Or, recommend as a series that a Harry Potter fan might *also* enjoy? Similar themes or whatever.
My answer: The Obernewtyn Chronicles by Isobelle Carmody.
This is 'similar' to Harry in that:
It's a series where each book gets progressively darker and longer, and the characters get older.
There's 'magic'. But it's evolutionary magic, rather than random magic. (so, things like telekinesis).
The main character is a sort of 'chosen one', and there's an unknown 'anti' chosen one too, and a sense of evil. There's going to be a war between 'Good' and 'Evil', and the characters are preparing for that.
While part of Harry's appeal is 'it could be happening right now and we just don't know it' this one is set in the future so it 'could happen one day'. There's still the eerie element of 'realism'.
There's themes of good and evil and friendship and the mysteries about 'who is good, who is bad, is it what it seems?'
Ways in which it is different:
The main character is female.
It's aimed at young adults, rather than 'children' (I realise that the later books are aimed less at children) but is readable by adults still.
It's set in a post apocalyptic future, after a nuclear war. They live in a theocratic society where 'deviants' are burnt at the stake.
I feel it's a lot darker concept from the start.
There's a lot less random non sensical annoying angst.
There's no teachers, and no random magical items. I'm not saying this list is 'how it's *better* than Harry by the way. I quite like random magical items actually. Instead, she has crafted a futuristic society very well.
It's a series about a young girl (at first) who is in an orphanage because her parents were killed for being dissenters. She has a brother who she used to be close to but who isn't close to her anymore. She has evolutionary powers that she's hiding for fear of being Burnt. She's found out but instead of being Burnt she's sent to Obernewtyn, a research facility/farm, where there are many others who have powers as well. And then her adventures begin...