Series: Book 2 of the Harry Potter series First Printing: June 2, 1999 (First American edition) Publisher: Arthur A. Levine Books
Synopsis from Goodreads: Harry's on summer break after completing his first year at the Hogwarts School for Witchcraft and Wizardry, and his aunt, uncle, and cousin are as mean as ever, trying at every turn to keep him from fulfilling his destiny as a wizard. Their efforts to prevent his return to Hogwarts are aided by an unknown force: a mysterious elf who shows up and warns Harry that he must never return to the school. Before departing, the elf performs a bit of mischievous magic that is blamed on Harry. As a result, Harry not only gets a stern warning from Hogwarts for using magic in the "real" world; he is also locked away by his aunt and uncle in a tiny closet beneath the stairs.
Harry is eventually rescued by his classmates and friends, the redheaded Weasleys, but getting back to Hogwarts still proves to be a challenge. When he finally does get there, his troubles quickly multiply. Someone has opened the door to the Chamber of Secrets, releasing a deadly monster with the power to kill. Several classmates turn up petrified, and in addition to trying to puzzle out who the culprit is, Harry finds himself a prime suspect. The truth lies down the end of a trail marked by a magical diary with invisible ink, a ghost who hides inside a toilet, a flying car, a pompous new teacher with a talent for hyperbole, and some ghastly giant spiders. When one of Harry's friends is imprisoned and another is turned to stone, Harry is forced to once again confront his archenemy, the Dark Wizard Voldemort, who has a whole new bag of nasty tricks up his sleeve.
I cannot say enough good things about the Harry Potter series! It has everything--adventure, mystery, fantasy, romance, humor--all the things I want in my books. J.K. Rowling does such a remarkable job of creating completely unique characters while at the same time keeping them so relatable. And what an imagination!
The thing I like the most about this book (and the previous one) is that it is still really lighthearted. Even though I really like the last ones in the series, they did become very dark and somewhat depressing. In the first ones, everything is still new and exciting and not as dramatic.
The other thing I love about this book is the way all of the characters end up connecting (in this book and the ones to come). Rowling doesn't just put interesting personalities in the books just for the fun of it. They have a purpose. I especially like Gilderoy Lockhart in the books for how silly and oblivious he is. Yet he still plays a major part in the story.
I gave this book (and all of the other ones in the series) 5 stars and would (and do) recommend reading them to anyone--kid and adult alike!