The Language of Thorns by Leigh Bardugo

Have you ever imagined the fairy tales you read as a child having different endings, different villains, different heroes? Have you ever wondered how Ursula became so evil, why kings like to assign three impossible tasks to win their daughters’ hand in marriage, or if the Minotaur was really the monster he was accused of being?

Though inspired by fairy tales, mythology, and classic stories, the six stories in Leigh Bardugo’s The Language of Thorns go beyond the basic tales. They are all short stories written in the style of a fairy tale. Although these stories are set in the same world as Leigh Bardugo’s other novels, they made sense even though I hadn’t read any of her other work (now, after reading The Language of Thorns, I look forward to reading Leigh Bardugo’s other books).

Leigh Bardugo creates such a detailed, beautiful, and sometimes dangerous world, and in it she expands upon and adds her own ideas to well-known tales. These stories are elegant and some are a bit creepy (if I had known this before reading, I may not have picked up the book, but now I am glad I did–I really enjoyed reading this book despite the darker parts), and the excitement of the stories combined with the amazing writing makes the book so hard to put down.

I loved how each of the stories had a twist at the end—maybe the villain in a story was not the same character in the original fairy tale (or someone you hadn’t even considered) or the real source of the conflict was an immense surprise. These stories did not always end with a happily ever after, and although I do like happy endings, this was a refresher from the widely expected endings of fairy tales. It made the stories a bit more exciting and unpredictable.

Some of the parts I loved most about this book were the illustrations and borders created by Sara Kipin. At the start of each story there are one or two small illustrations in one corner or part of the page, and as the story continues, new images that connect to the story are added on to the illustrations. At the end of each story you can almost see the tale in the pictures that make up the border. There is also one big picture at the end of each story that shows a scene in the tale. The pictures are beautiful, so thought out, and I really liked seeing the story show through them.

If you are a fan of fantasy, fairy tales, or even just someone looking for fascinating tales to read, I would definitely recommend this book. Not only is the writing magical and detailed, but the world, characters, and illustrations are so well-developed and seem to fit together wonderfully. However, be warned: in this collection of tales the faint may not always be as they seem, and the real villains may have a story of their own.

– Mia T.

The Language of Thorns by Leigh Bardugo is available for checkout from the Mission Viejo Library.

Shoe Dog by Phil Knight

Shoe Dog is a book about Phil Knight and his journey of eventually creating one of the world’s biggest shoe and sportswear brands ever.

Phil Knight was born on February 24, 1938 in Portland, Oregon. Growing up, Phil was always into running. He would frequently run the many trails around Oregon. Phil was also a key member of Cleveland High School’s track team. One day he decided to take a trip around the world, and that’s where his adventure started. He visited Japan in 1962 and discovered the brand of running shoes that was known as Tiger (Today the brand is known globally as Asics). Phil fell in love with the shoes and wanted to take them back to America to sell.

He got a meeting with Onitsuka and was able to make a contract so that he could sell their shoes in America. Following this, Phil formed Blue Ribbon Sports with his track coach Bill Bowerman. The shoes were very well received and over the next few years Phil and Bowerman opened retail spaces in Santa Monica, California, and Eugene, Oregon. The business was growing very well with profits doubling year after year. Eventually, due to a lack of understanding and repeated issues, Phil and Bowerman split from Onitsuka and formed Nike. Nike’s first shoe, the Cortez, debuted at the 1972 Olympics. The Cortez was an instant hit. It was incredibly popular, and still is to this day.

-Emilio V.

Shoe Dog is available for checkout from the Mission Viejo Library

Film Review: Pele, Birth of a Legend

This movie follows the story of Edson “Dico” Nascimento, better known as the football legend Pele. This movie shows Pele’s life before his illustrious soccer career, back during his childhood in Brazil and eventual lead up to the 1958 World Cup. It shows the trials and obstacles Pele had to overcome before even playing for the National team.

Whether it be because of his mother discouraging him from playing soccer to eventually losing interest in playing soccer at all, Pele’s path to football stardom seemed all but lost. However, and as can be seen in various moments throughout the movie, Pele refused to give up. Determination and undying hope would follow him everywhere he went and would be the fuel pushing him to pursue a career in professional football.

This movie was a heartwarmer, showing his family life as a child, and showing who Pele was. Rather than just knowing him as a really good football player, it showed all the struggles he would face and just how difficult his journey truly was. What can be taken away from this movie is that you should always stay true to yourself and never once doubt in yourself and what you are able to do. Never give up in whatever happens, and no challenge is impossible to overcome.

-Kobe L.

The Giver by Lois Lowry

The Giver is set in a type of utopia. It is about an isolated community devoid of feelings and memories. There is one person however that has all the world’s memories. The Receiver of Memory. The most honorable job in the community.

At the Ceremony of Twelve, Jonas is selected to be the Receiver. Jonas has to bear the pain and joy of all the memories passed down from the previous Receiver. The more memories Jonas receives, the more he wonders why his community has removed these things from people’s lives. Jonas and the previous Receiver, the Giver, come up with a plan to give the memories back to the community. The Giver has a map of what lies beyond the community, so they use that to plan Jonas’ escape.

