And There Were None Review by Agatha Christie

andthentherewerenone_agathachristieAnd Then There Were None is a mystery novel written by acclaimed author Agatha Christie. It is widely considered the greatest mystery novel of all time and was published in 1939. The setting takes place on Soldier Island, a mysterious place off the coast of Devon. Ten people are invited to the island, which has only one building, a mansion, and they soon realize that one of them is the killer.

I know what you’re thinking, that this kind of story has been done a million times before and is nothing special, but this is the original. Christie was the first to come up with this concept, and all others were inspired by her work.

The characters are all very different and are easy to distinguish, so you won’t be forgetting who’s who. I noticed how complex and flawed each character is, which is a really good thing for a mystery because anybody can be the killer. They’re all crazy in their own ways, yet are all sane. For a while, Christie uses the method of jumping back and forth between characters’ perspectives, and at first this seemed like an issue, especially since we could hear their thoughts. It’s not. We get an understanding of each character’s psyche, yet we don’t really get any hints as to who’s the killer. Each character is suspicious at some point in the story, some more than others, but you can never be too sure. A small twist at the beginning heightens the tension even more.

The pacing is phenomenal as well. It starts out slow and calm as each character is being introduced, and as secrets begin to unravel and characters begin to die off, the tension rises. The suspense makes this a real page-turner, and by the second half your eyes will be glued to the pages trying to figure out who it is. And as hard as you try to find out, once it is revealed you’ll be in a state of absolute shock.

All in all, And Then There Were None is the epitome of what a great mystery should be. It’s got compelling and suspicious characters, a fantastic atmosphere, and is very suspenseful. Anybody who is looking for a tense, suspenseful mystery should look no further than And Then There Were None.

-Ahmed H., Grade 11

And Then There Were None is available to check out from the Mission Viejo Public Library and Overdrive

Nanatsu no Taizai (The Seven Deadly Sins) by Nakaba Suzuki

7deadlysins_nabakaIn a far off land modeled after early England, humans coexist with fairies and giants. One of the kingdoms of this land is called Lioness where really powerful humans called holy knights protect the land and everyone in it.
Elizabeth is the third princess of this kingdom. She has run away because the holy knights secretly rebelled and took over the kingdom, putting the king and the rest of the royal family in prison. Her only hope are the Seven Deadly Sins: a group of seven very powerful people rumored to defeat holy knights. Problem is, they’re supposedly wanted criminals who haven’t been seen in public for ten years.
That’s when Elizabeth runs into a bartender who looks like a kid and a talking pig named Hawk. It turns out that the bartender is Meliodas, the dragon’s sin of wrath and the captain of the Seven Deadly Sins, who is also looking for the other Sins after they got split up ten years ago. He offers to help her, and the journey starts a change in the country. But the biggest mystery is why Meliodas or any of the Seven Deadly Sins haven’t aged for the past ten years.
really liked this series! It’s a still continuing manga of about 120 chapters and still has a long way to go, but I’m sure anyone would stay for the ride since it’s very good. Seven Deadly Sins is very comical with its humorous cast of characters and funny behavior. For example, there is a fairy who smells like flowers, a guy whose food looks good but tastes absolutely horrible, and a talking pig who is the chief of leftovers.
This series also has a very good plot. Plots twists and cliffhangers are always guaranteed and they put you on the edge of your seat and wanting more. For those who like romance, there are many heartfelt/comical couples in the series that many would totally support for. And finally, there is the understanding and compassion for the Sins when they are put down by others through the misunderstandings that are dramatic irony to us.
I encourage you to read this series!
-Megan V.

Looking For Alaska by John Green

lookingforalaska_johngreenI was so excited to get my hands on this book! I had heard such great things about it for a couple of years now, so I couldn’t wait to start reading. However, I was not as thrilled with this book as I had hoped to be. I know this will be controversial because many people loved this book, but I really did not connect with the characters or the story in the way I thought I would.

So here’s a quick summary of the book: *WARNING THIS DOES CONTAIN SPOILERS* Miles, a high school junior, leaves Florida to attend a boarding school in Alabama. There he meets and befriends his roommate “The Colonel” and his friends Takumi and Alaska. As time goes on, Miles falls in love with the spontaneous, rebellious Alaska despite the fact that she has a boyfriend and that people tell him crazy stories about her. Miles becomes caught up in the Colonel’s pranks, games, drinking, and drugs and he realizes that this is the “Great Perhaps” he was searching for. One night towards the end of the book, Miles and Alaska kiss and fall asleep in her room. But a phone call in the middle of the night wakes Alaska and she goes hysterical screaming that she has to leave. So Miles (nicknamed Pudge by the Colonel) help her escape unnoticed by the deacon of the school. The next day they find out that Alaska was killed in a car accident on her way to wherever she was going the night before. Pudge and the Colonel are miserable blaming themselves for her death. Pudge decides to investigate the reason behind her leaving and whether or not her death was an accident or a suicide. The book ends with Pudge forgiving Alaska for dying-suicide or not- and writing a school paper about the “way out of the labyrinth” as Alaska had asked her classmates before her death.

