Movie Review: Black Widow

This is a great movie! I thought that it helped to answer a lot of questions Marvel fans have had about Natasha Romanoff, also known as Black Widow. I really enjoyed the action and plot of this movie. It takes place just after Captain America: Civil War and before Avengers: Infinity War

One day, a strange package arrives and forces Natasha Romanoff to find Yelena, whom she last saw when they were young children being separated and sent to different places. They are now both spies and have both grown up. At first, they struggle to get along, possibly from feelings of betrayal. 

Eventually, they find the Red Guardian (Alexei) and Melina, who end up helping them in their mission to find a man named Dreykov and put a permanent end to his diabolical schemes. However, is it really possible to end his terrible plans?

This movie helps viewers to understand more about Black Widow, especially what shaped her into becoming who she is now. A lot of the characters in this movie went through character changes, especially in their intentions and their personalities. I would recommend this movie to Marvel fans who enjoy adventurous movies. I thought that this movie had some important messages, like ‘People are capable of change’. There were also a few connections I was able to make between Natasha Romanoff in Black Widow and Natasha Romanoff in Infinity War, mostly between her actions and her personality in these two movies. I would rate this movie a 10/10.

-Peri A.

Movie Review: The Hunger Games

The Hunger Games is a plot captured from a book and brought to the big screen. The main characters are Katniss Everdeen and Peta Mellark. The Hunger Games is where two randomly selected teens will participate in a battle to the death. There are a total of thirteen districts involved meaning 26 people will participate. The primary reason for these games to be conducted is for the pure entertainment of others. 

One thing I loved about the execution of this movie was the fact they were able to capture the fashion sense from the books straight into the movies. The fashion sense is colorful, bright, and daring. Most movies that were captured from books tend to leave out many parts due to time constraints yet in The Hunger Games we did not see that. The directors managed to include every detail. 

Although I was very disappointed in the casting because Katniss was supposed to have olive skin yet she was fair. Peeta was said to have bright blue eyes yet he ended up having brown. I think the casting could have been better executed.

Also, the CGI was flawless. In the books the technology is very futuristic and the movie was able to capture this. Overall the movie was very intriguing and left the viewers wanting more.

-Sanjana S.

The Hunger Games movie trilogy is available for checkout from the Mission Viejo Library.

Need a new show? Try Fresh Off The Boat!

Fresh Off the Boat (TV Series 2015–2020) - IMDb
Just look at this loveable family you will get to follow!

With summer around the corner, everybody needs some light and fun television shows to watch to fill the time. One of my favorite genres of television is sitcoms and I have watched many that have come to my liking. Today I am recommending Fresh Off the Boat! This sitcom originally started airing in 2015 but currently has 6 seasons with the idea that there will most likely be a season 7. So do not worry, there is plenty of content to keep you busy.

Fresh off the Boat stars a Chinese family moving from a majority Chinese town in DC to the majority white in Orlando, Florida. This show takes place in the 1990s which I believe is the icing on the top for this show. The mother, Jessica, is your typical tiger Asian mom. She attempts to control the lives of her three sons: Eddie, the teenager who only wants to play video games, Emery, the perfect son, and Evan, the young smartie pants who skips a grade. There is also the dad, Louis Huang, who runs a bbq restaurant and is your classic funny carefree dad.  At the same time, Jessica attempts to fit in with the white neighborhood moms group. We get to see how it was like for an Asian family to enter a majority white area in the 1990s. Hence the name Fresh Off the Boat, meaning they are basically fresh immigration with little idea of how things work in a suburban area. 

The story mainly revolves around Eddie, the oldest child. One of my personal favorite scenes of the entire show is in the first episode. Eddie goes to school and is made fun of for his Chinese lunch. All he dreams of having for lunch is Lunchables so he can be cool, it seems we all had the idea of what is cool even in the 1990s! He goes to the market and gets to pick out the cool “white people food” as he calls it and boosts his confidence. This show is full of comedy that keeps you laughing for the entire episode. 

Nonetheless, my favorite character has to be Jessica Huang, the overprotective mother. We slowly get to witness her mellow out her ways and become more of a relaxed parent. Do not get me wrong, one of my favorite parts of the show is getting to watch her be the typical tiger mom with a twist of a comedic side. She always rocks her 1990’s fashion to no end that makes her a character that you cannot just help but adore.

If you need a new show to watch I would seriously recommend watching Fresh Off the Boat as soon as possible!!

-Lilly G.

