Movie Review: To All the Boys: Always and Forever

To All the Boys: Always and Forever is the third movie in the To All the Boys… series. It’s a movie also based on the books written by Jenny Han. Throughout the series, Lara Jean struggles between wanting Peter and then having mixed emotions about him. This theme seen in the other two movies carries on into this movie as well. The entire series focuses on Lara Jean growing up and taking responsibility as she matures.

The movie starts off with Lara Jean visiting Korea and continues to spiral into the topic of college. She has to make the decision whether to go to college with Peter or wIthout peter. This movie captures the chaos of making college plans. She slowly discovers who she is and after dealing with rejection from the school she wanted to go to, she takes what she learned about herself and Peter into account when making this decision. 

Overall, I would highly recommend this movie, especially those in high school. It’s such a realistic representation of the struggles of choosing your college. Although that can be intense, this movie does have a lot of light-hearted scenes that create a perfect balance. Rewatching this series is definitely something I plan on doing soon.

-Kaitlyn Y.

The Illuminae Files by Amie Kaufmen and Jay Kristoff

A sci-fi romance filled with adventures, death, and societal issues, what else could you wish for? But seriously, this book/series paved the way for my entrance into young adult sci-fi and I can’t thank it enough. 

While reading this book I cried many a time, both out of anger, frustration, and despair. Needless to say, it was an emotional rollercoaster. So much so that I read every book in a day each and still somehow managed to get absolutely wrecked by them. The plot took so many twists and turns it was almost impossible to get bored. 

A summary of this complicated book is most simply put as, a boyfriend and girlfriend live on a planet, they break up, planet gets destroyed. Once planet gets destroyed they are on an evacuation ship where a plague runs rampant, an AI is trying to “save” the ship but really not, and thats only the least of it. 

Apart form its complicated plot which only explains the premise of the first book, this book is in such a unique format that it is a must read. I see that most people say the audiobook is incredible, but when you listen to it, you don’t get to experience the amount of effort and detail this book possesses through its interactive elements.

I have never seen a book quite like this. The images, the format of the words, is just impossible to describe. The next time you go to a Barnes & Noble, pick up this book and flip through it. Trust me, it is an enlightening experience. How the authors though of this format I will never know, but will forever be grateful for. 

The characters are perfect at adapting and reacting to the horrifying situations surrounding them. And as an extra bonus, they are very cute together. These characters sucked me into the world and what I believe to be the main factor of my emotional attachment to this book. 

Everyone must make space for this book on their shelves, because it is one of the best science fiction I have ever read, and there will never be a dull moment. 

-Asli B.

The Illuminae Files by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff is available for checkout from the Mission Viejo Library.

The Outsiders by S.E Hinton

The Outsiders is a coming of age novel based in the 1960s and written by S.E Hinton. Told in the eyes of fourteen-year-old Ponyboy Curtis, who talks about his gang consisting of Darryl Curtis, Sodapop Curtis, Steve Randle, Keith Matthews, better known as Two-Bit, Dallas Winston, or Dally, and Pony’s best friend Johnny Cade. Sodapop or Soda and Darryl or Darry are Pony’s brothers who are all going through a tough time after losing their parents and having to deal with money issues and the Socs; an abbreviation of Socials, are the rich, peppy kids on the Westside who jump greasers which are the people on the Eastside, and the name of Pony’s gang. Even though all these troubles, this family of three has many friends to help them out throughout the book.

Pony is a bookworm, a movie lover and a daydreamer. Being the youngest in the gang, he grew up thinking that the Socs were all the same and there would be no way that their two groups, the Socs and greasers, can get along. And he goes along believing that but throughout the book, he finds that it isn’t like that. The only way Pony find out the truth is because of his adventure with Johnny. He and Johnny meet two Socs named Cherry and Marcia. After talking with them, he finds that they are different than what he had originally thought they were like. Cherry talks to him and proves that even if they are Socs, their life isn’t perfect, and they have problems like everyone else.

Later in the story, Pony and Johnny have to run away and hide out after a series of events leading to future events and problems. Through this experience, Pony grows stronger bonds with everyone and learns more about what their thought are and what everyone is going through. The same with everyone else. Even though not directly mentioned in the book, it is implied that the people around Ponyboy find out more about him throughout the story too. they grow closer with each other after each hardship they overcome such as their family problems and loss of others. These help the characters grow and realize different things.

