Where I Live by Brenda Rufener tells the story of high schooler Linden Rose. When you read high schooler, you may have pictured someone who has a typical life with friends, homework, and a family. Linden Rose has all of these things, but no family. Homeless for about a year, she lives at school; no one knows about her secret because she does not want anybody to know. Her two closest friends, Ham and Seung, are under the impression that she lives with her constantly absent Father at a nearby trailer park. Linden works hard in school to keep up her guise in order to have a shot at the future.
Flying under the radar is all she wants to do, and she does just that until she meets Bea. On the surface, Bea is the popular girl everyone admires. However, she comes to school one day with a bloody lip; everyone thinks it is from her boyfriend, but she vehemently denies this. This is hard for Linden to fathom because her place in life is due to domestic violence because of the various men beating up her mother, who eventually died and left Linden to live with her grandma, but she also died. In her gut, Linden knows that she needs to tell Bea’s story, but is unable to do so without revealing some secrets of her own.
This story was an emotional journey, but one thing that the reader will keep doing is rooting for a better life for Linden. Linden is portrayed in a way that she feels to be real, and the reader is able to connect to her. The story was slow-moving, but I do not think there was any other way for the story to be told. By building the story slowly, but surely, the author was able to depict the journey of Linden. I would recommend this book to anyone looking for a book that takes on a different about high schoolers.
– Anmol K.
Where I Live by Brenda Rufener is avaiable at the Mission Viejo Library.
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.
Henry Ibsen’s A Doll’s House is available for checkout from the Mission Viejo Library.
The Authentics by Abdi Nazemian follows almost-16-year-old, Daria. Proudly Iranian-American, she is not ashamed of her heritage, which is different from the clique she and her friends have dubbed as the “Nose Jobs,” whose leader used to be Daria’s best friend. Daria and her friends nicknamed themselves “the authentics” because they see themselves as real and honest. They have a great vibe in their group, and feed off each other very well. Daria’s family is another major part of this novel, and they also love and support Daria. Despite having normal, familial disputes, she values her parents. One day, she is researching her ancestry for a school project and this leads her on a journey that will forever change her life.
This novel had many different aspects, and these all came together in a beautiful way. Family was an important subject in this book, and was depicted realistically by Nazemian. He not only showed the celebrations and happy times of the family, but he included the hardships and troubled times the family faced as well. The way the family changes and grows throughout the course of the novel is done well. More than the family, Daria grew and matured into a young, intelligent lady. Facing hardship, I admired how she did not allow for anything to get to her on her self-discovery. In addition to depicting the coming of age of Daria, the author also includes commentary about Iran that enhances the novel. Overall, this is a great novel and provides the reader with an interesting outlook of life.
The Authentics by Abdi Nazemian is available for checkout from the Mission Viejo Library. It can also be download for free from Overdrive.
ings Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe is a fictional story, but has great significance in the literary world. Published in 1958, the novel follows the Okonkwo, who is one of the leaders of his tribe in the village of Umuofia. In order to obtain such a prestigious position, he had to work twice as hard as the other men because he came from nothing. Okonkwo’s father was lazy and effeminate, according to Okonkwo, and only cared about playing his music. His music did not earn him any money, so Okonkwo resolved to be a better man than his father. His resolve did help him be successful, but it also hurt him because he would not accept any behaviors he considered “weak” and he was quick to anger. This tragic flaw led to horrific events in the novel and an inevitable ending.
Even though, this was a novel I read for school, I enjoyed it because it had a easy-to-follow plot line and an interesting story. Okonkwo was what made the novel interesting because his flaws made the novel intriguing. Despite his negative traits of abuse, quickness to anger, and his lack of empathy, the novel flows and the reader wants to continue reading in order to see where the story goes. Also, the reader starts to pity him because they see the struggles he is facing. The importance of the novel was to depict the exploitation of the Africans by Europeans, but this is revealed through Okonkwo’s actions and feelings. Even though some may be hesitant to read this, I would encourage people of all ages to read it because it has something for everyone.
Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe is available for checkout from the Mission Viejo Library.
Most children dream of becoming astronauts and going to space. Even though most of us do not go to the moon, the dream of going to space is always there. In the book, Waste of Space, the dream comes true for ten teenagers. The production company, DV8, needs a new television show, and they come up with Waste of Space.
The premise is to send ten teenagers to space in a spaceship, where they will live together for an indefinite amount of time, and will have to deal with everybody aboard the ship. In reality, however, the teens will be taken to a sound stage in the middle of the New Mexican desert. DV8 is own by an ambitious, young man named Chazz Young who would do anything for his shows to get views. Working with NASAW (a different group of scientists from NASA), Young is able to produce a show that leaves a lot of people wanting more along with a lot of questions.
Picking this book, I was enticed by the summary of the book. The book is not written like a normal novel because it is a compilation of evidence by an investigator. It is like this because contact with the kids is lost in the middle of their time aboard the “spacecraft.” Initially, I just thought it was going to be a story about the kids finding a way back to earth, but it was different from the typical story about people finding their way home. Instead of being an adventure in “space,” the novel is a mockery of American television and culture. The portrayal of the teenagers and the way Young handles the various issues of his show make fun of reality shows in America, and the seriousness some people have when watching them. Another layer to this story was the mysteriousness of the NASAW organization. This aspect made the story more complex and mysterious. I would recommend this book to anyone looking for a satirical take on America with a layer of mystery and adventure.
Waste of Space by Gina Damico is available for checkout from the Mission Viejo Library.
Dare Mighty Things by Heather Kaczynski is a science fiction novel about a competition organized by NASA among the brightest, gifted young adults from across the globe. One of these great minds belongs to seventeen-year-old, Cassandra Gupta. She has been training for a chance like this for her entire life. She is at the top amongst her classmates, but she must compete and be better among the others, who are of her caliber. The winner of the competition will be chosen to join astronauts on a secret mission.
Cassie is determined to be the one to go on that mission. As part of the training, everybody has to go through various physical and mental tests. Through the competition, Cassie discovers things about herself and others around her. When the time comes to chose someone for the mission, NASA picks someone who, in their eyes, will be the most successful.
The plot of the book was what enticed me to pick up this book to read, and I am glad that I picked it. With a great main character, the book kept me reading it till the end. Cassie is head strong and determined, which is the driving force behind the plot of the book. Also, she is able to keep going past her limitations; this is true, especially when she is in life and death situations. With a surprising ending, this book will be sure to keep you on the edge of your seat.
Dare Mighty Things by Heather Kaczynski is available for checkout from the Mission Viejo Library.
Graceling by Kristin Cashore is a fantasy novel about Katsa, who has been graced with the ability to kill. In her world, there are some who are graced with supernatural gifts and have different colored eyes. Those with useful gifts, such as Katsa, are brought to their King so he can use it. Unfortunately, Katsa is the niece of the King, and is used to intimidate would-be criminals. Engaging in secret espionage to help hinder his actions, Katsa is constantly working with the other members of the court.
On one of her missions, Katsa encounters Prince Po. Graced himself with an amazing ability to fight, Po goes to Katsa’s court. There, they fight together and maximize each other’s capabilities. Katsa has been trying to solve the case of a man she and other members of the court had rescued from another Kingdom. They did not know who had kidnapped him, but soon discover that this man is Po’s grandfather, who Po had been looking for. Working together, Po and Katsa discover the secrets behind both the kidnapping and their graces.
The plot was intricate, but developed into a great story by the end. Katsa is a strong lead, and the development of her character is seen through the course of the story. Initially, she was reticent, but developed into a strong, self-assured character by the end of the story. Po also developed throughout the story, and was a great second character. The plot was simple, and easy to follow. However, there were some instances where it felt stretched out and a little boring, but there were not too many scenes like that. I would recommend this too whomever is looking for a fantasy read with a strong female character.