I liked how Green portrayed raw qualities of teenagers rather than the perfect good students in most books. The main character falls in love with an emotionally unstable girl-that’s not something every book does. I still thought it was a good book; there were just some things that bothered me. For instance, I did not like the actual plot of the story because it felt like there was no purpose to the events. Prank after prank you feel, as the reader, that something big is going to happen, but when it happens it doesn’t bring closure, instead it brought disappointment. I also really did not like how the entire second half of the book is Pudge’s depression over losing Alaska and his inability to do anything about it. Only the very end of the book brings closure to the story. And yet still, after finishing the book I felt as though Pudge’s story was insignificant. And maybe that was the point, I can see how Green might have had a greater point that I missed. Regardless I wasn’t the biggest fan of this book. There could have been more to it-more characters, major events, something pleasing to the reader.

I still praise John Green as an author because I loved Paper Towns and The Fault in Our Stars but this is not on my top ten books list unfortunately. Feel free to leave a comment about what you thought of this book!

-Kelsey H

Looking for Alaska is available for check out from the Mission Viejo Public Library, Overdrive, and Axis360

The Looking Glass Wars by Frank Beddor

lookingglasswars_frankbeddorHave you ever wondered if Wonderland in Lewis Carroll’s book, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass was real? In Frank Beddor’s book, The Looking Glass Wars, it is. Alyss Heart is the princess of Wonderland with her mother, Queen Genevieve, and her father, King Nolan. Queen Genevieve is the supporter of White Imagination and has a bodyguard by the name of Hatter Madigan. This story begins with the royal family and the Wonderlanders celebrating Alyss’ seventh birthday. The Queen foretells that Alyss will be the strongest queen of Wonderland because of her powerful imagination. During the party Alyss’ friend, Dodge Anders, takes her out of the palace and takes her to a lake called “The Pool of Tears.” Dodge says that if a person jumps into the pool, he will go into another world, which is our world, but no one has ever returned.

After arriving back to the party, Alyss sees a cat running into the main hall where everyone was. It suddenly turns into a ferocious Cat and heralds the arrival of Redd Hearts, Queen Genevieve’s sister and Alyss’ aunt. An army of her card soldiers destroys Alyss’ home and the Queen’s general Doppelgänger and Hatter jump into action to fight against the enemy. In all the fighting Alyss sees her mother imagining weapons to battle the card soldiers around her. Her mother gives an order to Hatter to get Alyss away from the horrid battle. Hatter takes Alyss to the Pool of Tears and jump into the lake before Redd’s assassins can reach them. In the water Alyss loses Hatter’s hand before arriving to our world, leaving him to search for the princess and find a way back to Wonderland. Will she be able to ever get back? Also, will Hatter be able to find Alyss? To find out, read this wonderful story.

I truly loved this book. It was a page turner and I couldn’t stop reading. Everything about the book was amazing, the plot, the characters, ans the suspense. This is a trilogy and the next book is Seeing Redd. I really hope you will read this book!

-Samantha S.

The Looking Glass Wars is available for check out from the Mission Viejo Public Library and Overdrive

My Playlist for Mandatory Readings

A mix of all sort of songs to make those mandatory readings a little less terrible.

Top 100 : 

  • Good For You Selena Gomez feat. A$AP Rocky
  • Photograph Ed Sheeran
  • Honey I’m Good Andy Grammer 
  • Stitches Shawn Mendes 
  • Renegades X Ambassadors
  • Burning House Cam
  • Like I’m Gonna Lose You Meghan Trainor Feat. John Legend
  • Bad Blood Taylor Swift 
  • Like I Can Sam Smith
  • Love Me Like You Do Ellie Goulding 

My Random Picks: 

  • Hold Me Down Halsey
  • Girl Almighty One Direction 
  • Reflection Fifth Harmony 
  • Black Magic Little Mix 
  • Single Ladies Beyonce 
  • Hold Back the River James Bay
  • Style Taylor Swift 
  • House Party Sam Hunt
  • Just Saying 5 Seconds Of Summer 
  • 18 5 Seconds Of Summer 

Country: 

