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The Casual Vacancy – What Are People Saying?

The Casual Vacancy hit shelves September 27, and a J.K. Rowling frenzy is upon us. People of course are comparing the Harry Potter series with her latest adult novel, and reviews are mixed.

But, what I really want to know is what do YOU think? The young adult blogging community is full of ardent Harry Potter fans, so I want to hear from YOU what your thoughts area bout J.K. Rowling’s already-infamous release.

If you haven’t read The Casual Vacancy, do you plan to?

What Critics are Saying About The Casual Vacancy

the casual vacancy j.k. rowling

If you’re still on the fence about reading J.K.’s sex and curse-filled novel, this is what some popular media sites are saying as well as our peers.

The average Amazon rating is 2.7 out of 5 stars (with 102 one-star reviews)

Notable quotes from Amazon reviewers:

  • “If you’re able to set aside the JK ROWLING of it all, you’ll love or hate this book on the strength of what it says about people.”
  • “book, you need to forget this is the same author who gave us Mr.Potter’s world of magic. This is set in a tiny English town and deals with politics,class struggle,poverty,drug use,child abuse,rape,self-mutilation, suicide, pedophilia,mental illness and other ugly realities.”
  • “This book was horrible. After a while, it went from being disturbing to just being ludicrous; does any novel have a larger cast of characters, none of whom have any depth other than loathsomeness of one kind or another? It’s one of those novels that I wouldn’t even want to donate to Goodwill.”

Notable quotes from Goodreads:

  • Nina from Elfswood said: “Look. If you’re going to read this just because it has JK Rowling’s name splattered on there, I strongly advise you to sit back, take a look at your computer screen, and read that book description. Does it sound like something you would enjoy? Does it attract you, in the least bit, at all?”
  • Natalyia said: “What I like most about this novel is that it’s basically a character study. There’s not that much plot, little action of any kind, and – *spoiler* – not that much resolution of existing conflicts by the end of the book. It is really just a sketch of a bit of small-town English society, quite nicely done.”
  • Mith from Mith’s Tumblr said: “However, unlike the Harry Potter books, this book will probably not be changing any lives any time soon (it certainly didn’t change mine), but I’m glad to have read it, nonetheless.(“

News Media Reviews

  • New York Times: “Unfortunately, the real-life world she has limned in these pages is so willfully banal, so depressingly clichéd that “The Casual Vacancy” is not only disappointing — it’s dull.”
  • The Guardian: “The Casual Vacancy is no masterpiece, but it’s not bad at all: intelligent, workmanlike, and often funny. I could imagine it doing well without any association to the Rowling brand, perhaps creeping into the Richard and Judy Book Club, or being made into a three-part TV serial.”
  • Kirkus Reviews: “A departure and a revelation, though the story is dark and doesn’t offer much in the way of redemption (or, for that matter, much in the way of laughs). Still, this Rowling person may have a career as a writer before her.”

Share your thoughts on The Casual Vacancy in the comments!

About Lisa Parkin

I'm a hardcore lover of young adult fiction and have been reviewing books since 2011. Other interests include Downton Abbey, heat lightning storms, Harry Potter land and (begrudingly) one orange tabby.
  • I made it 136 pages before deciding to set it aside. I’d like to finish it, but chances are I won’t. All I got out of those 136 pages was a lot of character introduction. Who knows how long that would have continued…

  • Jen

    My copy is on its way!

  • I want to read it. But, I think I’m going to put myself on the 200-person waiting list at my library rather than buy it out right. I’m not sure it’s something I’m going to enjoy and I don’t want to own it just because it’s JK Rowling.

  • Emilyann Girdner

    I am sad to hear it isn’t getting good reviews. It doesn’t sound like my area of interest, so I doubt will be reading it. Thanks for sharing.

    • I’m just asking questions I feel like a lot of readers will. Here’s to better Rowling books in the future!

  • Ems

    I’m reading it right now and I’m less than impressed. The magic of Rowling’s writing just isn’t there. I wasn’t expecting Harry Potter, but I was expecting her fantastic way with words to shine through. For me, it isn’t. It’s just another book than anyone could have written. I probably won’t finish. There’s nothing in it that’s making me feel invested or like I want to continue. What a letdown.