My Favorite Fictional Characters!

Sodapop Curtis from The Outsiders: After I finished reading the book (The Outsiders), I was absolutely obsessed with it! I loved all the characters very much, but Soda is, by far, my favorite. He’s kind, funny, friendly, and most importantly, he’s a good brother. He protects and stands up for Ponyboy, and does everything he can to help Darry to pay the bills.

Fred Weasley from Harry Potter: (*Spoilers!) Don’t ask me why it’s Fred and not George cause I have no idea why. I do love George too, but for some reason, while I was reading the series for the first time, I decided that Fred was my favorite character. Mind you, I had decided this before I had finished the series, so I was completely heartbroken when he died in the seventh book, as I’m sure everyone was. I just love the twin’s constant bantering and jokes. Despite the fact that I’ve read the series a million times, they never fail to make me laugh.

Percy Jackson from Percy Jackson and the Olympians and Percy Jackson and the Heroes of Olympus: I think it’s safe to say that this is the only series wherein my favorite character is the main character! I love Percy so much! In a way, I grew up with him as I read the books, and I think that really helped me grow to love him even more. Percy is so endearingly humorous, likable, and just… a fun guy! Even though he’s a very powerful demigod and his father is Poseidon, he acts, for the most part, like a normal teenaged guy.

Newt from The Maze Runner: (*Spoilers!) A Glader, and second-in-command to Alby, Newt is kind yet firm, and grows to be a good and loyal friend to Thomas. Perhaps not as fiery as Minho, Newt brings a more leveled personality to the story and is a very prominent character whom I grew to love and care about while reading the series. I was devastated when Janson (a.k.a. the Rat Man) read out the list of munies and Newt was not on it. It was very sad to see him lose his sanity, but I think he did contribute a lot to the team, and was sorely missed.

Azriel from A Court of Thorns and Roses: Quiet, dark, brooding, and mysterious, he doesn’t talk much, but when he does speak up, everyone pays attention because they know that whatever he has to say is important and significant. He’s an Illyrian warrior! Skilled in combat, he would make a deadly enemy. But he also has a sweet and gentle side. He’s very caring and respectful and enjoys having a laugh with his brother, Cassian, once in a while.

-Elina T.

The Road By Cormac McCarthy

Image result for the road by cormac mccarthy

Anyone who has read Lord of the Flies, or seen the Walking Dead television show, knows that when the world comes to an end, people are going to do whatever they can to survive (ie cannibalism, children killing other children). This is the same with The Road- people shouting “You would have done the same!” as they try to steal and murder each other. But wouldn’t it be just nice if even in this dystopian world, everyone was nice to each other?

An unnamed father and son travel down a road to the sea and try to survive amid the thieves and not knowing who to trust. We don’t fully know what caused the world to be like this- earthquake? extremely hot temperatures? But we do know that rations are limited and they must keep traveling in order to survive. The father always seems to try to resort to a dark side- giving up food for his son, trying to kill everyone who crosses them- but the son keeps him on the road- noticing when the father tries to give the son bigger portions, begging the father not to kill anyone.

All in all, it is a very pleasant story to read, especially since it gives a theme that man will not fully go down the evil side even when there is no hope. However, there are a few writing styles that will turn a few people down. First of all, there are not quotation marks- whenever the character speaks it is either its own separate paragraph or embedded in another paragraph, which makes the reader go back a couple of times in order to figure out who is talking. Additionally, most of the book is written in camera style- the story’s plot moving along because of dialogue, not because of what they thought. This narration is often considered boring by some readers.

However, the story is beautifully written to me, with a compelling message and a heartfelt plot. It is also a quick read compared to some other books. For those who are looking for a twist on the dystopian genre, it is a worthwhile read.

Megan Villagracia, Eleventh Grade.

The Road By Cormac McCarthy is available for checkout from the Mission Viejo Library.

Harry Potter – Foreign Language Edition!

This summer, my family and I took a vacation to Italy. We had so much fun, but one of the key things I remember about the trip was the different language, and how hard it was to understand things. One day while we were walking through Rome, we came across a bookstore. It was so cool to see all of these books that I recognize, but in a whole new language.

Most importantly, was the Harry Potter series. These books had their own little section at the back of an enormous bookstore. It took me a while to find them because everything was in Italian. I began to read little excerpts from each book, and even though I couldn’t read the native language, I knew these books like the back of my hand. This made it easy for me to tell what is going on without reading and understanding word for word what the pages said. Instead, I would get the general idea from what I knew was going on in the book at the time. This was helpful to improve my ability to understand Italian a little better by translating my version of Harry Potter memorized in my brain against the Italian text. I was soon able to recognize words and their meanings in Italian just by remembering who said what, what was happening, and where they were in the books.