Applying to Colleges

As I head into my senior year, the college application season is no longer a far off thought. Though you are somewhat prepared for it when you start high school, I have found the actual thing is very different from what you imagine. Though you see your friends and family apply and discuss whether or not they got in, having to do it for your own future takes on a whole new perspective. I have personally found the experience exciting, yet somewhat overwhelming. Though I am getting to select my own future and the place that I want to spend the next part of my life, I am also having to worry about grades, getting in, and moving away from family. 

A lot of people when looking into colleges, never truly talk about how much their senior year was affected by applying for colleges. Some people I’ve spoken to have said that senior year was super easy, but as I start this fall, I don’t quite feel that way. Not only am I taking my most challenging classes yet, I am also trying to balance hanging out with all my friends before we go our separate ways as well as applying to multiple colleges and get in. 

Now the application and search process has been quite fun so far. I have been able to look at schools in places I can see myself living past college as well as ones that are good for what I am looking into. I have also been able to see how what I am going into as a career can help others besides myself. This is the part where you can explore different passions outside of a major, with the wide array of classes so many schools offer. And every school is different, not every school is the one for you and that is okay. What I found I struggled with was that I didn’t like some of the schools offered to me and felt like I was letting someone down. Everyone is different and so is your search, so not fitting into one school or another is okay.

I think that college searching can be fun because you are able to look into the more superficial things such as dorm life and things to do when you aren’t in classes. College also allows you a sense of freedom you often don’t get while still in high school, in the fact that you are mostly depending on yourself to wake up, eat, get to class, and so on. The search is a way for you to see how you will be when you are off on your own and starting your own job and life away from home. 

Now while I have talked about being overwhelmed with this endeavor, I also urge you high schoolers, seniors especially, to not get too caught up in the stress of it all. Enjoy the time with your friends and family before you all go and do your own things. We will never be in a time quite like we are now, which is something a lot of my older friends who are now in college agree with. Though college application season is now, so is senior year and we should bask in that. 

-Danielle B.

Book Review: The Giver by Lois Lowry

Imagine a community where life is idyllic: Citizens are assigned their partners, jobs, and family units. Everyone, being the same, obeys the laws. Those who are slightly imperfect are released from the community. Aforementioned community is one relieved of conflict, inequality, divorce, unemployment, injustice, poverty, disappointment, and pain—but all the same, deprived of true joy, color, music, sunshine, choice, and love.

Jonas, an incoming twelve-year-old, is of course extremely eager to determine his predetermined Life Assignment, just as the other soon-to-be Twelves are. However, during the long-awaited Ceremony of Twelve, Jonas is completely skipped over. The Elders, who assign jobs to the incoming Twelves, have carefully studied the children for years—yet Jonas has been skipped over.

And here, he learns that he was not assigned, but selected—for the most honored job in the community. Jonas was selected to become the next Receiver of Memory.

Jonas enters a new life, one where he is entitled to rudeness, questioning, and lying. He is also prohibited from discussing his training, dream-telling, applying for medication, and applying for release.

In training, a mysterious man called the Giver—the last Receiver before Jonas—begins to transmit memories to Jonas. Memories of the entire world, memories no one else in the community has experienced before. With these memories, Jonas is able to experience sledding downhill in snow, sunshine, rainbows, holidays, and family. On the other hand, he has also transferred memories of sunburn, fire, vomit, war, and other sources and results of pain. As the days go by, the burden of the memories Jonas carries transforms him into a much wiser person. He often becomes aggravated with his friends, as they do not understand him—they know nothing and feel nothing of what Jonas does.

The Giver, a tale of a utopia and its downsides, is unforgettable. In the part it plays in telling readers how important the little things in life are, I’ve realized how much we take for granted. Maybe those things won’t ever be taken away from us, but that’s no reason not to appreciate them. One part of the story that truly shocked me was the aspect of family—assigned Birthmothers would give birth to children, and two would be assigned to a couple to take care of. Citizens have no way of knowing their blood-related siblings, cousins, parents, aunts and uncles, and grandparents. Also, citizens are so shielded from pain and conflict that all seem to know nothing—all but the Receiver. Imagine!

Do not miss reading The Giver by Lois Lowry. This exceptionally perceptive novel tells of an unimaginable lifestyle in an unimaginable community through Lois Lowry’s powerful words, which craft a descriptive tale of law against love and safety against choice.

-Lam T.

