Witch and Wizard

witchwizard_jamespattersonIn the book, Witch and Wizard by James Patterson, the government has been taken over by a group called the New Order. Laws have been passed that ban certain things like art and books. They are forbidden! In charge of this government is a person with the title of The One Who Is The One. Because of the new government ruled by The One Who Is The One, magic is banned.

Captured in the middle of the night, the Allgood siblings are arrested by the police from their parents. They have been accused for possessing magical abilities. Both of them are sentenced to be executed. Because they are still minors, they are taken to prison, where they discover a whole group of other kids like them. The siblings had no idea about their magical abilities, but as the story continues they practice and get more comfortable with it. After finding out their parents have been captured, they use their newly discovered power to break themselves out of prison. With an ending sure to surprise you, check out this book today!

James Patterson is a great author and I have read his Maximum Ride books. Knowing his great sense of writing, I expected Witch and Wizard to be just as great. The premise of the story was exciting, but as the story continued, it fell a little bit short of expectations. The plot had great potential, and the vast majority of it was executed all right. As the story continued and the protagonists discovered more and more of their powers, the plot left me wanting more. Overall, an okay book, but I strongly suggest it for people who are big fans of the magic genre.

-Anmol K.

Witch & Wizard is available for check out from the Mission Viejo Public Library, and Overdrive.

Owari no Serafu (Seraph of the End) by Takaya Kagami and Yamoto Yamamoto

Modern Japan (and the rest of the world) has been ravaged by a virus, leaving almost everyone above the age of twelve dead.

Monsters called the Four Horsemen of John have come into the world, eating humans they cross. Vampires, afraid that their food supply would be lost, have come out and made human children as their livestock.

Yu, Mika, and the rest of the children of the Hyakuya orphanage are livestock to vampires. This has been the case for four years: living in a city made by vampires that they can’t get out of. Yu hates it, but the person that he feels like is his brother, Mika, feels that by giving his blood, his family (the orphanage) can escape. Something goes terribly wrong in the plan, and Yu is the only one who escapes, vowing to get revenge.

Four years later, at the age of sixteen, Yu trains to be in the Japanese Imperial Demon Army, made up with Japan’s last humanity that fights the Vampires. But what if he meets new friends who can become his “family”, knowing that he is haunted by his past? And what happens when he gets a demon to wield, who tells him that he is not totally human?

This manga is wrapped in chaos, fear, and mystery, making it a very good plot to follow and keep readers on the edges of their seats. Additionally, there is a lot of unexpected comic relief, so this is not a serious manga like Attack on Titan usually is. The characters in this dystopia world seem very real, as though they were people the reader would know. Finally, the drawings are amazing; both action scenes and scenes of down time (school, suspenseful scenes, etc.) are well done and very thorough.

If anyone is looking for an action manga that is not too serious, this is one to read. However, although it can be found in Barnes & Noble, it can not be found in the Mission Viejo Library.

-Megan V., 10th grade

Burn for Burn Trilogy by Jenny Han

burnforburn_jennyhanBurn for Burn, Fire with Fire, and Ashes to Ashes, is a trilogy by Jenny Han. This series is about a fascinating turn of events that leave the readers feeling haunted inside.

In Burn for Burn there are three main characters: Kat, Lillia, and Mary. Kat and Lillia had a history of friendship with Rennie until one fine day, Rennie backstabbed (not literally!) Kat, causing their friendship to fall apart. Lillia is the “it” girl, best friends with Rennie, on the cheerleading team, and right in the middle of the popular group at their high school. Mary is traumatized from an event that occurred years ago in her childhood, for the very reason she has come back to Jar Island is for revenge. All three of the girls meet each other at the right place at the right time, and cook up a pot full for homecoming night, an event that shakes all and changes the lives of few.

In Fire with Fire, the girls serve time for their actions, causing them to regret the decisions they made months ago. Homecoming night hurt a lot of people, but it also critically damaged one of them–coincidentally it was Reeve, who tragically haunted Mary years ago. The girls just wanted to show the rest of the school Reeve’s bad side, but things happened that night that weren’t planned. They’ve gotten away with it for now… but Mary needs to control her anger and it seems like she just can’t.

