The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas

threemusketeers_alexandredumasThe Three Musketeers, by Alexandre Dumas, was written in 1844. Set in France in 1625, it takes place during the reign of Louis XIII, with Cardinal Richelieu as his advisor. D’Artagnan leaves his home in Gascony and goes to Paris to join the Musketeers. At an inn on the way, he gets into some trouble and has the “letter of recommendation” his father had written for him stolen. When he gets to Paris, D’Artagnan visits the captain of the Musketeers, but is not admitted due to the fact that he does not have the letter. As the story progresses, D’Artagnan meets the three musketeers that he is to be good friends with, and gets caught up in political intrigues, of which some he involves his friends.

I liked this book because I remembered learning about this part of history at school, so it was a bit more enjoyable because I knew the historical background of the political characters (like the King, Richelieu, Queen, etc.). I also enjoyed reading it because the characters had distinct personalities and were not flat, and they each had their own flaws. Although I did not remember the description of each main character and their lackeys that was near the beginning of the book, I realized their personalities as I read so it was nice to not have to continually refer to earlier parts of the book to remember which character was which.

-Aliya A.

The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas is available for checkout from the Mission Viejo Library. It can also be downloaded for free from Hoopla

The Watch That Ends the Night: Voices from the Titanic by Allan Wolf

watchthatendsthenight_allanwolfBeautifully crafted, Wolf’s words hit close to home in this lyrical story of the Titanic. The wealthy. The refugee. The captain. The iceberg. The voices on the ship which went down. Allan Wolf, along with a writing team including Angela Dawe, Laural Merlington, and Natalie Ross, have created another view of the tragedy which occurred on April 15, 1912 aside from its Hollywood adaptation.

Starting with the iceberg, Wolf creates a feel of the circle of life, as well as the known aura of foreboding death.  However, the scene quickly switches to the maybe-naive, maybe-ignorant lives of the humans boarding the boat.  There is a father and two sons, a Lebanese refugee immigrant, the rich, the con-artist, the crew, and 2,228 others.  Throughout all of the introductions of the book, I thought of an excerpt from Tchaikovsky’s “Winter Daydreams”.  The subtle light strings with the hint of suspense in the undertone of the bass line imitated the tone of Wolf and his co-workers.  I really enjoyed this style of his writing, for he developed each character, fictional and not, as if it had a rich library of history books published.  However, as some writers would take several chapters to illustrate this, Wolf masterfully sculpted it into a few pages of lyrical prose.

The journey the reader takes across the 480 pages start and end with the iceberg itself.  Every few voices, the iceberg would appear, as if the reader needed a reminder of its unquestionable existence.  With it, I always would think of a leitmotif of Host’s “Saturn, The Bringer of Old Age—The Planets Suite”.  Its dark and brooding sound, especially as you reach the bridge, reminds me of the sad truth of death.  Wolf’s writing about the iceberg paints these notes into the reader’s mind.  And, as the distance between the ship and iceberg becomes narrower, I think of the Holst’s piece, growing louder and louder as if in an unheeded warning.  And, as his piece ends, the fate of the ship does as well.

The Watch That Ends the Night was one of the best books I have read in a while, and it was due to the amazing writing and imagery the authors weaved into it.  I would recommend this to any reader seventh grade and up.

-Maya S.

The Watch That Ends the Night: Voices from the Titanic is available for checkout from the Mission Viejo Library

We Are the Ants by Shaun David Hutchinson

wearetheants_shaundavidhutchinsonIf you knew the world was going to end, but you had the power to stop it, would you?

For Henry Denton, this is not such an easy question. The aliens who regularly abduct Henry, referred to as sluggers, gave him this choice. Henry does not think living is worth it: his father left when he was young, his mother lives a terrible life, his grandmother has Alzheimer’s, his older brother quit school, his best friend committed suicide, he has a secret but abusive relationship, and he is regularly mocked for being “Space Boy.” There seems to be no end to his troubles. Wouldn’t everyone just be better off if they were all wiped off the face of the earth? No one would have to suffer, his grandmother’s life would not have to fall apart before her eyes, his soon-to-be niece would not have to grow up in such a terrible world.

