Book Review: Casual Vacancy

From Young Adult to Adult Fiction, J.K. Rowling’s Casual Vacancy, Book Review
by Kathryn Sinde

When you hear J.K. Rowling’s name you immediately think of Harry Potter – the series that made Rowling famous.  Her new work, Casual Vacancy, Rowling’s first foray into the world of writing for adults, could not be more different than the Harry Potter series.  For those that absolutely love Harry Potter, this might not be the book for you–there are no magical elements to be found in this very real, grounded book.  It should be noted that this book is written for adults; there are some heavy topics within the novel. But, Rowling handles these topics in a subtle way that they are not too much to handle for the reader.e Rowling famous.  Her new work, Casual Vacancy, is a drastic departure from Hogwarts and the adventures of Harry Potter.

Rowling effortlessly captures the everyday life of her characters.  Within the first opening pages, you’re immediately engrossed in the lives of the main characters.  She describes with great, yet simple details that paint the story’s scene. You can’t help but relate to these characters because they are described as if they could be your neighbor down the street or one of your friend’s parents. Because of this, you find yourself unable to walk away from the novel: you want to see how they’re going to handle the novel’s sudden tragedy.  Rowling is very direct in this novel–not sugarcoating any of the heavy topics.

This book is a must read for English students because it’s a good way to see how an author can transition from one style of writing to another. Creative writing majors should definitely check this out because Casual Vacancy is Rowling’s successful transition from young adult genre of Harry Potter to mature, adult fiction.  For those studying literature, it’s also a must read because of the way that Rowling handles the heavy topics of death, drug use, and family dysfunction. Rowling does an outstanding job of building the tension within the opening pages that makes it impossible not to see where this novel is going to take the reader.

About the writer:
Kathryn is a junior English major from the small town of Hampshire, IL.  She writes because she feels it cleanses the soul and finds it easier to express feelings through writing than with actions.  In her free time, Kathryn is a huge Michael Phelps fan and has seen almost every single Mark Wahlberg movie.


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