Summer Bird Blue by Akemi Dawn Bowman

Summer Bird Blue by Akemi Dawn Bowman is about 17-year old Rumi Seto who is trying to navigate her life after her younger sister, Lea, dies in a tragic accident. Rumi and her Mom were in the car too, but they were fortunate enough to survive. Struck dumbfounded by this, Rumi’s Mom sends her to Hawaii to live with her aunt. This is difficult for Rumi because she was so used to having her sister by her side, and being apart from her Mother while grieving causes her to feel lots of angst. In addition to mourning the lost of her sister, Rumi feels abandoned by her Mother.

In Hawaii, her two closes allies happened to be both her neighbors: Kai, the boy of her age who enjoys surfing immensely and is very optimistic, and Mr. George Watanabe, an eighty-year-old man who has been dealing with his own demons. With Lea, Rumi would spend all her time writing and creating music. Music kept them grounded and connected; with Lea gone, music is difficult for Rumi. In Hawaii, Rumi connects back to music slowly, which ultimately takes her to connecting with Lea.

Even though this book seemed too thick initially, every page is its own painting of emotion. Bowman’s ability to pack so much emotion and feeling is incredulous. It is difficult to write about or express the grieving process, but the way Rumi is portrayed and written about, one can relate to her loss and the extent to what she is facing. In one word, the book can be described as raw. I would recommend this for anybody who is willing to invest themselves and their feelings into a story.

-Anmol K.

Summer Bird Blue by Akemi Dawn Bowman is available for checkout from the Mission Viejo Library

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J. K. Rowling

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, known as Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone in certain countries, is the first book in J. K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series. The book is about a young boy named Harry, who lives with his abusive relatives, but one day, a giant named Hagrid arrives, telling Harry that he’s a wizard an celebrity. Hagrid introduces Harry to the magical world and other magical sites in London, like Diagon Alley and The Leaky Cauldron.

At Hogwarts, a school for magic, Harry befriends Ron, his first friend ever, and the book-worm Hermione. As Harry is beginning to adapt to his new magical life, he becomes stuck in the middle of a mystery: a magical object has been transferred to Hogwarts’s dungeons, and Harry and his friends believe that someone is trying to steal it. As the school year progresses, Harry struggles to deal with his past, and he his friends face countless of challenges as they try to solve the mystery; they fight a troll, see a mysterious figure in the woods, and play chess on a gargantuan, animated chess board.

In conclusion, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone is a great beginning for the Harry Potter series. The book is an interesting novel to read, and its sequels only get better.

-Josh N. 

The Harry Potter series by J. K. Rowling is available for checkout from the Mission Viejo Library.

Golden Son by Pierce Brown

Recently, I read Golden Son written by Pierce Brown. I really enjoyed this book and I am currently reading the third book in the series. The story is set in the future, when mankind has evolved. Now, humans are split into different levels, based off of the color of their skin. The story takes place right after Red Rising and still follows Darrow. He is getting closer and closer to his goal. In this novel, Darrow is having trouble getting the golds to start a civil war.

I chose this excellent book for many reasons. Overall, the book is well written. It has a good mix of action and suspense. One thing I liked about Golden Son was the relationship between Darrow and the Belonna family. Going off of the first book, Darrow and Cassius still have a vendetta.  One of my favorite parts of the book was when Cassius and Darrow finally meet after two years. Darrow challenges Cassius to a duel, and of course Cassius accepts. Cassius is known for being good at dueling, so he is over confident. At first, Darrow acts very bad at dueling, building up Cassius’s confidence. Then, Darrow pulls out all of his tricks. He tells Cassius that he has been training everyday for this moment. He easily beats Cassius, cutting off his arm, and starting a civil war, starting his goal. Overall, I would rate this book nine out of ten, and would recommend this to any middle-schoolers and up.

-Daniel C.

Golden Son by Pierce Brown is available for checkout from the Mission Viejo Library. It can also be downloaded for free from Overdrive

Smoke, Fog and Haze

This short free write is based on a writing prompt I saw online. The prompt is not mine, but the writing is. Write about not being able to see ahead of you.

My attempts to find a shred of light in the dark abyss were in vain. There was nothing but emptiness and everything was covered in a drab grey blanket. Every direction I turned there seemed to be a dense cloud, trapping me, confining me. My other senses were heightened in place of my impaired vision, but I wish they hadn’t. They intensified my fear. My eardrums tingled at the whistling wind that entwined itself in the creaking tree branches and my arms prickled at the slightest kiss of the chilling evening air. Darkness wrapped itself around my body and placed a tight blindfold over my frantic eyes.

I looked down at my feet, or at least I tried. I wiggled my toes, just making sure they were still there even if I couldn’t see them. Every day I had counted on my trustworthy feet to carry me exactly where I needed to go, but today was different. They didn’t know where to go. It was almost like the GPS in my feet were shut down, like my toes had lost their sense of direction, like my heels were permanently glued to the ground. The thick, smokey world around me shackled my feet to fear and uncertainty. Ironically, taking a leap of faith into the abyss was my only option.