We Are the Ants follows Henry as he discovers how to live in this world, which turns out not to be as bad as he thought. People surprise Henry. People encourage him. People help him find closure. They help Henry decide whether or not to push the button to save the world.

What I thought would be a science fiction book about a boy abducted by aliens was definitely not what I ended up reading. This book comments on how terrible life can get but how perfect the little things can seem. My favorite part was the relationship between Henry and his grandmother, who frequently forgets Henry’s name. I loved seeing how Henry transformed throughout the novel to the point that he gave the perfect gift of memory to his grandmother. This novel is a bit strong for younger teens, but reading it certainly alters one’s perspective on life, so I would definitely recommend it.

– Leila S.

We Are The Ants is available for checkout from the Mission Viejo Library. It is also available to download from Overdrive

What If Harry Potter Was Friends With Draco Malfoy?!

Contains Spoilers!

If you didn’t know, I am a huge fan of the Harry Potter series. The books are so awesome and the magic is so exciting. In the first book, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, the first time Harry gets on the Hogwarts Express, he is befriended by a boy named Ronald Weasely. A boy named Draco Malfoy interferes, and tries to make Harry his friend instead. Harry, however, had none of Malfoy’s interests in mind, and became close friends with Ron. But what if Harry became Draco Malfoy’s friend instead?

On The Hogwarts Express:

Malfoy turned back to Harry. “You’ll find that some wizarding families are much better than others, Potter. You don’t want to go making friends with the wrong sort. I can help you there.”

He held out his hand for Harry to shake, and Harry, looking back at Ron, shook it after a moment of hesitation.

Malfoy smirked. “So long, Weasley. It seems that you have this whole compartment to yourself, then. C’mon, Harry, let’s go.”

A growl ripped from Ron’s throat, sounding almost predatory. He leapt at Malfoy, but Harry shook him off.

“Stop it!” Harry said angrily. “Draco’s my friend, Ron! Cut it out!”

Letting out a long breath, Ron stepped back into the compartment, glaring at them. Malfoy glared back, then left the compartment, Harry following him.

“See what I meant?” drawled Draco. “The wrong sort of friend, Potter…the Weasleys are a poor wizarding family with too many kids they can afford…and they can’t even control their temper, look at how low they’ve sunk…”

Harry nodded absentmindedly. “True,” he muttered. “I suppose your family’s much better…”

Draco smiled. “Of course, Potter! My family is rolling in wizard’s gold…everyone knows that!” He smirked. “Of course, father tries to keep that quiet, but quite a few people know…”

“I totally get you, Malfoy,” Harry said grinning, turning to look at his new friend. “I think we’re going to have a lot of fun together this year…”

Yeah, I know, this probably would never ever happen, and Harry is a lot meaner here than he is in the books, but it was still fun to think about what would happen when two enemies were actually friends instead! If Harry was friends with Draco, and then Ron was their enemy…that would be odd, but I suppose I’m just too used to Ron and Harry being Draco’s enemy! The Harry Potter series would be really whacked up if Harry and Draco were friends, but it’s still something cool to think about!

-Katherine L.

Materials relating to the wizarding world of Harry Potter are available for checkout from the Mission Viejo Library. They can also be downloaded from Overdrive and Hoopla

Mission Viejo Library’s Teen Anime Club

Can’t find the right club for you because you’re a huge otaku (someone obsessed with all things anime and manga) like me and wish there was a club to watch anime, socialize with people and try fun new Japaneses snacks? Well the Mission Viejo Library’s Anime Club is for you!

