All right, time to just suck it up and write this thing.
No summaries from me, as just about everyone aboveground has heard of the boy wizard already. So straight to the big huge collective review of the whole she-bang.
I first got into this series when I was in third grade. I talked Mom into getting a copy of the second book and we would read it aloud before bed. I don't remember why we stopped, but I picked it back up a few months later (I still remember the exact page!) and finished where we left off. I had very little idea of what was supposed to be going on and absolutely no idea who was who, but that didn't stop me. I finished that book in two days and raved about it to anyone who would listen, and even a few who wouldn't. I was so excited about it that my grandmother got me the first book...or rather, my first copy of the first book...and I read that one in about a week. I could tell you so many stories about where I've read which books, when I got particular installments, and how many times I've read them all aloud with my brother. I'll just tell you that I was furious when my discount copy of Order of the Phoenix had a humongous misprint and I had to wait six months before I could get a new one to finish reading, and that I swore up and down that I wouldn't read a single one of the other six until I got number seven for myself--and ended up going a whole eighteen months without any of it!
This series was such a huge part of my childhood it's not even funny. Short of actually being in one of the movies (and don't think I didn't fantasize about that!), I don't see how it could have been a bigger part. The first thing that drew me in was how readable it was, and how exciting and funny and all sorts of wonderful stuff. It was pure entertainment. Now that I'm older, I can appreciate it even more. Ms. Rowling is far and away one of my heroes and biggest idols, and she'll always have my respect for letting me grow up with Harry, however corny that sounds. No shame in my game, friends!
And since I feel stupid when I think of how this review stacks up when I remember what Stephen freaking King wrote about these books, I'm just going to stop now. My heart was in the right place, and that's what counts.
Your humble book nerd,