After all this time, Harry Potter is still helping me and teaching me so much.

-Kyle H.

Luna Lovegood Meets Rolf Scamander

I’m a huge Harry Potter fan, and I absolutely love Luna! She’s one of my favorite characters. I also really loved the movie Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, so I decided to write out a scenario in which Luna and Rolf (Newt Scamander’s grandson) meet. They do actually meet and end up getting married, but this is an idea that I had of their first encounter.


“Oi!” 

Luna crept forward, gently pushing away some leaves to reveal a young man dashing about. It appeared as if he was searching for a lost possession. 

“Come back here!” He moaned, poking half-heartedly at a knot in a rather gnarled-looking tree. 

He jumped backward immediately, gasping as a flock of birds flew angrily from a branch far above. Luna peered past the shrub she was crouched behind, watching the figure before her as he restlessly ran his hands through his wavy auburn hair. After a few more minutes of searching through the underbrush and surrounding trees, the man sat on the forest floor, and reached out to bring a case toward him. 

Luna squinted-she hadn’t noticed the case before. She watched curiously as the box rattled slightly, as if something was trying to get out. The man simply sighed, leaning forward, and resting his arms on his case. 

Suddenly, Luna felt something tugging at her patchwork bag. 

“Oh!” She exclaimed, immediately clapping a hand over her mouth. 

Her protuberant eyes widened as she watched the man look up, jump to his feet, and pull out his wand. 

Thinking quickly, she decided upon revealing herself. She stood up, pulling the squirming creature from her bag. 

The man stopped short at the sight of her, tilting his head to the side as if deciding whether or not to trust her. 

“Who-?” 

“I’m sorry,” Luna said quickly, maneuvering around the shrub, and holding out the niffler. “I was out collecting freshwater plimpies, and thought I heard something. Is this yours?” 

The man nodded. “Freshwater plimpies prevalent around here?” He asked, stowing his wand back into his coat, and taking the niffler from Luna’s hands. “Thank you, by the way,” he added, indicating the niffler. “He’s always getting into trouble.”

“It’s quite alright,” said Luna, smiling serenely. “And yes, they are. I come down here to collect them every weekend. There’s a stream just down there,” she pointed back in the direction she had come, then looked at the man’s face more closely. “I feel like I’ve seen you before.”

The man, who had crouched down and unlatched the case, paused, studying Luna’s face, his sage-green eyes narrowed and his brows furrowed. 

“Well, I did go to Hogwarts. I’ve been out for a few years though,” he said, remembering he still had the niffler in his hands, and gently placing him into the case. 

“Oh! I went to Hogwarts as well. I was in Ravenclaw,” Luna exclaimed. 

He nodded slowly. “I thought I recognized you! What’s your name?”

“Luna Lovegood,” she said, holding out her hand. 

“I’m Rolf. Rolf Scamander,” he said, grasping her hand. “Pleasure.”

“Likewise,” replied Luna. “Oh, watch out!” She crouched down, catching the little niffler who had made another wild attempt at escape. 

Rolf shook his head, his wavy hair dangling just above his eyes. “He’s always doing that,” he said, once again taking the niffler from Luna and putting him into the case. 

“Hold on,” said Luna, rummaging through her bag and fishing out a few golden galleons. “Here you go!” She held the shiny coins out to the niffler, who nimbly plucked them from her outstretched palm and retreated back into the case. 

Rolf grinned and looked up at the peculiar girl. “Thanks Luna.” He straightened, clutching his case, which was now securely latched shut. “Need any help with the freshwater plimpies?” 


-Elina T.

Kaffir Boy by Mark Mathabane

Kaffir Boy, the autobiography of Mark Mathabane, is the haunting story of Mathabane’s life in South Africa under apartheid. In a world where his very existence is frowned upon, and his every movement is monitored by cruel regulations, Mathabane accomplishes feats deemed impossible by the powerful white minority of South Africa. You see, although Mathabane was talented, smart, and athletic, he was black, which, according to the laws of his country, should have sentenced him to a life of poverty and servitude in the ghettos of Johannesburg. However, in a twist of fate, Mathabane enrolls in school and discovers tennis, the sport which changed his life. The rest, up until the publication of his book, is a rollercoaster ride of revolution and rebellion that you will not want to put down for an instant.

The book begins with Mathabane’s childhood, which as you would probably assume, allowed very little room for play or fun. The opening of the book details a police raid in which multitudes of his neighbors were arrested for petty crimes, and sent to work in the countryside for unspecified amounts of time. Later, his family battles starvation. Just when you begin to wonder if times will ever look up for the Mathabanes, they gather enough food to scrape by for another day. Event after event occurs, and you begin to wonder how Mathabane, called “Johannes” in the book, even survived long enough to write the book that you hold in your hands. However, hope comes to the family in the form of education, against all odds.

