Magicians by Lev Grossman
Although this was recommended to me as a Harry Potter for adults, I found it to be a dark, coming of age story about a young New Yorker whose always dreamed his life could be as magical as his favorite childhood fantasy land called Fillory. On his way to an Ivy League college interview, a series of strange events leads Quentin to wander into a neglected community garden. Before he knows it, he has been transported to to a stately mansion and begins the entrance exam for the magical Brakebills College. After passing the various tests, the high school senior decides to forgo the rest of his regular high school education and college, and become a wizard-in-training at the exclusive Brakebills magically hidden in upstate New York.
Although this book was originally written for adults, older high school students may become entranced by the adventures of Quentin and his friends. You need to be warned that the novel is as much about a depressed and flawed teenager pushing his way towards adulthood as it is about magical training. I found Quentin Coldwater to be somewhat annoying, making lots of bad decisions and refusing to learn from his mistakes. The book, however, was a huge bestseller, and won one of the ten 2010 Alex Awards for books written for adults that have special appeal to young adults, ages 12 through 18. I would recommend this book to older teen readers interested in fantasy and novels about growing up.