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Teen Services Librarian at the Mission Viejo Public Library!

The Rithmatist by Brandon Sanderson

rithmatist_brandonsandersonMany years in the future there exists a place, so similar to the world we live in now, but also so different. For in this future world, magic exists. Not magic, exactly, but Rithmatics, the ability to bring chalk drawings and lines to life in fantastic ways. Rithmatists don’t get to decide to master this art, they are given the power at their Inception ceremony when they are young. If one is granted the power, they train for a few years before going off to fight in the Hell-ish land known as Nebrask. If one is not granted the power, they must live their life as an ordinary person, having no connection to this powerful art of Rithmatics, no matter how much they wish to. That is the case for the young Chalkmaker’s son, Joel, who wants more than anything else to master Rithmatics, but is shut out due to his lack of Rithmatic abilities. That is, until Joel finds himself in the middle of a series of strange kidnappings, seemingly committed by a Rithmatist, and he may be the only one who can solve them before it’s too late.

I was very impressed with The Rithmatist‘s ability to not be cliché. Brandon Sanderson does an incredible job leading the reader on to believe something will happen and then creating a completely different turn of events. While this can be disappointing at times, it helps to keep the story from being predictable. Another unique aspect of this book is the fact that there are lessons on how to draw Rithmatic lines in between the chapters, detailing different defenses and attacks, which helped me to picture the story and it’s Rithmatic scenes.

Overall, I would highly recommend this book to people who love Science Fiction or Fantasy, or just books in general, because it truly is fantastic.

Evan G., 8th Grade

The Rithmatist is available for checkout from the Mission Viejo Library.

Passion

There was a time in my life when I talked about books as though they were sustenance, as though they were essential to my survival. I devoured stories and inhaled pages. I vividly remember checking out four, five, six books at time and somehow finishing them all before the two weeks were up. Though that experience is shared with many people, a majority of adults fail to make time for reading.

I often wonder where that passion goes.

To most people, reading is thought of as a chore, or something for the forgotten bottom end of a to-do list. Reading is a fizzling New Year’s Resolution. Reading is a Barnes & Noble credit card but dusty shelves. When people talk about getting back into reading, it is as though they are starting a new project at work, as though they are radically changing their schedules.

New units of time have to be carved out of a schedule, clearly labeled “READ” in blocky black lettering. Books fill shopping bags, along with all the obviously necessary accessories to reading – fancy bookmarks and clip on lights and slogan-laden tote bags – because now, you are a Reader.

There is something lost in this frenzy. In this sort of Oprah’s Book Club, unbroken-spine kind of reading, books are a status symbol.

I find myself in this rut occasionally. Rearranging and rearranging the same shelves with an obsessiveness, buying War and Peace and Les Miserables because they’re the sort of books a pretentious academic like myself should have.

I miss that feeling that all library-bound children have. That feeling that there were an infinite amount of words in the world, and if I only read fast enough, flipped enough pages, then I would be able to drink them all in.

So many people have a desire to read; to become that excited kid again. We want to be the one who’s not only Heard of That, but Read It. We want to know authors and quotes and have worn paperbacks to pass on to friends and family. We want to feel that love and intensity that stories used to inspire.

I truly believe that feeling is still inside every adult today. Maybe it’s buried under stress and deadlines and distraction, but it’s there.

All we have to do is find the right book.

-Zoe K.

Film Review: Light’s Out

I saw Lights Out with some of my friends thinking it would be quite scary, and I mentally prepared myself for the worst. But, after the movie, I was quite surprised on how it was a joke to call Lights Out a ‘horror movie.’

Lights Out is based on David Sandberg’s original short story film from 2013. The story of the movie was quite like a thriller novel. Which leads me to say that I think Lights Out would have been even better, if there was a novel along with it! The film contained many moments where the characters just screams. If this where a novel, the author could show what the character was actually felt on the inside. I think that if there was a book to go along with the movie, that would be even better.

Now, to give my movie review. As I said before, I think it would be a joke to call Lights Out a horror movie, because to me, there wasn’t anything scary! After watching the movie, I happened to catch the trailer again on T.V. and realized a big fact: that all the scary scenes shown in the trailer are all that was in the movie! Another big point: to advertise their movie, if you notice the trailer close enough, the studio suggests that you shouldn’t sit with anyone who would judge you. This makes you think, “Wow! I need to go with my friends because it is so scary!” In my opinion, that is a very clever advertising scheme applied.

Overall, if the movie were a little scarier and a thrilling book to go along with it, that would have made the Lights Out experience a little more scarier to me.

