Her Story: Ladies In Literature with Lauren Magaziner

Her Story: Ladies In Literature is a special, month-long series on Pop! Goes The Reader in which we celebrate the literary female role models whose stories have inspired and empowered us since time immemorial. From Harriet M. Welsch to Anne Shirley, Becky Bloomwood to Hermione Granger, Her Story: Ladies In Literature is a series created for women, by women as thirty-nine authors answer the question: “Who’s your heroine?” You can find a complete list of the participants and their scheduled guest post dates Here!

About Lauren Magaziner

Lauren Magaziner is the author of humorous middle grade books: Pilfer Academy (2016), The Only Thing Worse Than Witches (2014), and the upcoming Wizardmatch (2017), all published with Penguin Books for Young Readers. She is a proud graduate of Hamilton College and spent two years working in the magazine world (a serendipitous job considering her last name). Lauren is originally from New Hope, Pennsylvania, though she currently resides in Brooklyn, New York, where she writes full-time.

Author Links: WebsiteTwitterInstagramFacebookGoodreads

Hermione Granger is my jam.

“But Lauren,” you’re probably saying to yourself, “literally every human in the world loves Hermione”.

“Come on, Lauren,” you say, “how could you be so unoriginally dullfully monotonous in your blog post choice?”

“Seriously, Lauren,” you say, “there’s nothing you can say about Hermione that someone else hasn’t already said a thousand times.”

Then you pelt tomatoes at me. Which is cool because I love free groceries, thanks.

It’s like this: everyone knows the story of Hermione, the little smartypants that could. She is unabashedly, unapologetically smart. She is the real hero of the story — she saves Harry and Ron’s sorry butts every single time. And they barely even thank her for it.

But Hermione herself isn’t what inspires me — it’s her growth.

Let’s start from the beginning: I picked up Harry Potter And The Sorcerer’s Stone when I was 8 years old. I was 100% the target audience for the book, solidly middle grade, and part of what I like to call “The Harry Potter Generation.” The books came out once every year — or once every two years, when we got to the later ones. And by the time the Deathly Hallows came out, I was 17 — Hermione Granger’s exact age.

So not only did I get to witness a character grow over time, but I also got to change with her. She starts off as bookish and intelligent-beyond-her-years. But somewhere during the course of series — with more life experience — Hermione becomes different. She learns about the world she’s inherited: one with racism, classism, slavery, hate. And Hermione Freaking Granger DOES NOT ACCEPT THAT. And herein lies what is so fantastic about Hermione Granger — and the thing that nobody really talks about: she is an activist.

We see how much Harry and Ron make fun of SPEW, since the book filters through Harry’s lens. But despite the terrible acronym acumen, there is nothing to laugh at here. Hermione sees inequality, and she steps up to change it. That’s more than any other character in the series can say. She is loud, smart, and just as bold as she was in her early years, but now with the goal of changing the world. She will accept nothing less than complete and total equality, and that is something to admire, not scoff at (*looking at you, Harry and Ron*).

With the upcoming election in the United States and with all the turmoil that’s been happening in my country — and my world — lately, Hermione has been on my mind more often than not. I’ve been told that authors should stay out of “politics” on social media, lest one alienates a potential reader. “Talk less, smile more,” to quote Aaron Burr in the hit musical Hamilton.

But then I think of Hermione Granger, who didn’t give a hippogriff’s tailfeather what people thought of her, so long as she was standing up for the right thing. Hermione — with her house-elf activism and her unyielding championship for equal rights — gives me the bravery to tweet, Facebook, and shout from the rooftops of my Brooklyn apartment about sexism, homophobia, racism, and public health and safety issues. After all, peace and equality aren’t “political” issues — they’re universal human rights issues.

Even my writing, lately, touches upon the ideals of equality that Hermione held so dear (see my third book!). Since my teens, Hermione has been inspiring me to become active and engaged, and so I’ll debate, I’ll write, I’ll dream my way into a better future. I’ll do it for as long as it takes — for forever.

And like my girl, I’m going to work hard, even when the Harrys and Rons of the world tell me that one person’s efforts don’t matter — and that no one person can change the system.

Like Hermione, I won’t give up. We are Gryffindors, hear us roar!

Title Pilfer Academy
Author Lauren Magaziner
Pages 272 Pages
Intended Target Audience Middle Grade
Genre Humor, Absurd, School, Thieves
Published February 16th, 2016 by Dial Books
Find It On GoodreadsAmazon.comChaptersThe Book Depository

Fans of Spy SchoolEscape From Mr. Lemencello’s Library and Roald Dahl will gobble up this hilarious story about a secret boarding school for thieves-in-training!

Troublemaking George has never heard of Pilfer Academy, a top-secret school for cultivating young crooks, until he’s kidnapped as its newest student. The teachers are kooky at best, and naughty does not even begin to describe his sneaky, smart, and morally bankrupt new classmates. Between disguise classes, cracking safes, and DIY gadgets, George becomes an expert bandit and finds true friendship with Tabitha, his new partner-in-crime. But everything is ruined when George comes to a shocking realization: He is just too good-hearted to be a thief! 

Unfortunately, not thieving is not an option at Pilfer Academy, and “misbehaving” students face Dean Deanbugle’s favorite punishment — the Whirlyblerg! In order to gain their freedom, George and Tabitha must pull the biggest heist the school has ever seen and reveal their true colors not as thieves, but as kind (and, okay, mischievous) kids.

3 Responses

  1. I love this post so, so much! It’s a wonderful tribute to Hermione Granger, who is a female character I love and admire and find incredibly inspiring.

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Hi! I’m Jen! I’m a thirty-something introvert who loves nothing more than the cozy comfort of home and snuggling my two rescue cats, Pepper and Pancakes. I also enjoy running, jigsaw puzzles, baking and everything Disney. Few things bring me more joy than helping a reader find the right book for them!