My son is now 9 and began reading the Spiderwick Chronicles when they were first published. He has now read all five. They are good independent reading for him - exciting, fantastic, about boys his own age - but much shorter than Harry Potter (which he also loves but can't read independently yet). Jared is a good character with realistic flaws. He is very angry about his parents' divorce, and he acts out at school, but he finds ways to be successful and discovers himself in the process. These books are also on tape - at least one is read by Mark Hamill, which thrilled my Star Wars fan. We listened after we read them.