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The Search for the Magic Formula

Publishers courting the Harry Potter audience look for stories that straddle the commercial and literary divide and appeal to both adult and young adult readers. Here are some they're betting on.


'The Night Circus' by Erin Morgenstern

The Pitch: Elements of magic (like 'Harry Potter') combined with a forbidden-love story (like 'Twilight'), make this adult novel a likely hit with younger readers.

The Buzz: Summit Entertainment, the production company behind the 'Twilight' movies, has snapped up film rights.

'Daughter of Smoke and Bone' by Laini Taylor

The Pitch: An art student with electricblue hair (think 'The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo') who hangs out with half-human, half-animal creatures finds herself at the center of a supernatural war.

The Buzz: Little, Brown is planning a sizable first print run of 250,000 copies.

'Legend' by Marie Lu

The Pitch: A dystopian, futuristic trilogy (like 'The Hunger Games') set in 2130 Los Angeles. The author is an online-game maker.

The Buzz: CBS Films has optioned the book; publisher Putnam is planning a six-figure marketing blitz.

'Tempest' by Julie Cross

The Pitch: A young man with extraordinary abilities fights to save his girlfriend (echoes of 'Twilight') in this time-travel story.

The Buzz: Summit Entertainment has bought the film rights.

'Glow' by Amy Kathleen Ryan

The Pitch: Young lovers are torn apart in a battle between two spaceships of human colonists looking for a new habitable planet in this trilogy.

The Buzz: The trilogy sold to St. Martin's for a hefty six figures.

Hit Potential? It's got an epic struggle for survival and a teenage girl who might be humanity's savior (very "Hunger Games"). But it could get lost in the recent surge of dystopian young-adult fiction.

'Shadow of Night' by Deborah Harkness

The Pitch: Witches, vampires and demons in 16th-century London.

The Buzz: This novel picks up on the cliffhanger where the first book in this series, "A Discovery of Witches," left off.

Hit Potential? "A Discovery of Witches" was a national best seller; Warner Bros. picked up the film rights. Though the series is aimed at adults, the first book made major inroads with young-adult readers, winning raves from dozens of young-adult bloggers.

'Wonderstruck' by Brian Selznick

The Pitch: A new novel from the author of the best-selling illustrated book "The Invention of Hugo Cabret" centers on a boy who has been struck by lightning and sets off to New York City to find the father he has never met.

The Buzz: Scholastic is planning a big print run of 500,000 copies.

Hit Potential? Mr. Selznick is a proven seller and his audience will likely grow when the movie version of "Hugo Cabret," directed by Martin Scorsese, hits theaters in November.

'The Age of Miracles' by Karen Thompson Walker

The Pitch: In this debut by a Simon & Schuster editor, a girl's coming-of-age story unfolds during a geological disaster after a massive earthquake knocks Earth off its axis, slowing the passage of time.

The Buzz: Random House paid seven figures for the book.

Hit Potential? The coming-of-age tale with a dystopian backdrop could have crossover appeal for a young-adult audience. But it's a stand-alone novel aimed at adults, which makes it less likely to become a major franchise.

'Cinder' by Marissa Meyer

The Pitch: Cinderella is a cyborg in this futuristic take on the fairy tale, the first book in Ms. Meyer's planned "Lunar Chronicles" series.

The Buzz: The four-book series sold in a heated auction for a high six-figure price.

Hit Potential? The mash-up genre is full of hits and misses. Combining science fiction with classic fairy tales could hit multiple target audiences, or it could alienate all sides.


can't wait to download these tbh

also why has no one created an ontd writing comm? lol come on ppl get with it