Outstretching my frozen hands, I waved into the void and found emptiness. Each swipe into the nothingness looming before me brought another wave of chills that ran down my back. With a sharp intake of cold breath, I drew up the courage to place one foot in front of me. The dry earth beneath me crunched with a magnificent sound that seemed to echo around me. I gritted my teeth and forced myself to take the next step. Breath by breath and step by step, I teetered my way down the road.

After awhile, pitch black darkness still hindered my sight and all I could hear was my jagged breath. It seemed that I had been trekking for hours and miles, but with the blackness clouding the path behind me, it was hard to tell how far I had actually walked. By now, fear had stopped pulsing through my veins and exhaustion seeped into my bones. The adrenaline that had rushed through my body earlier tired me. My eyelids felt so heavy, but closing them was no different than holding them open and somehow, holding them open made me feel a little braver. Each step required more energy than the last and my arms slowly stopped waving in front of my body. The very feet that carried me this far wanted so desperately to give up. Through the smoke, fog and haze, I felt more hopeless and alone than ever.

-Jessica T.

Spirit of Love

A Tale of Two Cities is a historical novel written by Charles Dickens. The story happened in England and France since 1775 which occurs during a period of social unrest and turbulence. The forces that lead to the French revolution, clash with a group of people in England and lead to their fates irreversibly intertwined. The novel focuses on the resurrection through the setting of the French revolution. Thereinto, “Recalled to life” , the most significant part in each book, presents a prominent tale of resurrection. 

Lucie’s love renewed the spirit of Dr. Manette and her maternal of her necklace reinforces this notion of resurrection. Dr. Manette feels the warmth of home and the sense of security because of the existence of Lucie. As Lucie says, “If you hear in my voice any resemblance to a voice that once was sweet music in your ears, weep for it! If you touch, in touching my hair, anything that recalls a beloved head that lay on your breast when you were young and free, weep for it!” (Lucie, 54). In every detail of Lucie’s existence, she embodies compassion, love and virtue. Lucie can always gather her family together. Dr. Manette experiences the resurrection which he finds his memories through his daughter. He treats his daughter’s happiness as the most important thing in the world.

-Xiaoyu Z.

A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens is available for checkout from the Mission Viejo Library. It can also be downloaded for free from Overdrive

 

A Death in the Family by James Agee

Image result for a death in the family james agee

Personally, I would say that this is definitely a book that I didn’t hate about the reading list I have to go through for school. It captures the authentic emotions of the main character, Rufus, who had to confront his father’s death. But as a very little kid, Rufus doesn’t really know much about what it means to die and how feels like to have someone intimate to you die. Therefore, the author does an amazing job at portraying the internal thinking processes of the characters.

Moreover, what I really loved about this book was the focus of religion. Unlike some of the other novels, delineating Christianity and God as deities that cannot be offended or questioned, this novel, on the other hand, exemplifies characters who don’t believe, or even curse the reality of religion and hold a suspicious attitude toward the existence of Jesus.

Lastly, the detailed expression of the characters’, especially Mary, Rufus’ mother. She was generally seen as a feminine character who takes very good care of Jay, her husband, and the two children. However, when the breadwinner of the family dies, she was forced to confront the harshness of reality and be both the father and the mother to her children. Similarly, this reflects an aspect of our modern society where women can be psychologically strong and support their children even without the help of men in cases of divorce, death, and others where the male influence is missing.

-Coreen C. 

A Death in the Family by James Agee is available for checkout from the Mission Viejo Library

The Adventure Zone: Here There be Gerblins By The McElroy Family

The Adventure Zone: Here There Be Gerblins is truly the definition of a good graphic novel. This graphic novel is written by Dungeons and Dragon’s loving family, the McElroys. This graphic novel features three very well developed characters. Taako the elf wizard, Merle the dwarf cleric, and Magnus the human fighter. Join these three lovable dummies and their dungeon master, Griffin McElroy as they go on an amazing, absolutely hilarious fantasy journey! Just be aware though, this is an adult fiction graphic novel, so there will some swearing in it. Even though there is swearing in this graphic novel, it doesn’t make any less funnier.

This novel very much excited me when I first saw it. I had just finished the library’s monthly Dungeons and Dragons game, and was hyped when I gazed open this magnificent D&D novel. I had never thought there would be a D&D book, even better a graphic novel! For all D&D fans, this is an essential to read. The story sucks you in and doesn’t let go until you finish reading! To bad the book is pretty short. But make sure to look out for the sequel, Murder on the Rockport Limited! Thanks for reading.

-Brandon D.

The Adventure Zone: Here There Be Gerblins is available for checkout from the Mission Viejo Library