In the last novel of this trilogy, Ashes to Ashes, Lillia, Kat, and Mary lit a fire without even thinking. Their goal was to get even, but now the fire is spreading. In this last book, a huge plot twist comes our way, and I am talking amazingly enormous. Out of all of the books I have read throughout my life, the plot twist that the readers come to find out in the last book of this trilogy is the best most surprising twist I have ever read.

I would definitely recommend this series to any girl because it starts out as a normal high school novel, but really turns into something you never expected, and its just really interesting to see how the characters progress throughout the couple of years. Absolutely on the top of my list for my best reads.

-Nirmeet B.

Jenny Han’s trilogy and her other works are available for check out from the Mission Viejo Public Library, Overdrive, and Axis360

Inspire a Passion for Reading

We all love to read. And as a Senior Girl Scout, deciding what to base my Gold Award project on was a no-brainer: reading. The Gold Award is the highest level of achievement in Girl Scouts—the equivalent of reaching Eagle Scout in Boy Scouts. For my project, I wanted to take my love of reading and expand the opportunities reading has for children. With the help of my take action team, I created children’s library programs that provided working parents with a free and safe place for their children after-school.

Through my project I was able to share my love of reading with kids from our community. I am so glad that I was able to use my passion to inspire others. I can say on behalf of all the volunteers who participated in my project that teaching children to read was an invaluable experience. Completing my Gold Award has taught me to be a thoughtful leader by listening to the ideas of others on my team. I also learned what it must be like for librarians and teachers to see the joy and understanding on a child’s face. It is truly incredible to be a part of their journey learning to read and experimenting with different genres and ways of reading.

Now that I have completed my project, I definitely recommend teens in our community to create their own ways of encouraging reading. Get creative! Maybe just by writing a blog about how you wish to promote reading, someone will be inspired to do the same. If we all share our experiences and our thoughts on the importance of reading, I am certain that we will have an impact in our community. Interview a teacher or a librarian—they are some of the best examples of how teaching children to read benefits them in the future. Research the facts showing the impact that reading has on the lives of children. Whether or not you choose to take action, I hope that my review of my experience will inspire others to join me encouraging reading. Together we can share our love of books with the people around us. But don’t forget to educate and inspire others to follow your lead!

I encourage you to think about ways you can use your love of reading to benefit others. Whether it’s on a local, national, or global level, your ideas can inspire and motivate people to take action. Please leave me a comment telling me what ideas you have for spreading the love of reading and some ways you think we can accomplish it together!

-Kelsey H.

The Incredible Charlotte Sycamore by Kate Maddision

incrediblecharlotte_katemaddisonThe sixteen-year-old daughter of Queen Victoria’s surgeon should be a mild-mannered and polite. That is what everyone in Her Majesty court’s thinks. Even so, Charlotte Sycamore has a price on her head and labeled the Robin Hood Surgeon for stealing medicine for the poor. One day, she is bitten by rabid dogs but not just any type of dogs. Mechanical dogs. Then starts the race against time to find a cure for this disease and the master of the dogs.

The Incredible Charlotte Sycamore is classified as an alternative history and steampunk story. It was this fact that instantly drew me to the story. There is a love story, which I think was not very well combined with the main conflict. The love story does take away some of the excitement presented in the book. One good thing is it does contain a very strong female main character, who goes beyond the norms of a “Victorian heroine”. This fact adds a lot to the story. Most of the story seems to have the theme of Charlotte trying to decide what she should do with her life. It is a choose between following her heart or conforming to the court. In her heart, she wants to be wild and free but the court expects her to marry who they choose and lead a quiet life. There are moments where Charlottes makes decisions that do not lead to great results and she learns from them.

To give this book a score, it would be 8/10. There could have been some changes that could have positively added to the story’s plot but overall it is still a very good read. I would recommend it to those trying to find a good steampunk novel.