As a disclaimer, I will say that Kaffir Boy is not exactly a feel-good story. However, it is wonderfully written, triumphant, and eye opening. The book is a look into a world that we tend to glance over. You probably know what apartheid was, but this book is a look into the life of a person oppressed by it. It is also exciting, and shocking in many ways. It is a must read, and I definitely recommend it to anyone and everyone.

-Mirabella S.

Kaffir Boy by Mark Mathabane is available for checkout from the Mission Viejo Library

TV Review: Riverdale

I’m not going to lie, when I originally heard of the T.V series Riverdale, I thought it was going to be lame. I thought it would be one of those typical high school dramas where teens from the popular and non-popular groups fall in love. I was wrong.

My friend and I were bored one day and we decided to watch it and within the first 10 minutes, I was hooked. The show is about a small town called Riverdale, a seemingly average town with average adults and average high school kids. The death of a rich and popular teen rocks the town and initiates a fraught murder mystery.

There is so much action, drama, mystery, and of course romance. Not only does Riverdale keep you on your toes wondering what crazy event will happen next, but the show also does a great job of showing all the different kinds of people. The singers, the jocks, the “geeks”, the rich, the poor, and also the LGTBQ community. My friend and I both  finished the first season in only a few days, and cannot wait for season two which airs in October. If you haven’t yet watched Riverdale, I definitely recommend you watch it, before season two comes out.

-Kyndle W.

Back To School!

SOS! It’s that time of year again where every student excitedly buys new pencils and backpacks only to step foot onto campus and dread the long looming 180 days ahead of them. Leaving summer’s clutches and watching the warm days melt away is definitely bittersweet but the school year has so much to offer!

Needing motivation? Here, read this:

  • Remember that education is a privilege and you are incredibly lucky to have the opportunity to broaden your knowledge for free. There are so many children around the world that dream of being in your shoes. Take advantage of this opportunity and spend this year making the effort to enjoy and indulge in learning!
  • Find something that makes you look forward to school each day! Maybe it’s seeing a friend in French class or maybe you love the way your history teacher makes class interesting. Maybe it’s a club you can regularly hang out with or maybe it’s heading to the library and reading all the amazing books it has to offer. School will be so much more enjoyable and tolerable if you find something good about it.
  • Make incentives! Reward yourself each day once you get home from school because you deserve it. Whether it’s allowing yourself to watch your favorite Netflix show for an hour or going outside for a bike ride, make something to look forward to throughout the day.
  • The experience. Let me explain this more thoroughly: going to school and interacting with others teaches you so many important life lessons–some of which are more important than the academic lessons taught. A humanities based education broadens your mind and improves your critical thinking skills, communicating with your peers improves your social skills, hearing opinions of others opens your eyes to new ideals and possibilities. There’s so much to gain by going to school and being attentive and engaged.

Need some good studying music? I have you covered! (*=my personal favorites!)

  • If you’re into dream pop, psychedelic rock, indie pop, or lo-fi, I suggest listening to Peach Pit*, Hippo Campus, Spissy*, Swimming Tapes, The Growlers, COIN, Yellow Days, Mac Demarco, Summer Salt, Beach Fossils, Billie Eilish, or The Kooks! They all give off a very laid back, dreamy vibe that is perfect to play as background music as you complete math homework!
  • If you’re still wishing you were sunbathing at the beach instead of studying, I recommend Sublime, Hockey Dad*, Golden Coast, Viola Beach, Bob Marley, Blossoms, Real Estate*, Cage The Elephant*, Circa Waves*, or Jon Bellion. They create a peaceful illusion that soothes you and sends you right back to sandy, sunny bliss!
  • If you’re more of a punk rock, alternative rock, grunge, pop rock type of person, you’re bound to like at least one of the following bands: All Time Low*, Green Day*, Nirvana, Boys Like Girls*, We The Kings, The All-American Rejects, The Smashing Pumpkins, Guns N’ Roses, Nothing But Thieves, or machineheart. Definitely more upbeat, slightly feisty and very fun to dance around to during a studying break!
  • Finally, if you’re one of those people who dread the uncomfortable stickiness of summer heat and you can’t wait for cool fall days, I have a sweater weather playlist for you. You can almost smell pumpkin everything when you listen to artists like Lana Del Rey*, LANY*, Little May, Arctic Monkeys, The Neighbourhood*, The 1975*, Two Door Cinema Club, Ed Sheeran, X Ambassadors, Josh Groban, or Seafret*.

In a perfect world, this post would amp all of you up about going back to school but alas, we live in a fallen society. Hopefully this at least encouraged a select few of you to view school in a positive way. Best wishes this school year, everyone!!

-Jessica T.