Once Jonas passes a certain line beyond the community, the memories will be released into the community. Color and feelings will go back to all the citizens in the community. Shortly before his escape, Jonas learns how a Release is actually done. Jonas always thought that the person being released would be taken Elsewhere. It turns out that being Released means to be killed. A new child Jonas has grown close to, Gabriel, is being Released soon, so Jonas decides to take Gabriel with him to save Gabriel. On the night of his escape, Jonas stops by the Nurturing Center, takes Gabriel and leaves the community, starting his journey to the boundary.

Jonas takes a bicycle and rides all day, resting at night. Eventually he makes it to the boundary to a house covered in snow. Inside Jonas can hear singing, and he knows that the people inside are waiting for him and Gabriel. As soon as he crosses the boundary, all the citizens of his community receive memories and feelings.

-Emilio V.

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

Divergent by Veronica Roth

divergent_cover

This is probably one of the most well-read books among teenagers. Personally, I’ve read the series multiple times not just because of its intriguing plot, but because of its interwoven themes that resonate with me every time I read it.

Divergent is a science-fiction novel centered around dystopian Chicago and its society, divided into five factions based on attributes of honesty, selflessness, bravery, peacefulness, and intelligence. The story takes a turn when Beatrice Prior, 16, makes a life-changing decision to live in a different faction. The catch is she must completely abandon her family and strive to fit in a world she is extremely unaccustomed to.

My favorite character is the protagonist, Tris. She is extremely intelligent, brave, and selfless, which is why she is called Divergent. In her society, being compatible for more than one faction is rare, but also dangerous. Tris proves to be exactly that because of her will to see things for what they are and make her own decisions. It was rewarding to watch her develop from a shy, quiet girl into a strong fighter that became a leader.

What made this book great was how realistic it seemed. It was eye-opening to read about a society that is so different from my own, yet not so far-fetched. It makes the reader wonder what it would be like to be a character in the book. And for me, that’s what made this book so good. I definitely recommend reading this book if you haven’t already.

-Meagan A.

The Divergent series by Veronica Roth is available for checkout from the Mission Viejo Library. It can also be downloaded for free from Overdrive

Crispin: The Cross of Lead by Avi

Crispin: The Cross of Lead is about Crispin, a poor boy who grows up shunned. Crispin grows up in Stromford, a manor run by Lord Furnival and the steward John Ayecliffe. After Crispin’s mother dies and he is charged with robbery, Crispin leaves Stromford to go to a different town. On the way he comes across a town in ruins. Looking around, Crispin sees a man in a Church. The man asks Crispin what he’s doing there and where he came from. The man soon claims Crispin as his servant after learning that he escaped from Lord Furnival. The two set off with Crispin not entirely trusting the man named Bear. As the two get to know each other more, they become friends. Soon Crispin learns that he has also been charged with the murder of Father Quinel. Then, in Great Wexly, Bear and Crispin find out that Ayecliffe is also in Great Wexly. Soon after, Bear is captured. He is taken to the Lord’s house. Crispin then decides to rescue Bear and leave Great Wexly. At night, Crispin sneaks into the Lord’s house and tries to find Bear. While looking for Bear, Crispin runs into Ayecliffe. Ayecliffe turns to call the guards, but then Crispin tells Ayecliffe something that makes him pale. He tells him that he is Lord Furnival’s son. Ayecliffe knows it’s true, but tries to dismiss it as a lie. Finally, Ayecliffe gives in and admits to knowing. Crispin uses this as leverage to make Ayecliffe set him and Bear free. Ayecliffe agrees to set them free, but right before they leave Great Wexly, Ayecliffe tries to go back on his word. However his attempt is stopped by Bear killing Ayecliffe. All the guards then back away in fear as Bear and Crispin leave Great Wexly free of any kind of obligations.

-Emilio V.

Crispin: The Cross of Lead by Avi is available for checkout from the Mission Viejo Library. It is also available as a free download from Overdrive

The Name Of This Book Is Secret by Pseudonymous Bosch

The Name of This Book Is Secret is about the mystery of a magician’s house burning down. Cass, an extreme survivalist always prepared for all kinds of disasters, becomes unlikely friends with Max Ernest, a very talkative kid who’s allergic to almost everything. The become collaborators and begin investigating the death of Pietro Bergamo, a magician that died in a house fire. They soon discover The Midnight Sun which is a hotel that restores youth. Cass decides to impersonate a famous person and books a reservation for the hotel. The hotel offers a special kind of treatment that makes a person young forever. As soon as Cass gets to the hotel she starts looking around trying to find out as much as she can. The leaders of the Midnight Sun soon discover her plan and capture her. In the basement she finds Max Ernest who came looking for her. They plan their escape and then proceed to escape with another kid from their school called Benjamin. Cass’s butler Owen also helps them to escape. Right as they’re escaping, the spa burns down. Cass, Max Ernest, Benjamin, and Owen get out safely though. Cass and Max Ernest then get recruited for the Terces Society, and their adventures continue.

-Emilio V.

The Name Of This Book Is Secret by Pseudonymous Bosch is available for checkout from the Mission Viejo Library. It can also be downloaded for free from Overdrive