Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller

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Have you ever thought about the future- what you plan to be and how you plan to get there? Well, unfortunately, this book puts a sad twist to the future and paints it in a gloomy way.

Willy Loman, your typical, average man, is down on his luck. He isn’t getting enough salary even though he has been with his company for 35 years, despite his brother in law being in a different company for the same length of time, and somehow is so much richer than him. While his son hates him, Willy sometimes blames it on his son’s laziness, and the other times the fact that his son is working too hard and doesn’t know what he wants.

So what does he do? Well, he’s a traveling salesman, so he sells the only thing he has left. Guess.

There are a couple of things to note about this novel. First, it’s a play, so the dialogue is easy to stand out, and one can know who’s talking. And thankfully, unlike Shakespeare’s plays, this play is only two acts long, which was just over a hundred pages in the copy I had, so it was easy to read.

Second, the theme. I won’t even talk about the fact that the author considers the American Dream fading, or even his interpretation of capitalism. No, I will instead talk about the other characters. Willy’s wife, Linda Loman, is down on her luck too, as although she gives Willy everything, including her undying loyalty no matter what he does, he still treats her without love. The son that hates Willy, Biff, is just a man like us teenagers (except he’s 34) that tries to talk to Willy, but gives up because Willy wouldn’t listen to him. And Willy’s second son, who is often forgotten about by Willy, has to face abandonment issues not only from his father, but from his mother too, in which not even him saying that he was getting married made them happy.

Overall, Miller claims that we all know a Willy Loman, and although his story ends in tragedy, it does not have to be this way for us.

-Megan V, 12th grade

Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman is available for checkout from the Mission Viejo Library

A Doll’s House by Henrik Ibsen

A Doll’s House by Henrik Ibsen is a story that takes place in late 19th century Norway. The main character of the novel is Nora Helmer, and she is married to her husband, Torvald Helmer. She is treated like a doll by her husband, and has no say into any decisions that are made. She is there as a plaything for her husband, and has been molded by society to not have own identity as a person. Despite her characterization as a dim-witted doll, she is hiding a big secret. Nora borrowed money without any permission from either her husband or father in order to help her family while Torvald was sick. This kind of action was unheard of for a woman to do at this time, so she never told her husband from where she got her money from. Once her secret is threatened to be revealed, the course of the novel changes from the depiction of a typical, happy family of the Victorian time to something modern, but not normal for that time.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book, even though it was not a typical read for me because it was a novel assigned to me by school. It was an easy read, but the story kept me hooked from the beginning. Initially, I was a bit wary of the way Nora was treated, and just thought of her as silly. However, when her secret was revealed, my opinion of her changed. The rest of the novel was now on a different, more interesting course of action. The ending was not only surprising, but very controversial for that time. I would recommend this novel, regardless if it is assigned or not,  for anyone in order to see the importance of this kind of novel at this period in history.

-Anmol K.

Henry Ibsen’s A Doll’s House is available for checkout from the Mission Viejo Library

Eggs by Jerry Spinelli

Best friends can have close relationships and still fight with each other. David and Primrose knew this firsthand.  It seemed odd they formed a friendship with David at the age of nine and Primrose thirteen.  Yet when the pair met, they formed an almost instantaneous bond.

Primrose and David had both been through hard times.  Primrose and David came from damaged families and endured challenging childhoods. After they met, they would stay up all night walking to the 7-Eleven and their friend Refrigerator John’s house.  They went on many exciting adventures to places like the city of Philadelphia and to events like the library movie party.

I really enjoyed reading this book about two good friends.  I loved reading about their crazy antics, the sad parts, and the touching parts about true friendship.

-Kaitlyn S.

Eggs by Jerry Spinelli is available for checkout from the Mission Viejo Library

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by J.K. Rowling, John Tiffany, and Jack Thorne

I rejoiced when I heard there would be an eighth Harry Potter book as I’m sure the rest of the Harry Potter fandom did.  It definitely delivers the same thrills, adventure, and fun as the other seven.

The story centers around Albus Severus Potter, Harry Potter’s youngest son.  He doesn’t fit in as well at Hogwarts, but finds a friend in Draco Malfoy’s son Scorpius.  Albus and Scorpius are both sorted into Slytherin and Albus’s relationship with his father worsens over the years.  Then, everything changes as the pair meet Delphi, Amos Diggory’s niece, and set off to change the past with the help of a Time-Turner and save Cedric Diggory. The rest of the story lies within the book…

This was an interesting read because it isn’t written like a conventional book; it’s written like a script with descriptions of the surroundings, acts and scenes, and the character’s names before their dialogue.  I loved seeing Harry, Ron, and Hermione all grown up with families.  It makes you feel like you’ve grown along with the characters. This book was a great addition to the series and I recommend it to everyone who loves Harry Potter and magical, fantasy adventure books!

-Kaitlyn S.

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is available for checkout from the Mission Viejo Library. It can also be downloaded for free from Overdrive

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The sun shone through the window. It was a new day, a fresh start. The brightness made it easy to forget the dark events of the previous night. Horrified images began to take over her mind. The screaming echoed in her ears. It was a mistake, she cried to herself. She knew she wouldn’t be able to forget it, that all she could do was find a way to live with it. No one would ever know her secret. This new day was her chance to become someone else, someone incapable of the horrible truth that was her mind.

She stared at the rays of light, imagining this, when a spot of red on the wall caught her eye. It was small enough to go undetected, but she knew its source. Tracing her eyes along the wall, more spots appeared, forming larger and messier streaks of red. There she could see it clearly, as if the color was the very paint on the wall, the color she would now wake up to every morning. It dripped down, drying at the bottom, collecting together to create a puddle.

Even with all her strength, she couldn’t pull her eyes away from the scene. It was all her fault. No amount of paint would ever cover up her pain from last night, no amount would make the tragedy disappear. It was forever stained in front of her.

In her own blood. Who would do such a thing?

 

Keeper of the Lost Cities by Shannon Messenger

If you enjoyed reading books like Harry Potter, Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief, and many more, then you’ll probably enjoy this book series. The first book, Keeper of the Lost Cities, is about a young girl named Sophie Foster. But, the twist on this story is that she can read minds.

Sophie first received her powers from an accident when she was five years old. After the accident, her life was changed forever. Now she had the ability to read minds and have a photographic memory. Because of her amazing memory, she was able to be a senior in high school at only age 12! She always knew something was special about her

At a field trip to the museum, Sophie runs into Fitz, who is an elf. He had a mission, which was to find the girl with blonde hair and brown eyes. Fate must’ve been on his side because he was able to find Sophie. He took her to the “Elvin World” where she got to see fascinating creatures and animals that are extinct in the “human world”.

This book series is action-packed and great for kids who just want an easy but entertaining book to read.

-Phoebe.L

The Keeper of the Lost Cities series by Shannon Messenger is available for checkout from the Mission Viejo Library. It can also be downloaded for free from Overdrive and Hoopla. 

See Jane Run by Hannah Jayne

The book consisted of two main characters that understood each other better then their parents did. Not only is Riley supposed to not interact with kids at her school, but she is also not allowed to  start having feelings for a juvenile delinquent.

It all starts when Riley finds a hidden birth certificate in her baby book. The only problem is it doesn’t have her name on it. On the birth certificate it includes her date of birth and even her parents names, but they aren’t the same as those who she thought were her parents.

Not only is Riley frightened, but she also starts getting notes in her purse and backpack everyday at school consisting of the words, “I know who you are, ” and even, “Your parents are liars.” Without having enough courage to confide in her parents, will Riley understand the consequences of living in a divided family?

-Rylie N.