-Satej B.

Harmony House by Nic Sheff

harmonyhouse_nicsheffThis horror story takes place in a old manor in New Jersey. Jen Noonan and her father move to a quiet town to enjoy a fresh start after an unfortunate incident with Jen’s mother. At first, the move didn’t seem so terrible. Jen meets new friends and finds her place among the people. But as her stay at Harmony House continued, it becomes clear that anyone that stepped foot in the house was no longer safe.

The house holds dark secrets which are slowly revealed to Jen in visions and dreams beyond her control. These flashes into the past help her put together the history of the manor and discover how she is connected to it. Towards the beginning, Jen’s father is introduced as a believer of God, and as the story continues he acts in a way that even the main character fights against because it is absolutely ridiculous.

As annoying and extreme as his personality may be, it is crucial to the development of the story, so I painfully endured the character because I was interested to see where it would lead. The book was very well thought out and is a captivating read. I, personally, would not choose to read it again because when I pick up a horror story I expect to be scared and Harmony House didn’t do that for me. However, I would still recommend this story to a mature audience that enjoys this genre.

-Sabrina C., 11th Grade

Harmony House is available for checkout from the Mission Viejo Library.

Country Bride by Debbie Macomber and RaeAnne Thayne

countrybride_debbiemacomberThese novels were published together in a single volume by the title Country Bride.

Country Bride by Debbie Macomber:
As summer approaches its midway point, I find myself scouring some previously unvisited nooks of the library for lighthearted and quick, but meaningful reads. Country Bride by Debbie Macomber met all of these expectations and more.

This book begins when Kate Logan decides to attend her ex’s wedding. Struggling to try to get over her heartbreak on the night of the wedding, she welcomes the emotional support of her longtime best friend, Luke Rivers. However, that night, after one too many glasses of champagne, Kate proposes to him; the next day, Luke refuses to revoke his promise to marry her. Guarded and broken-hearted, Kate must decide whether or not love is worth the feeling of vulnerability.

I recommend this books to fans of Nicholas Sparks, Sarah Dessen, and John Green for its lighthearted, truthful, and cleverly written love story.

Woodrose Mountain by RaeAnne Thayne:
As soon as I read Chapter One, I knew I’d absolutely adore this novel. Centered around the life of former rehab physical therapist Evie Blanchard when she is asked by wealthy businessman Brodie Thorne to work with his severely injured daughter, Taryn. Evie is extremely reluctant to return to her practice, but Brodie is persistent. Determined to get Taryn the rehab she requires, he eventually succeeds in convinces Evie to oversee Taryn’s treatment.

With heartfelt and meaningful underlying themes and captivating characters, I highly recommend this story to fans of House Rules by Judi Picoult, It’s Kind of a Funny Story by Ned Vizzini, or to anyone looking for a good quick read.

-Danielle K.

This two-book edition of Country Bride by Debbie Macomber and RaeAnne Thayne is available for download from Overdrive

Essay: Inevitable Death

In “The Flowers,” by Alice Walker, there are multiple symbols and themes presented throughout the short story. “The Flowers” is a short story about the innocence of a child by the name of Myop. The story starts off with Myop skipping and relaxing under the “warm sun.” Myop starts to explore, the woods behind her house. While she is exploring the woods, Myop picks blue flowers. When Myop circles back to the house, she runs into a strange man. “Myop began to circle back to the house, back to the peacefulness of the morning. It was then she stepped smack into his eyes.” The man is described as “tall”. His head laid beside him. Myop is very curious about the man and she looks around.

After exploring even more, Myop views many limbs and a wild pink rose. The rose is described as wild and Myop adds it to her collection. Finally, Myop laid down her flowers that she picked previously. The short story ends with “the summer is over.” “The Flowers” starts off with a light and happy mood and ends with a dark one.

Throughout “The Flowers,” there are many symbols and themes that are present. The most prominent symbol, would be the flowers. Myop picks a handful amount of blue flowers, the flowers themselves, represent innocence and life. When you pick a flower, it will eventually wither, no matter what, because it has been separated from its roots. Just like life, we all are born one day and we will die one day. There is no exception to this rule.

Another major symbol is the dead man. The corpse relates to the meaning of the flower in a way, how the man was described as tall and big, yet he is dead. The importance of that is, no matter what a person accomplishes, or becomes, will have no bearing on whether or not that person would die. Death is inevitable. “Around an overhanging limb of a great spreading oak clung another piece. Frayed, rotted, bleached, and frazzled–barely there–but spinning restlessly in the breeze.” The limbs show how they were once part of a man, but are now dead, along with the man.