In this novel, there are some topics that some may be uncomfortable with such as, alcohol, bullying, depression, death, etc. Even with these topics, this book is a wonderful masterpiece that shows different themes to teach the reader, has interesting characters that pull them in, great storytelling, and a magnificent plot. This book expresses different emotions through each character’s actions giving them a real personality where some people can relate to. It was a quick read, at least for me, and I loved it. It made me feel things that I haven’t gotten from other books. Overall, The Outsiders was an amazing and genuine book that I would recommend to anyone looking for something to read and is okay with the topics discussed inside of it.

-Nicole R.

The Outsiders by S. E. Hinton is available for checkout from the Mission Viejo Library. It can also be downloaded for free from Overdrive.

Unwind Dystology Series by Neal Shusterman

The Unwind Dystology Series by Neal Shusterman contains four main books called, in order, Unwind, UnWholly, UnSouled, and UnDivided as well as two books that are companions titled UnStrung and UnBound. The series is one of many dystopian books that Shusterman has written and the first book was released in 2007 with the most recent being released in 2015. 

The series takes place shortly after the Second Civil War, which was fought between the pro-choice and pro-life people in the United States. The outcome was parents had the right to sign an order for their children between the ages of 13 and 18 to be “unwound” or sent to “harvest kill camps” where their bodies are taken apart and supposedly used to save the lives of others. 

The first book follows Connor, Risa, and Lev who were all sent to be unwound and run away. It then follows them trying to survive while being stuck between the police trying to find them and black market sellers trying to get money off of kids. Throughout the first book, they fight to survive while also meeting other kids who are trying to escape the same fate. The rest of the books in the series follow these three characters and their friends while introducing new protagonists and antagonists with many twists and turns along the way. 

Shusterman uses his writing to illustrate the struggles that teens during this time went through, while being sent away from their families and trying to grow up while still staying alive. Shusterman tries to teach the lessons of growing up and learning who you are in the world as well as what your role is while still being a teenager. This book series would most likely appeal to others who enjoy the dystopian genre. This includes if you enjoyed books such as The Giver, Hunger Games, or Divergent

-Danielle B.

The Unwind series of novels by Neal Schusterman is available for checkout from the Mission Viejo Library. They can also be downloaded for free from Overdrive.

P.A.M.E.L.A Game Review

P.A.M.E.LA produced by NVYVE Studios is a first-person shooter free world game. The game takes place in a future utopian type world. The player explores the new world that they spawn into, looting and defending themselves from different monsters. Some examples are evil robots or zombies.

Each player is given different skills and equipment. Players can unlock shields, swords, guns, etc. that they then use to kill the monsters. When I first spawned, I noticed that the graphics of P.A.M.E.LA  were very well developed and were quite beautiful. On top of that, the music added to the effect of the game, even tho it was quite scary. With the dark and low-light settings, I was very frightened of every little sound in the game.

The monsters themselves were not that scary. There were multiple mobs, such as zombies and killer robots. The play fought off said enemies quite easily, and they were not that much of a threat to the player. In my time of playing P.A.M.E.LA, I only perished once to a zombie.

There were some problems with P.A.M.E.LA that I experienced. The animations of the game were a little bit choppy, and whenever I fought an enemy my character’s fists and animations glitched in and out. I also was very confused about multiple checkpoints and places in the game. For example, the first room that I spawned in did not have any tutorials and did not tell me where to go. I spent the first 10-15 minutes of my gameplay looking at the ins and outs of the game, only to notice there was a small lever next to the door. This lever was the only way out of the room, but I wish there was a notification that told me it was there.

Besides those small errors, I found P.A.M.E.LA  a very interesting and exciting game. From the stunning graphics to the interesting gameplay, P.A.M.E.LA  was a game worthy of an eight out of ten score. I believe that his game is very underrated and I cannot wait to see where it goes.

-Daniel C.

John F. Kennedy’s Inaugural Address

President John F. Kennedy was the thirty-fifth president of the United States. Many know him for being one of the few presidents that were assassinated, pushing the United States closer to beating the Soviet Union in the race to the moon or even having an airport in New York named after him. But something he is less known for is his inauguration speech on January 20, 1961, in Washington DC. This is definitely one of the most remarkable speeches of all time, and president Kennedy addressed many important points in this speech.

President Kennedy repeatedly references what our founding fathers did for everybody’s rights and freedoms in the country. His purpose for this is to give Americans a sense of pride and hope. Kennedy also references how nearly all of the problems in the world were a direct cause of mankind, and that many issues such as poverty and deprivation of basic human rights can all be prevented. Another important point that Kennedy mentions is that if Americans do not work together humbly, then society would fall apart. One line from his inaugural address that clearly shows this is “If a free society cannot help the many who are poor, it cannot save the few who are rich”. 