– Sarah J.,

Made For You by Melissa Marr

madeforyou_melissamarrMade For You is a book that grabbed my attention right away and didn’t let it go until the end. It wasn’t necessarily the best book I’ve ever read, but it one was of the better ones in a while. This being said I really don’t know how to describe it. Its components are similar to a lot of teen books; romance with a hint of mystery. The thing that really garbed my attention though, was the darker nature of the plot. At the end of the second chapter the main character, Eva, has already had an attempt made on her life by someone know only as Judge. It was this chapter that really made me want to continue reading, his motivation for the murder attempt is what I found really intriguing, in fact his thoughts throughout the book were what I found most inserting. In my opinion Judge is easily the stronger character in the book, and my personal favorite, not because I was rooting for him to succeed but because I thought he was extremely well written and one of the more interesting characters out of a lot of books I’ve read.

But enough about Judge for now, it’s what happens after Eva walks up from his murder attempt that things start to get weird. Eva wakes in the hospital with the ability to see people’s death’s when the touch her. It is because I of this plot point that I have a hard time describing this book. This power, if you want to call it that, is very interesting and a driving force behind the plot. I thought it was very well thought out with limitations and other flaws that made it more believable. Except for one thing, we never really find out were the power came from. We find out it’s flaws and how it works, but not once is the source of the power mentioned.. As much as I loved this book, and I really did, this was a huge problem for me. I loved the story, and as mentioned early Judge’s character was very interesting, but I really feel like this was an attempt to add fantasy twist to what was other wise a book that bordered on realistic fiction that fell a little short of the goal. Honesty for a while I thought that maybe the whole thing was just in Eva’s head, or that maybe the hit and run had activated some kind of dormant magical ability, but at the end of the book I still didn’t have an answer.

Now this doesn’t mean that Made For You isn’t worth the read, I really think it is, I just think it has some flaws that should have been addressed. As a whole though the plot is very interesting, the characters and unique and three-dimensional with interesting motivates driving their actions, and a very interesting reveal at the end of the book pertaining to Judge’s identity, all of which make this a very solid read. One thing to keep in mind is since one of the driving points of the plot is an attempted murder their is some violence that may make younger readers uncomfortable, but high-school aged readers (and mature middle-school readers) probably won’t have a problem with it, as their are only a few short scenes. If you are looking for something that isn’t quite like anything else then I highly recommend giving Made For You a read.

Made For You is available for check out from the Mission Viejo Public Library.

Flyte by Angie Sage

flyte_angiesageThis sequel to the first book in the Septimus Heap series begins with a new foe that seems strangely familiar… ***SPOILER ALERT IF YOU HAVEN’T READ THE FIRST BOOK***  Boy 412, or Septimus Heap, as Aunt Zelda helped him to discover, is living a normal life as Marcia’s apprentice, or as normal as a wizard can get. Then one day, on a day that Marcia gives him to spend as he likes, he decides to visit Jenna in the Palace. Then suddenly Simon Heap appears and kidnaps Jenna! And, nobody will believe Septimus that Simon has kidnapped Jenna, making it difficult for him to do anything. How will he be able to get Jenna back? What does Simon want with her? That, until you read the book, is a secret that only the readers know.

I loved Flyte just as much as I loved Magyk. The escapades of Septimus and Jenna always are able to make me laugh, and those of a new(ish) character too, Beetle. Beetle is a worker at the Manuscriptorium, a place where they keep books and other things. He became friends with Septimus after they discovered their common interest in Magyk. Beetle is a bit weird, but that’s another reason that I like him. And, he has more in store for him in the five books to come (currently available in the library).

New character aside, there’s lots of other things that I like about Flyte. It has a lot more Magyk than in the first book, a big plus for me. It also links a lot of new stuff back to the first book, like a hidden room in the castle that might have something to do with Aunt Zelda’s cottage (hint, hint). I would give this book a 10 out of 10 because it’s an awesome book and because Angie Sage did a great job of bringing her characters back for a brand new adventure.

Flyte is available for check out from the Mission Viejo Public Library