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J.K. Rowling's 'The Casual Vacancy' May Shock Potter Loyalists

J.K. Rowling
Carl Court/AFP/Getty Images

With talk of sex and drugs, the British author's first adult novel marks a turn away from her family-friendly series about a boy wizard.

J.K. Rowling’s highly-anticipated new novel The Casual Vacancy, is set to hit stores on Thursday, and already, the book is at No. 3 on the Amazon best-seller list based on preorders.

But if fans are expecting a Harry Potter-like book, they're in for a shock: The Casual Vacancy features some similar Harry Potter themes, such as morality and mortality, but that is where the comparisons end. The adjectives, for example, are of a different sort.

It’s difficult to imagine the phrases “miraculously unguarded vagina” or "with an ache in his heart and in his balls" being found in the G-rated wizard novels, but they abound in The Casual Vacancy. In addition to the risque descriptions, many of the characters (teens especially) are troubled and one mother is a heroin addict.

The New Yorker called the description of one family, "ostentatiously unremitting: drugs, prostitution, the stink of diapers."

STORY: Cover Revealed for Rowling's Non-Potter Novel

“I had a lot of real-world material in me, believe you me,” Rowling tells The New Yorker "The thing about fantasy—there are certain things you just don’t do in fantasy. You don’t have sex near unicorns."

A good rule of thumb.

The 512-page book will be Rowling’s first since the seventh Harry Potter five years ago. Rowling acknowledges that her adult novel is earning buzz thanks to her wizard saga, but she isn’t worried about alienating the audience that grew up with those books.

"There is no part of me that feels that I represented myself as your children’s babysitter or their teacher," she told the magazine. "I was always, I think, completely honest. I’m a writer, and I will write what I want to write."