However, that is not the most famous line from this inaugural address. By far, the most famous line from this address is “ask not what your country can do for you–ask what you can do for your country”. Similar to the idea of Americans working together, Kennedy is telling American citizens that in order for America to be the greatest, most functional, and strongest nation in the world, everybody has to do their part to make America just a little bit better. 

The first line of the preamble in the United States constitution is “We the people…”. Kennedy’s morals stay consistent with this line since when saying “ask not what your country can do for you–ask what you can do for your country”, he is asking Americans, instead of the government, to run society and really make sure that everybody’s voice is heard.

It is no question that John F. Kennedy’s inaugural address is one of the greatest speeches of all time, if not, the greatest. Kennedy’s perspective on what American society should look like not only sets as a great example as a literary masterpiece, but it also is a great representation of what our founding fathers wanted when they were creating the US constitution

-Jeremy L.

You Will Be Mine by Natasha Preston

This novel tells the story of a college student named Lylah. Lylah’s parents died unexpectedly on Valentine’s Day two years ago. Lylah still decided to go to college and had made a great group of friends. One night as Lylah and her friends were getting ready for a party, they hear their doorbell ring. No one was outside but they had left a note. The note said “roses are red, violets are blue, watch your back, I’m coming for you”. They all believe it is a prank and laugh it off. Except the next morning, one of them is missing and a new note arrived saying “your turn”. After discovering their friend dead, Lylah and her friends become terrified that one of them was going to end up dead next.

This novel tells a captivating story and is a quick read. I found myself interested throughout the entire story. You will be frightened for the characters and also just as desperate to figure out who was the killer. The ending is a surprise and is definitely worth reading the entire book. I enjoyed following Lylah’s journey. I definitely suggest reading this novel if you enjoy reading a thriller and would like a book that is not too long.

-Ellie B.

You Will Be Mine by Natasha Preston is available for checkout from the Mission Viejo Library. It can also be downloaded for free from Overdrive.

Black History Month Reading List!

Featured

Greetings!

This is your friendly neighborhood Teen Librarian and I wanted to share that I’ve set up a new page link just above this post. The library’s Teen Advisory Board has put together a list of books, films, and notable figures to celebrate Black History Month! If anything catches your eye, follow the links on the page to put them on hold 😀

Thanks, everyone!

Authors We Love: Jules Verne

Jules Verne was a French author, poet, and playwright. He was born on February 8, 1828 in Nantes, France. He was the author of many popular classics that are still read today by many people in the world. Unfortunately, his writing career didn’t start off as well as he would have wanted. His dad did not support Jules following his dream in writing. He wanted his son to pursue a career in law and become a lawyer. Jules Verne did not want to be a lawyer, he wanted to write novels! 

In 1856, Jules Verne met Honorine Morel at the wedding of one of his old college friends. They later got married in 1857 and had their first and only child in 1861. They named him Michel Verne.  Michel Verne later helped finish writing his father’s stories after Jules Verne passed away. 

Jules Verne is the author of Journey to the Center of the Earth has proven to be one of his most popular books. The story is about a scientist who believes that volcanoes in Iceland have a path that leads to the Earth’s core. So, the scientist and his nephew travel into the caves that led them into the Earth. They take a journey where they find ancient fossils and evidence of huge humans. Then, they make it to the surface by erupting out of Earth inside a volcano.  

He has also written another top classic called Around The World In 80 Days where Phileas Fogg makes a bet to travel the world in 80 days. He takes boats and races through the countries as he works to win his bet. Then, he meets a French servant named Passepartout, who helps him save a princess from India named Aouda. They take Aouda along on their journey around the world. Then, they race to the meeting with the people to see if they won the bet. 

Jules Verne is also the author of 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea is about Captain Nemo and his submarine named Nautilus. He takes 3 passengers on his submarine and they go on an underwater expedition around the world. They face giant squids along the way that try to attack the submarine just like they have attacked ships from all around the world. Captain Nemo and his passengers try to survive the underwater attacks by the squid and try to escape! 

Jules Verne was the author of many popular books that are read by millions of people all around the world. His books have been translated into 140 languages and he is called the most translated author of all time. He gathered ideas and got inspiration for his stories while traveling around France and Europe. 

The French novelist isn’t just a very important and loved author because of his adventurous stories and new ideas, but his books are read because his adventures make readers feel like they are witnessing the adventures themselves. Readers keep coming back to read more of his books because of the ways how his stories make them feel. When I read Jules Verne’s tales, I loved reading because the books made me feel excited and kept me wanting to read more and more. 

