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Director Chris Columbus teams with Ned Vizzini to pen teen books

January 5, 2012 |  8:30 am

Chris Columbus with "Harry Potter" cast
Film director Chris Columbus couldn't get J.K. Rowling's books out of his head. The director of "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone" will write his own fantasy-adventure series for young adults. His co-author on the three-book series will be author Ned Vizzini, whose books include "It's Kind of a Funny Story." The Columbus-Vizzini series, "House of Secrets," will be published by HarperCollins.

In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Columbus explained:

The thing that Ned and I both wanted to do anything we can do to get kids back into reading and make it really, really fun. I’m not presumptuous enough to say, “We’re going to take over the Potter series,” but I got to see firsthand how that series affected kids and how it got so many hundreds of thousands of kids into reading. You hope for just a section of that in terms of being able to inspire kids to read. And that’s really one of the themes of the book – that reading is essential to your development as a child and as an eventual adult. That really has inspired us in moving forward. So I look at it primarily as working first and foremost as a novel.

Columbus, whose career took off after he wrote "Gremlins" and directed "Home Alone," has directed films of books from some of the biggest young adult authors. First he launched the Harry Potter series on screen with "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone" and "Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets," and later made "Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief," which was based on Rick Riordan's books. He's clearly done his young adult fantasy reading.

EW has a brief sketch of what to expect from "House of Secrets"

The Pagett kids had it all: loving parents, a big house in San Francisco, all the latest video games . . . But everything changed when their father lost his job as a result of an inexplicable transgression. Now the family is moving into Kristoff House, a mysterious place built nearly a century earlier by a troubled fantasy writer with a penchant for the occult. Suddenly the siblings find themselves launched on an epic journey into a mash-up world born of Kristoff’s dangerous imagination, to retrieve a dark book of untold power, uncover the Pagett family’s secret history and save their parents . . . and maybe even the world.

Ned Vizzini is the author of the young adult novels "It's Kind of a Funny Story," "Be More Chill," "Teen Angst? Naaah..." and "The Other Normals," coming out this fall.

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-- Carolyn Kellogg

Photo: Chris Columbus, right, on the set of "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone." Credit: Peter Mountain / Warner Bros.

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