The Giver by Lois Lowry is available for checkout from the Mission Viejo Library. It can also be downloaded for free from Overdrive

Book Review: Girl, Serpent, Thorn by Melissa Bashardoust

In the vast city of Golvahar resides a princess named Soraya, forced to be hidden away from the public eye. Cursed, she was born with the ability to kill any living being with a mere touch. Her yearning to be a part of her family and society flourishes with the years she stayed concealed in the gardens, watching everyone’s lives from a far distance. But all changes when a demon creature (div) who holds the knowledge to break her curse is captured and being held in the palace dungeon. A beau who perceives her past the poison running through her veins vows to help her but to what extent will she go to get what she desires? And will the choices she makes conform her into the monster she always tried not to become?

This enthralling tale of self-discovery and will power kept me hooked from the very beginning. Melissa Bashardoust takes stories from Persian mythology and makes a fascinating queer fairytale with many elements from Sleeping Beauty. The secrets told in the most unexpected times compels the readers to think deeper into the true meaning of “monster” and what it takes to be a hero. Told in the perspective of Soraya herself, we see the loneliness she had been through firsthand, allowing us to relate to and perhaps find ourselves in her story.

-Saanvi V.

Girl, Serpent, Thorn by Melissa Bashardoust is available for checkout from the Mission Viejo Library. It can also be downloaded for free from Overdrive.

Book Review: Daisy Jones & The Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid

I recently finished the book Daisy Jones & The Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid and fell in love with Reid’s writing. The book tells the story of first, a band called The Six and a girl by the name of Daisy Jones. Living separate lives trying to make it on the music scene in Hollywood during the 60s, the two groups collide to create a joint band.

The story is told in the format of an interview that takes place long after the band has split due to circumstances you find out as you continue reading. As you read the book, you get to hear about the beginning, middle, and end of the band from their own perspective. The story dives into issues of the 60s and how they impacted the band on their way to success. 

Reid is very good at putting you into the book. She is able to create a space where readers can become one with the band and the way they write, and oftentimes why they write the music in the novel. One of my favorite parts is the end of the book, after the last chapter and epilogue, shares the lyrics for a multitude of the songs that are sung by the band on tours. 

Reid also writes the characters very real. They’re not written like many books or TV shows where the characters are perfect and can do no wrong. In Daisy Jones & The Six, the characters make mistakes and own up to them. This was one of my favorite aspects of the book. I recommend this book to anyone who loves music, or wants to dive into an entirely different world. The interview format that this book takes allows people to feel almost like they’re watching a documentary about these fictional characters. Reid with Daisy Jones & The Six is able to create a beautiful story about the struggles of making it in the music industry when you don’t always take the easy path.

-Danielle B.

Daisy Jones & The Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid is available for checkout from the Mission Viejo Library. It can also be downloaded for free from Overdrive.

Authors We Love: Rupi Kaur

Rupi Kaur Has Been Accused of Plagiarism: Did She Steal ...

Rupi Kaur is a Canadian-Indian poet known for her prose publications Milk and Honey, The Sun and her Flowers, and most recently, Home Body.

Born in Punjab, India, on 5th October 1992, Kaur immigrated to Canada with her family when she was very young. She grew up poor- her father was a truck driver who was on the road for long periods of time, and her mother was often busy taking care of Kaur’s three younger siblings. However, poetry and art were a large part of her upbringing- her father would write prose poems for her mother, and her mother loved to paint. When she was still a university student, she began posting her short prose poems onto Instagram, and gained a modest following on her social media platforms. In 2009, she began performing her poems for small events, under the simple stage name of “Kaur.” After dozens of failed submissions to publishing houses, journals, and magazines, Kaur self-published her first book of poetry, Milk and Honey, in 2014. The book was a massive success, and later re-published by Andrews McMeel- one of the leading poetry publishers in America. Three years later, in 2017, Kaur released The Sun and her Flowers. It was an even greater success than Milk and Honey, garnering Kaur millions of dollars in book sales and millions of new followers across her social media platforms. In November 2020, Kaur released her third book- Home Body. The book became one of the bestselling books of the year.

Kaur’s work deeply resonated with me personally. In her writing, she discusses prominent themes in today’s world. She succinctly and beautifully captures the niche feelings of growing up an immigrant in a new country, in a new world- especially as a young girl. She also masterfully dissects sensitive topics such as those of sexual violence, and the politicization/sexualization of women’s bodies in today’s society. Her writing is simple, beautiful, and therapeutic to read. They are truly incredible dissertations on everything from the fallacies of love to the difficulties of family to the oscillating pendulum of self-love and self-hate that people often have with their bodies. I would recommend her work to everyone!

-Vaidehi B.

All three books mentioned above contain some sexual themes that may not be suitable for all audiences.

Milk and Honey by Rupi Kaur is available for checkout from Mission Viejo Library. Milk and Honey and Home Body can both be downloaded for free on Overdrive.