Title: Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (Harry Potter #2)
Author: J.K. Rowling (do I really need to say?)
Publisher: Scholastic Paperbacks, 2002 (Reprint)
Genre: YA Fantasy, MG Fantasy
*Yes, we lost two members of our original Blogateers. Unfortunately, rereading Harry Potter isn’t for everyone. We have received some new members that will join us for future reviews (yay!), but at the time of this reading, it was simply Megan, Jodie, Tiff, and I, and we did it still TOGETHER, and that’s all that matters! Needless to say (but I’ll say it anyway), there will be no spotlight feature on this one as the member whose turn it was dropped out and is no longer a Blogateer.
Back to our normally scheduled programming!
Yes. That’s the copy I had, and I found it at my used bookstore. It matched my Sorcerer’s Stone edition, so I stuck with it. And now I come to learn that they only made two of the covers in this edition, so now my later books won’t match. Lovely.
And I am not going to cite spoilers, because if you haven’t read Harry Potter, whose fault is that? That’s on you. I’ll not ruin this book, but I will obviously be continuing from book one, as it’s the second book in the series, people!
Harry wasn’t exactly welcomed back with open arms from the Dursleys after his first year at Hogwart’s School. His friends haven’t written him and he’s sulking, waiting for school to start. This is where we meet the infamous Dobby, the house elf that meddles in Harry’s life to protect him, all the while actually putting him in danger.
Harry realizes that Dobby has been keeping his mail from him in hopes that he won’t want to return to Hogwarts. Since that hasn’t deterred him, Dobby gets Harry in trouble and he is on major lockdown. He can’t go anywhere because Mr. Dursley has barred his window shut.
This is also where the infamous flying car comes into play.
Ron realizes what’s happened and “rescues” Harry for the rest of the summer. This is not the only time we see the awesome flying Ford Anglia. After Harry tries to return with Ron to school, it makes another appearance. They both try to cross into the Platform to the Wizarding World, but the gate closes and Ron and Harry decide to fly to school so they don’t get into trouble.
Obviously, since the car was modified to fly, it has some problems, and when they arrive, they crash into what they find out later is a Whomping Willow.
Yeah, they don’t receive the warmest welcome, and the car disappears into the woods. They don’t get expelled but Harry must spend time with the new Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher, the famous Gilderoy Lockhart. The man is a menance and knows more about shameless self-promotion than anyone.
He seems to latch onto Harry, because Harry’s notoriety helps his own. He’s a peach. And he seems completely inept. The usual chaos that ensues only with Harry continues until they learn of a Chamber of Secrets. In the school. And of course, being the curious trio that they are, Ron, Hermoine, and Harry try to learn more about this Chamber.
Oh, and Harry starts hearing voices, which as Hermoine explains, hearing voices, even in the Wizarding world, isn’t a good sign. So Harry keeps this knowledge to himself.
Stuff really hits the fan when, during a fun little dueling club, Harry is faced with a snake 🐍 and tells it to leave his dueling partner alone. Oh, Harry can talk to snakes! He’s apparently what’s known as a “Parselmouth,” which basically means someone who can talk to snakes. But there’s only been one other Parselmouth, and it’s the big bad V, or “he who shall not be named.”
Harry’s popularity dips after that.
And apparently…the Chamber of Secrets that they’ve been researching? Well, it’s open. And the students are in danger.
Always. Harry Potter is a classic in the classroom. However, if the students haven’t read book one, it could be confusing to use book two as a lesson plan. So for the rest of the series, it really would just be an extension of book one. And that’s really not necessary if you can use book one. The whole series is wonderful, but it just doesn’t make sense to skip around and use different books…but if for some reason book two is the one you really want to use, then at least it is the closest to book one.
So technically you could get away with book two, as it does still explain some backstory…but the rest of them should be used for outside reading only, to keep the students from being confused or overwhelmed with material they may not know.
Though it would seem we all have read Harry Potter, I have learned from reviewing book one that some people haven’t read the books or seen the movies. (I know, right?)
So Lexile must’ve figured that ages on the second book don’t matter, because all that’s listed is the score, which is 940L. Still almost the same as the first book, with a slightly higher number than the first book. This simply implies there might be slightly tougher vocabulary in this book, as well as longer sentence and paragraph length. The first book was suggested for as young as 9, and the series is thought to be middle grade. Now that Harry is 11, I still find it appropriate for middle school readers. I think if your reader can handle book one, they can definitely handle book two. Easiest way to measure the appropriateness of the book: if they’ve already started the series, then it makes logical sense to encourage the reader to continue. If they haven’t, please see my review of book one, where I clearly suggest that it is appropriate for readers of all ages.
So I give Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets…★★★★☆ for classroom use. Or…
This book really started to raise the stakes. We are no longer meeting Harry and getting to know him: he has acclimated to being a Wizard and we are seeing that Harry will always have more than a mundane life. He will always be in trouble. He is bound to be our hero, and Ron/Hermione his accomplices. The adventures are beginning and the true plot is developing into a true series. This is why Harry Potter is a modern classic.
How can I give Harry Potter anything less than ★★★★★? I can’t. It just won’t happen (except possibly one book but I’ll get to that one when I review it).
I’ll leave you with this….