  • Fly Maddie & Tae 
  • Take Your Time Sam Hunt 
  • Girl Crush Little Big Town 
  • Crash My Party Luke Bryan 
  • Tonight Looks Good On You Jason Aldean 
  • Sangria Blake Sheldon
  • I Got the Boy Jana Kramer 
  • My Mistake Cam
  • Kick the Dust Up Luke Bryan 
  • Biscuits Kacey Musgraves

Alternative:

  • Uma Thurman Fall Out Boy 
  • Ex’s & Oh’s Ellie King
  • Bright Ecosmith
  • Let It Go James Bay 
  • This Is Gospel Panic! At the Disco
  • Work Song Hozier 
  • Sugar, We’re Going Down Fall Out Boy 
  • Mr. Brightside The Killers 
  • Teenagers My Chemical Romance 
  • Ghost Halsey 

Broadway:

  • Revolting Children Matilda 
  • Naughty Matilda 
  • Omigod You Guys  Legally Blonde 
  • Seasons of Love Rent 
  • You Can’t Stop The Beat Hairspray
  • Falling Slowly Once
  • Everybody Say Yeah Kinky Boots 
  • Live In Living Color Catch Me If You Can 
  • Good Riddance American Idiot 
  • Don’t Rain On My Parade Funny Girl 

Disney Songs: 

  • Belle Beauty and the Beast 
  • Under The Sea The Little Mermaid 
  • When Will My Life Begin Tangled 
  • For the First Time in Forever Frozen
  • I Just Can’t Wait To Be King The Lion King 
  • The Morning Report The Lion King 
  • Work Song Cinderella 
  • Bare Necessities The Jungle Book 
  • We Rock Camp Rock 
  • Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious Marry Poppins 

If you have anything you would like me to create a playlist for or additional genres you would like my picks for leave a comment down below!

– Shelby B., Grade 11

I am the Messenger by Marcus Zusak

iamthemessenger_markuszusakHave any of you read The Book Thief? Marcus Zusak’s novel about World War II? I recently found that Zusak had written another novel, by the name of I am the Messenger. Having enjoyed The Book Thief, I decided to try this new book out.

I was not disappointed.

This novel follows Ed Kennedy and the mysterious cards he receives in the mail. Sent all over town to help various people, Ed must help each person with whatever is ailing them, whether it be loneliness, preaching to an empty church, sibling rivalries, etc. The list goes on and on.

What I liked best about this book was the end, of course. On the surface, this is a very simple novel, with each new card like its own short story. Readers get to know Ed and his town in more detail. But not until the end does there really seem to be a point to the whole story. I was not even reading this book for an English class, but for once, the theme of a novel was staring me in the face.

I think this novel would make a great movie. There are so many scenes that I would just love to see in a movie. I do not normally like the movies better than their novels, but I feel that in this case I just might.

I would recommend this book for anyone over 13. However, I would caution that some scenes in the book are not ‘G’ rated because of their mature content. I feel that The Book Thief was a better novel, but I am the Messenger gives the reader a lot of food for thought about the type of life one chooses to lead.

– Leila S., 9th Grade

I Am the Messenger is available for check out from the Mission Viejo Public Library

All Fall Down by Ally Carter

allfalldown_allycarterThe mystery novel, All Fall Down by Ally Carter, tells the story of sixteen-year-old Grace Blakely. Unfortunately, Grace’s mother died three years ago in an disastrous accident when her antique shop caught on fire. Grace was with her mother that night and she believes that a man with a scar shot her mother. Nobody wants to believe Grace, which makes Grace even more determined to find him.

Grace doesn’t see much of her older brother or father because they both are in the military and move around a lot. Before her mother’s death, Grace would spend her summers with her grandfather. Her grandfather is the American ambassador and he lives in Adria with other ambassadors from all over the world in Embassy Row.

Back at Embassy Row, Grace is haunted by the recurring nightmare of her Mother being murdered. Her grandfather and her brother’s friend, Alexei, try to convince her, but she refuses to believe them. Haunted and determined, she befriends Noah, Megan and Rosie, who are all children of ambassadors, in hopes to track down the man with the scar. Join Grace to see what actually happened that night.

Although Grace was emotionally troubled, she was a great character. Liking her determination and refusal to believe other people that her mother died in a fire, I also I found the concept of the different embassies very intriguing. The idea of having characters from all over the world made it very interesting. Personally, I would recommend it to anybody who is a fan of a good mystery novel. With a cliff-hanger ending, I am sure to read the sequel coming next year!

-Anmol K.

All Fall Down is available for check out from the Mission Viejo Public Library and Overdrive.