December 2002
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Chamber of Secrets Book Review
By Eleni A., Grade 9, Fredericton High School, Fredericton, NB

Harry PotterHarry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
By J.K. Rowling
Raincoast Books, $10.95, 251 pages

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets follows Harry Potter and his two friends Ron and Hermione during their second year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.

J.K. Rowling is a British writer who brought Harry to life in a small cafe. The Chamber of Secrets is the second book in a series of four. J.K. Rowling's works have opened doors for fantasy writers all over as Harry Potter took kids by storm and re-introduced them to the world of books.

We first catch up with Harry as he is rescued by Ron in a flying car from his Muggle (non-magic) aunt and uncle who are furious with Harry for ruining a dinner party. Little do they know that it was Dobby the house-elf trying to prevent Harry from returning to Hogwarts who smashed dessert.

Harry spends the rest of the summer at the Weasley house, the Burrow, held together by magic. He, Ron and Ron's twin brothers are sent to de-gnome the garden for sneaking out to rescue Harry at night.

The Weasley home is very different from Harry's, with a talking mirror, a ghoul in the attic and 'Witching Hour' playing on the radio. And travelling by Floo Powder isn't one of Harry's favorite ways to travel after he ends up in Knockturn Alley where his school rival, Draco Malfoy, is selling Dark Arts equipment to a shop keeper to cover up his tracks if the Ministry of Magic should stop by.

Harry's troubles begin when he and Ron can't get through the barrier to platform 9 and 3/4 and decide to fly the car to Hogwarts. Not only do they get spotted by Muggles, but they also crash into the Whomping Willow, who doesn't like being hit.

As they settle back into their school routine, Harry starts hearing a disembodied voice that no one else does. Shortly after, Filch, the caretaker's cat is Petrified. When more students are attacked, Harry becomes a suspect and has to solve the mystery himself.

Excerpt from Chamber of Secrets:

"They heard the lock slide back and Hermione emerged, sobbing, her robes over her head.'What's up?' said Ron uncertainly. 'Have you still got Millicent's nose or something?' Hermione let her robes fall and Ron backed into the sink."

There are very few books that can be read over and over, but the Chamber of Secrets is one of them. Even if you know the ending, you'll be just as surprised as you were the first time. The book is cleverly misleading, and every time you hear the story, the truth is still shocking. It's such a great book that it should be bought to be savoured again and again.


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