This exciting installment pits Harry against inept politicians, cruel teachers, and his number-one foe, Voldemort, who is indeed back no matter what the Ministry says. Harry faces so many trials this challenging school year, many thanks to the new Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher and toad-like Ministry toadie, Dolores Umbridge. She seems determined to get that "liar" Harry Potter expelled, or almost worse, off the Gryffindor Quidditch team for good. Harry can't control his temper whenever the aptly named Umbridge is around. He also can't seem to control his own body and emotions, a development both fascinating and frightening. Harry has repetitive dreams of long hallways and locked doors, sudden bursts of feeling that aren't his, and a regular prickling sensation in his scar. He suspects his connection to Voldemort has grown stronger with his return and is proven right when, in his sleep, Harry witnesses -- and is unwittingly a part of -- a vicious attack. Readers will be worrying as Harry does just how deep the connection goes and who will get attacked next.
They'll have to wait a bit to uncover that mystery. The school year is a busy one in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, what with the first real exams looming, Harry's attempts at dating, and super-secret meetings of a Defense Against the Dark Arts club -- Hermione's brilliant idea. And then there are the Weasley twins' rebellious antics that provide one of the most satisfying cheer-out-loud moments of the entire series. If only Harry's fifth year could end on that high note, but when has a year at Hogwarts ever ended peaceably? The inevitable showdown is a nail-biter, and even more exciting because Harry's got a crew of friends along to fight with him – hooray for Neville, Luna, and Ginny. And in the wake of another tragic loss, it's finally time for Dumbledore to tell all he knows. It's a startling revelation that sets up the even more intense showdowns in the Harry Potter books to come. Get ready.