On the second Saturday of each month the club gathers and spends two hours watching anime. The anime consists of older and recently released shows covering genres like sci-fi, action, and so on. While watching anime you can try an array of different Japanese snacks with different but unique tastes, which are spread out on a table. My personal favorites would have to be the “fake” ice cream cones, Hello Panda, and Pocky. I enjoy any type of sweet Japanese treats and this club fulfills my wishes. Furthermore, socializing with other people is easy in the club because they have a lot in common with you. If you prefer not to socialize with those not yet your friends, you can always bring a friend and share your fun experiences with them – like I did. I brought my best friend Emma and she enjoyed her first time as much as I did. We have attended the club meetings and together, we try to gain an ‘Anime Trivia’ streak. I also enjoy bring the ‘Bring a manga-take a manga’ shelf, although I have not contributed any yet. Next time I go I certainly will. I enjoy the club so much – it has opened me up to so many more anime genres and I have developed a new love for Dragon Ball Z.

Overall, the library’s Teen Anime Club is a great place to meet new friends, watch amazing anime and eat yummy snacks, share and review different opinions on  anime and so much more. I enjoy this club so much and definitely will keep coming back.

-Brenya B.

The Mission Viejo Library Anime Club meets on the second Saturday of every month from 1pm to 3pm in the Friend’s Storytime Room. Permission slips are required and can be downloaded online

Escape From Mr. Lemoncello’s Library by Chris Grabenstein

escapefromlibrary_chrisgrabensteinEscape From Mr. Lemoncello’s Library was one of my top ten favorite books that I have ever read. This book is more than a rib-tickling novel full of humor and suspense. It’s a game in itself, in which readers can have fun solving clues and answering riddles while learning how to navigate the Dewey Decimal system.

This book actually reminded me of the book Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. In Chris Grabenstein’s tale, twelve sixth graders are chosen to be the first ones allowed into an eccentric billionaire’s library. This fast-paced novel features an eccentric billionaire who welcomes a group of children into a fantasy setting full of weird, wondrous touches. This billionaire’s name is Luigi. L. Lemoncello, and he reminded me greatly of Willy Wonka in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

The main character in Grabenstein’s book is a boy named Kyle Keeley. Kyle is a game fan—board games, word games, and especially video games! Kyle’s hero, the famous gamemaker Luigi Lemoncello, is the genius behind the design of the town’s new public library, which contains not only books, but an IMAX theater, an electronic learning center, instructional holograms, interactive dioramas and electromagnetic hover ladders that float patrons up to the books they want. How awesome is that? (I’ve always wished that there was a library that was just as cool as Mr. Lemoncello’s!).

However, there’s a twist. The next morning, after touring the library, the doors remain locked, and that’s where the twelve kids find out about Lemoncello’s fantastic new game…except that it involves them. Kyle and the others must follow book-related clues and unravel all sorts of secret puzzles to find the hidden escape route out of the library if they want to win Mr. Lemoncello’s most fabulous prize ever.

However…can twelve kids solve the puzzle that the clever Lemoncello set for the them? They will either succeed…or fail.

-Katherine L.

Escape From Mr. Lemoncello’s Library is available for checkout from the Mission Viejo Library. It is also available for download from Overdrive

Creative Writing: “I Awake”

 

I Awake

I awake
And the sea is beckoning.
I long to travel past the silent white wavebreak
Further and further and further until I reach the point in the distance that only I can see
Where the waves are relentless and tempting
And there are no hands to pull me out,
Only pressure to pull me under.

I awake
And the ocean is threatening.
As I stand on the bluff,
I think of nothing, Ithinkofeverything.
Black-indigo water churns below me, chanting in a language I learned long ago;
The darkness laps at my feet, teasing me with a sense of humor I’ll soon learn to appreciate.
I close my eyes,
Forget,
And before I know it
I’m swimming once again.

I awake
And the tide is calm.
During the day
A toddler plays beside me
Under an umbrella,
Safe from the sun’s harsh rays.
Under his breath he mumbles nonsense,
And I smile to no one
As he carefully buries his legs in the sand.

At night
I lay under the sky
Watching the clouds spin,
Listening to the waves break, chanting the lyrics to the song in my head,
Smelling the salty breeze as it whispers across the holes in my sweater,
Feeling your arms wrapped looselytightly around me
And knowing that no matter how rough the sea churns,
You will never let me drown.

-Danielle K.