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The Casual Vacancy by J.K. Rowling This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

The Harry Potter novels are a worldwide ­phenomenon; virtually ­ubiquitous in pop-culture. The woman behind these ­intensely beloved fantasy novels, J.K. Rowling, is ­arguably a household name.

Now Rowling is back, ­releasing her first novel since the series ended in 2007. The Casual Vacancy is also her first adult novel. The book revolves around an idyllic English town called Pagford and the events that ensue after a local parish councilor dies, leaving a “casual vacancy.” Factions arise over deciding whether a local council estate, “The Fields” (a notoriously poor neighborhood) should ­remain part of Pagford.

The book focuses on the major players running for council, and their children who are harboring their own secrets. One particular focus is Krystal Weedon, a girl who lives in the Fields with her heroin-addicted mother. She dreams of escaping her traumatic life, and with the help of Barry Fairbrother, she joins the school's rowing team and tries to improve her situation.

The Casual Vacancy uncovers many grimy details hidden beneath a seemingly perfect English town. Rowling's novel explores sinister events on a different level than witchcraft and wizardry; instead, she focuses on social issues.

Each character's agendas are shown, as well as their greed and prejudices. No person is flawless, and thus is intensely relatable and authentic. Yet they each contain redeeming and sympathetic qualities so the reader will empathize with them.

Overall, The Casual ­Vacancy is a worthy read, blending social criticism and humor with nuance. However, it is quite long at 503 pages, and it's likely that many Harry Potter fans will be disappointed by the austere and often mundane world of local politics.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.





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MckayThis teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Apr. 8 at 3:14 pm:
Very detailed review. I just checked out this book from the library. I've started it. And already I can tell it's going to be amazing. It's my first J.K. Rowling novel that I will read. 
 
xenophilia replied...
Apr. 8 at 6:20 pm :
Thanks for the comment! Let me know how the book goes. I know people who loved it and others who found it dull.
 
MckayThis teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Apr. 9 at 1:20 pm :
I'll do my best. But yeah, i can't wait to read it. I'm sure I'll love it. I've only read the first 30 or so pages. And I'm loving it. rowling is so descriptive. 
 
MckayThis teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
today at 4:30 pm :
Just wanted to let you know that I finished the novel. And I love it. It is what a novel should be. Rowling is amazing.
 
xenophilia replied...
today at 9:21 pm :
I'm glad you liked it. You should check out the Harry Potter series too!
 
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