoulders I can count on in times of need. (I’m so super pathetic!)

I’m currently reading Order of the Phoenix right now, which is actually the first book I purchased of the series. Books 1-4 were out for a long time before my sister finally convinced me to pick up the books and start reading them. Incidentally, the release of Book 5 was the first book I worked during.

I remember the week leading up to the release. We had about a zillion boxes in our backroom, behind a thick heavy curtain (I think they got even crazier about securing the Potter books in later years) that we weren’t allowed to even look at.

Midnight the night of the release and the line of people was wrapped around the entire store. I worked in the cafe at the time and we didn’t see the end of the line (literally, we couldn’t see the last person on the line) until about 1:30 in the morning. We were all dressed up in our Potter finest, helping various wizards and witches (one guy in a full wizard costume plus mask who arrived on a motorcycle!) to their cafe lattes and oatmeal cookies. Just before we closed the tills, I was allowed to run out and purchase my copy of my pre-ordered (months and months and months before, of course!) Phoenix.

That night, I stayed up all night to finish the book. I didn’t put it down until I had reached the end. Same for 6 and same for 7, though for those, I wasn’t working at the store any more and instead was one of the crazy Potter maniacs waiting in line to buy my book. I stayed up all night to read each one. I believe for one of those later books, I had a friend from upstate New York come down to read through the night with me. I mean, we were serious about it.

And I miss that. I miss the anticipation. I miss the needing to stay up all night to finish because if you didn’t and you somehow made contact with the outside world before you finished, some idiot was going to ruin it for you. And, it was also just that good.

Don’t get me wrong. There are other really good middle grade books out there. It just really hit me today how much I miss the insanity of a good Harry Potter release.

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