This week for Teen Book Talk, our reviewer writes about the newly-released Harry Potter book (which is a play, told years after Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows), Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. 

(There is currently a very long hold list for the book through Alameda County Libraries, but we do own copies in our Lucky Day collections. Check back frequently to see if you’ll be one of the lucky ones to snag a copy for checkout!)

Teen reviewers select which titles and movies they’d like to review, and opinions are their own. **Teens use a scale of 1-5 stars, with one star being poor and five stars being excellent, for their reviews**

Neha H., Teen Reviewer

cursed childBook Title: Harry Potter and the Cursed Child
Authors: J.K. Rowling, John Tiffany, and Jack Thorne
Book Format: Script
Year of Publication: 2016
Likely Appeals to: All Potterheads; need to have read Goblet of Fire and Deathly Hallows
Rating: 3.5 stars

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, the highly anticipated eighth installment in the Potter universe, picks up nineteen years after the Battle of Hogwarts, and deals with time‐travel in a groundbreaking way that was never previously explored in the series. The story brings back many fan‐favorites (both living and dead) and introduces two more young heroes: Albus Severus Potter and Scorpius Malfoy ‐‐ the sons of Harry and his former arch‐rival Draco, respectively.

Despite proclaiming itself to be a new, original story, Cursed Child disappointingly borrows much of its storyline from Rowling’s previous installments. The play often relies on “shock‐factor” to keep the plot going, rather than rich detail and true emotional depth that is so characteristic of Rowling’s work. Also, the script noticeably lacks the familiar descriptive prose that distinguishes Rowling from the others, making the story difficult to visualize with only meager stage directions provided. Many of Cursed Child’s profound revelations about the wizarding world seem a bit too far‐fetched to be true, and are, at times, inconsistent with what was previously explained in the series. The beloved characters are portrayed as poor caricatures of themselves; Ron Weasley, for instance, is reduced from a loyal, crucial member of the Golden Trio to a trivial form of comic‐relief. As put by The Atlantic, “For all its compelling twists and turns, at many points [ Cursed Child] feels like reading well‐crafted fan fiction—the names are the same, and the characters feel familiar, but it’s apparent that they’re imitations nonetheless.”