Finally, another major symbol is the summertime. The summertime in the short story shows the innocence of Myop. By the end of the story, the summer ends. The ending of the summertime represents Myop’s transformation into an adult. She lays down the flowers that she had picked up and following that, the end of summer occurs. Which shows that Myop’s days of skipping and picking flowers are done, because she has set down the flowers and faced the hard reality, that life isn’t always fun and games.

-Satej B.

2001: A Space Odyssey Essay

Throughout the movie, many parts led me to believe that David Bowman, in 2001: A Space Odyssey, is most relatable to Odysseus, in The Odyssey. David Bowman and Odysseus relate in many ways. First, David Bowman is emotionless and “cold-blooded,” just as Odysseus is throughout The Odyssey. Second, David Bowman could be described as intelligent and witty, as could Odysseus could be described as well throughout the story. Lastly, David Bowman is strong-willed and strong-minded, which Odysseus is in many sections of The Odyssey.

2001Title6x4

David Bowman could be characterized as emotionless because in order for him to open the emergency latch door to get himself to safety, he lets go of the body of his fellow scientist, Frank Poole, who he recently just picked up. He does this to ensure that he could live because Hal, the “sixth member” and computer on board, malfunctions and doesn’t let David Bowman in with the body of Frank Poole. The body of Frank Poole was held onto by the claws of the pod that David Bowman was in. Since Hal didn’t let David to enter, he had to enter through the emergency landing pod, which had to be opened by the claws of the pod he was in, so without thinking twice, David Bowman let goes of Frank Poole’s body, into space. This shows how David Bowman is completely emotionless and that relates him to Odysseus because when Odysseus returns to find that his maids have betrayed him, he makes them clean up the blood, and then he decides to kill all of them, which I think is completely unfair because he never took a second thought to consider the circumstances that the maids were in. The maids didn’t really have any choice but to betray him. So, this is a reason why David Bowman and Odysseus relate.

Another reason why David Bowman is like Odysseus is because David is intelligent. Throughout the movie, David Bowman shows his smartness in many ways. First, when Hal restricts David from entering, he thinks of another way, and succeeds. David entered through the emergency landing pod. Since he didn’t have a helmet, he had to improvise. He brilliantly lined the door to the opening of the emergency pod landing, then he jumped out grabbing the latch handle to close it. That plan that he made, in a matter of barely any time, saved his life. This is why I would describe David Bowman as intelligent and smart, which would relate to Odysseus too because in order for Odysseus to defeat the cyclops, he used his skilled mind to blind the cyclops and save his crew, quite simply from dying. Another time in The Odyssey when Odysseus shows how he is smart is when he heeds to Circe’s advice to not eat the cattle on the island of Helios.

odyssey_homerLastly, I would relate David Bowman and Odysseus with the trait of strong-willed. David Bowman, shows how he is strong-minded when he continues to Jupiter even though he lost all of his fellow scientists and cutting out Hal.This, to me, shows that he is persistent and will do anything to succeed in the mission. Whether that’s always good, or not, that’s arguable on the situation at hand, and in the circumstances, I would say that it is a good thing that David Bowman in strong-minded and strong-willed to continue to Jupiter. This attribute relates to Odysseus in many ways. Throughout, The Odyssey there were many times where Odysseus showed his courage and his strong mind. For example, when they passed by the Sirens, he sacrificed himself for the crew, he stayed tied to the mast ended up being the first man to survive the Sirens’ song. Also, he shows he is strong-minded when he is forced to stay for seven years at Kalypso’s island. He does end up staying all seven years and then is set free, so his time in the island, shows the readers how strong-willed and strong-minded he can be.

Throughout 2001: A Space Odyssey, David Bowman shows how he relates to his Greek equivalent, Odysseus. First, how emotionless he is when he lets go of Frank Poole’s body into space and how Odysseus slaughters all of his maids. Second, when David Bowman shows his intelligence, quite like Odysseus blinding the cyclops, when he finds another way to enter through the emergency landing hatch. Lastly, David Bowman’s strong mind related to Odysseus when he continues to go to Jupiter, and when Odysseus stays captive for seven years, but “toughs it out.” Overall, out of all the characters in 2001: A Space Odyssey, I would say David Bowman relates to Odysseus the most.

-Satej B.

2001: A Space Odyssey is available for check out from the Mission Viejo Library.