Many of Jules Verne’s books were about traveling and exploring the world. In books like Around The World In 80 Days, 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea, and A Journey To The Center Of The Earth, are all books that include traveling whether it is on Earth’s surface, or underwater. He mainly wrote science fiction books combining world science and his creativity to make amazing stories filled with action and adventure. 

In 1886, Jules was shot in the leg by his nephew, and that bullet stayed there for the rest of his life. For several months, Jules had to rest and put his leg up. Fortunately, he was able to walk with a cane months later he was shot. Later when we was 77, in 1905, Jules Verne suffered a stroke and was never able to recover. He sadly died on March 24, 1905.

-Mert A.

The works of Jules Verne are available for checkout from the Mission Viejo Library. They can also be downloaded for free from Overdrive.

Be More Chill By Ned Vizzini

Are you a teenager who feels like they don’t fit in, or like you aren’t cool enough to date your teenage crush?  Do you run with the geeky crowd but pine away wanting to be a part of the popular crowd?  Do you need to be more chill? If so, this is the perfect book for you.  Be More Chill was published June 1, 2004 by American author Ned Vizzini.  It is a modern take on the perils of what can happen when you are not true to your authentic self.  Be more Chill is a hilarious yet mature read with adult themes that is not appropriate for all teens.  However, Vizzini’s message is attention-grabbing, so much so that Be More Chill was adapted as a musical with original music and lyrics by Joe Iconis.  Be More Chill, the musical, premiered off Broadway in 2015, followed by a Broadway run in 2018.  Unfortunately, plans for London and Chicago productions have subsequently either been cut short or cancelled due to the Covid 19 pandemic.  

Be More Chill (Broadway Tie-In) by Ned Vizzini, Paperback | Barnes & Noble®

Ned Vizzini’s novel, Be More Chill, is a story about a highschool boy named Jeremy Heere.  Jeremy is an outsider and a loser amongst his popular classmates.  He is bullied and picked on by his peers and has only one true friend to console him, Michael Mell.  Michael is also part of the loser crew but unlike Jeremy he is happy, content, and comfortable with himself.  Jeremy dreams of dating his crush Christine Canegula, but unfortunately cannot work up the nerve to approach her.  Jeremy obsessively looks for a way to get Christine’s attention without making a fool of himself.  Despite his notion that signing up for the school play is a “sign-up sheet for getting called gay,” he decides to go for it as a ploy to get Christine’s attention.  He quickly learns that Christine’s focus is on the school play and not on Jeremy.  Hurt and defeated, Jeremy is vulnerable to taking advice from his worst enemy and tormenter, Rich Goranski.  Rich gives Jeremy a “get cool quick” scheme.  Rich tells Jeremy about a top secret experimental pill created by Sony called a SQUIP (Super Quantum Unit Intel Processor).  Rich explains that the pill size supercomputer can teach you how to be cool and convinces Jeremy that, if he swallows the SQUIP pill, he will no longer be a loser.  Jeremy gets his hands on a SQUIP and mayhem ensues.   Jeremy finds himself the popular center of attention.  He attends all the cool parties and finds himself making out with all the hot girls.  At first Jeremy loves reaping the benefits of the SQUIP, but soon he learns that being cool isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.  Bad behavior has lasting consequences.  At risk of losing his best friend and losing  any chance of connecting with the girl of his dreams, Jeremy has to make tough decisions and repair the damage that his SQUIP intoxication creates.   

Amazon.com: Be More Chill (9780786809967): Vizzini, Ned: Books

Be More Chill is a satire of the teenage high school experience as told from the perspective of an overly awkward, dorky, and anxiety-prone Jeremy.  It is mostly hilarious because Jeremy’s character is over exaggerated to the point of being almost ridiculous.  In some ways the story is sad because Jeremy is so paralyzed by his lack of self esteem that he can’t approach the girl he loves and is willing to trade his best friend for being cool.  He seems pathetic.  The concept of a pill sized super-computer as the “drug of choice” for transformation is interesting especially as it reveals to Jeremy that we do not win when we are not true to ourselves.  I feel like this is a lesson we all know and have read and re-read from a variety of perspectives. Ned Vizzini couches his version of the lesson in mature themes including drugs, sex, and violence that are at times shocking and disturbing.  That someone thought to turn this into a musical seems equally as shocking but also brilliant.  Unfortunately, the novel’s end is abrupt and a disappointment, as there is no real redemption for Jeremy.  The reader is left feeling that Jeremy has really learned very little and is still, unfortunately, a loser. 

-Johnson D.

Be More Chill by Ned Vizzini is available as a free download through Overdrive.