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.

A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court by Mark Twain

In A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court, Mark Twain chronicles the experience of an engineer from the nineteenth century who goes back in time to King Arthur’s era in the sixth century. Hank Morgan, the protagonist, is bewildered at first to find himself in a strange land after taking a blow to the head. He is captured by a knight and taken to Camelot, where he makes the acquaintance of a page and learns that he is in the past. A series of events ensues, in which Morgan convinces everyone that he is a magician and secures a spot in the King’s administration for himself. Since he’s from the nineteenth century, he tries to modernize the sixth century to reflect his time period (which is probably easier for him than another person because he’s an engineer).

I found the beginning of the book to be a bit slow, but it started picking up near the middle. There are funny parts to it and other parts that made me mad at some of the characters. There are also sections that were excerpted from Le Morte D’Arthur, some of which I found difficult to read (the ones describing battles), and at times, Twain seems to be criticizing some aspects of the world he himself was living in, in the nineteenth century, like slavery. The ending was a bit ambiguous, but considering the nature of the story, I felt that it was appropriate.

-Aliya A.

A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court by Mark Twain is available for checkout from the Mission Viejo Library

Knocked Up by Stacey Lynn

This book wasn’t really that good…It just wasn’t. I will fully say that I really enjoyed the beginning of this book. I thought it was written extremely well, not exactly the most unique story, but during it’s beginning, I enjoyed it. But then,then it started to go downhill.

The second half the book was written as if a totally different person wrote it. It sucked. We got all of this useless drama, all of this bad writing. It was horrible, truly horrible. The author just added in all of this useless bickering and issues that made no sense to add to the book. It was going down a good path until petty bickering came into the picture. This is supposed to be adult fiction, not teen pregnancy book.

-Skylar N.

The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck

The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck, one of the most acclaimed authors of America, was written almost a century ago about the Dust Bowl, but still manages to evoke emotion to this day.

The Grapes of Wrath follows the Joad family and some friends, who have lived in one home as farmers in Oklahoma for many generations, but are forced off the land by the government as a devastating drought wrecks the Midwest. They, along with thousands if not millions of other unfortunate families, head to California in search of a better life as fruit pickers, but it’s an extremely difficult journey. With one creaky caravan that can hardly go a hundred miles without breaking down, and very little cash or backup, it’s a risky trip that eventually leads to two family members dying along the way and one deserting. But even when they finally reach the promised land of California, the Joads face discrimination and realize that what the poster advertising the help needed on farms of California didn’t tell the entire story.

Steinbeck has a unique diction and syntax. He often writes a chapter composed entirely of dialogues without quotes and no narration, choosing instead to let snatches of conversations of nameless characters set the mood and paint the scene. It’s very effective, even more so as Steinbeck writes the words as they sound in Southern accent that catches your attention. He is also very descriptive and incorporates a plethora of literary devices. But most importantly, the issues he wrote about are still relevant and relatable today, and the death of a character feels as real as it does in life. The Grapes of Wrath is a very good read and there is no wonder why it’s deemed “the most American of American classics”.

-Michael Z.

The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck is available for checkout from the Mission Viejo Library. It is also available to download from Overdrive for free. 

Grit by Angela Duckworth

The word “effort” shows up often and is used quite often as the main point of a success story. There is often much emphasis on efforts and hard work, but our attitude in accepting good efforts needs a bit of change. Instead, we should also focus on the limitations that were faced. Grit is instead good enough and able to surpass this hollow and overused shell of effort.

This book took a scientific approach from the beginning to the end. I preferred this approach as it is based on research and experimentation. Furthermore, it can be applied for to most part to many peoples’ lives. It is a great and hopeful message that grit is much more important than talent to ordinary people like you and me. This book clarifies that we can develop and improve grit, and proves that our efforts in doing so are important.

This books also opens the discussion about grit and broadens its scope from personal territory to the surrounding environment. If everyone supports and encourages and never gives up and instead chooses to teach others and the next generation about the importance of grit, it will give them a chance to experience its importance in developing more grit in one’s life. The future of society would be brighter.

-Kobe L.

Grit by Angela Duckworth is available for checkout from the Mission Viejo Library. It can also be downloaded for free from Overdrive

Film Review: Avengers Infinity War

Avengers Infinity War was a marvelous work of action, suspense, and many plot twists along the way. The movie would most likely to get an award in at least not just one category. It is about the critically acclaimed Avengers that was first introduced by Marvel Studios in 2012 and was a very good movie fueled by Disney’s purchase of Marvel in 2009, making the Marvel Cinematic Universe an even bigger money maker.

They started with the Iron Man trilogy which was at the time the best Marvel movie until a year later, with Captain America: Civil War. Like Civil War, Infinity War movie was not a happy family gathering. It speaks what the all the trailers where speaking. Something very bad is going to happen in this movie.

As the movie started there was silence when we saw the well done Marvel Studios sign. Usually there is music that introduces us to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. You could already tell from there that it wasn’t going to be pleasant. It also introduced us to the title of Avenger Infinity War first instead of at the end of the movie. Which is not something Marvel does often. That also right there is a key that this movie is going to be something very different about this film.

Now on the bright side, we finally see the Guardians of the Galaxy and the Avengers fighting Thanos’ army which was something that most fans including me have waited for a long time. We have waited for Thanos’s big reveal ever since the end credits of the original Avengers movie. Then again we saw him in Guardians of the Galaxy sitting high and mighty on his chair. Then again we saw him at the end credit scene in Avengers Age of Ultron. As much Marvel teased Thanos I was not disappointing about him. He had a clear motive about what he was doing and I thought to myself maybe is he right.

-Max U.