About Izzy W.

Hello, I am Izzy Walsh. I am 12, 6th grade, and she/they

Keeper of the Lost Cities: Exile by Shannon Messenger

This second installment of Shannon Messenger’s 9 (soon to be 10) book series starts with Sophie and her adoptive father Grady going on a hunt for a Sasquatch. Sophie uses her incredible telepathy to listen for nearby thoughts, and soon she hears a few panicked words. She and Grady are in pursuit, but she stops him when she realizes they are scaring him away. They make it to a clearing, and then they see it; an Alicorn. Alicorns are an endangered species in the Elvin world, with only one left. Until Silveny came along.

This book has everything; a magical being that is being threatened by the rebels (Silveny the Alicorn), a mental healing that went wrong, a loss felt by the world, and a bit of sparkly poop mixed in too. I highly recommend reading this book, it shows amazing action that will have you on the edge of your seat. Even though there are action and stressful situations, there is still a funny side to it. Keefe jokes, Sandor and Grizel being so over-protective it’s funny, and some funny Councilor jokes too. I give Exile 10/10 because it has everything you could ever want in a fantasy book.

-Izzy W.

Keeper of the Lost Cities: Exile by Shannon Messenger is available for checkout from the Mission Viejo Library. It can also be downloaded for free from Overdrive.

My Dear Hamilton by Stephanie Dray & Laura Kamoie – Book Review

This narrative by Stephanie Dray and Laura Kamoie was made by compiling the hundreds of letters written to and from Eliza and Alexander Hamilton. It starts with Eliza in her early twenties, a few months before she met Hamilton. She talks about her childhood and growing up in a conflicted nation. Her older sister (contrary to what the musical says), eloped at an early age and had a 2-year-old child before Hamilton arrived in the States. The book then splits into four sections:

1- A War for Independence. The first section begins with “I was someone before I met Alexander Hamilton.” This foreshadows her becoming a whole new person during the American Revolution, and how helping Hamilton with politics helped her in the long run.

2- A War for Peace. Eliza, having had a child of her own, Eliza helps Hamilton and James “Jemmy” Maddison with writing the Federalist Papers and trying to keep her kids out of the chaos that ensued after the revolution (Maria Reynolds has entered the room).

3- The War of Words. After just barely surviving Yellow Fever, Eliza and Alexander made up and no longer had issues. He builds her a giant house called the Grange, and she raises a few more children. She soon discovered that her second born, Ana, has some severe mental issues after witnessing her adopted sister leave. The Hamiltons try to ignore her problems, but some of them are too large to overlook.

4- A War for History. This final section talks about Hamilton and his son Philip’s death, and what she does afterward. Her sons all joined the revolt in the war of 1812, and Angelica’s sad death created a ripple effect that almost shattered her perception of her family (read the book to find out what happened)!

-Izzy W.

My Dear Hamilton by Stephanie Dray and Laura Kamoie is available for checkout from the Mission Viejo Library. It is also available for download for free from Libby.

Neverseen – Keeper of the Lost Cities by Shannon Messenger

In the fourth book of this series, our main character Sophie and her friends escape to the Black Swan, having just figured out that there is a second rebel group (aka the Neverseen). To keep their families safe and avoid the Council’s punishment, they leave. Upon getting to the Black Swan’s hideout, they meet an old gnome named Calla. She tells Sophie that she helped make her during the experimental stage of her creation. She also talks about a plague that has been killing gnomes. Sophie, (being the curious girl she is), decided to do some research. Mr. Forkle has other plans. He wants to only use this time to read and research. Nobody liked that idea (especially Dex and Keefe)!

This is one of my favorites in the series. It has the best ending so far, and it is tense (but still exciting). I can see major character development within all of the characters, and it is when many memorable actions happen. Some of which are Fitzphie jokes, meeting the twins Tam and Linh, plus some miniature showdowns with various different people. I very highly recommend reading this series, you can get very invested in the series quite quickly.

-Izzy W.

Neverseen by Shannon Messenger is available for checkout from the Mission Viejo Library. It can also be downloaded for free from Libby.

Keeper of the Lost Cities: Everblaze by Shannon Messenger

Everblaze, the third book Shannon Messenger wrote for this series (and the first one with a heart-wrenching cliffhanger, might I add), was the book Sophie found out her enemies were closer than they seemed. It begins with Sophie getting a request from the Council to heal Fintan, the leader of the now-named Neverseen. Fintan used to be on the Council, but after the Pyrokisis “incident”( involving 5 Pyrokinetics and some Everblaze), he was banned. Sophie and Keefe then go to check on Silveny, the sparkly alicorn.

They happen upon a tracker in her tail and immediately rush back home. A few days after, Sophie’s Linguistics Mentor Lady Cadence figures out that the tracker had Arrowmark on it. Arrowmark is an ogre technology/bacteria that is a homing device for their weapons. All of the school had to then be tested, and Sophie’s hand skin needed to be melted off (very gross, sadly it happens more than once).

With the 9th/10th book (Stellarlune) coming out in November, I re-read this series a lot. Each time, a find more details and funny moments I never knew were there. I recommend everyone to start reading this series, it is great fun and a good way to spend your spare time.

-Izzy W.

Keeper of the Lost Cities: Everblaze by Shannon Messenger is available for checkout from the Mission Viejo Library. It can also be downloaded for free from Libby.

Keeper of the Lost Cities: Flashback by Shannon Messenger

Shannon Messenger’s (soon to be 10) book series called Keeper Of The Lost Cities is a series about a 12-year-old girl named Sophie Foster who finds out she is an elf. She goes through many tribulations (with and without companions), makes and loses friends, and tries not to get killed when she leaves the safety of those she trusts.

In Flashback (the seventh installment and the book I’m reviewing), Sophie goes to a hearing for one of the Neverseen (the bad guys). The elf on trial, Alvar, was a spy from the most prestigious family, the Vackers. Since elves have an indefinite life span, the entire Vacker family was there. Also, there were Sophie’s best friends Fitz and Biana Vacker (siblings), and Keefe Sencen, whose mother is the leader of the Neverseen. Alvar claims that he has no recollection of anything, and he wants to prove himself worthy of earning everyone’s trust back. The Council (the governing system of the elves, consisting of 12 members) rules Alvar half-guilty for reasons of amnesia. Fitz (and his anger issues) finds this completely wrong and sore, so he stomps out of the trial chamber. Sophie follows him to a desert cave, where they start to train with weapons. 

As not to spoil the book, I won’t summarize anymore, but I give this book a 10/10. It is a fabulous book to read, and I highly recommend it to anyone who likes fantasy/fiction.

-Izzy W.

Keeper of the Lost Cities: Flashback by Shannon Messenger is available for checkout from the Mission Viejo Library.

The Tower of Nero – Book Review

The Tower of Nero is the final installment of Rick Riodan’s most recent series called The Trials Of Apollo. In the last book, Apollo travels with his 12-year-old master/companion Meg, who is the daughter of Demeter. They both get jumped by an old friend of Meg’s, Lu. Lu helps them escape from the Germani, who were sent by Nero to capture them. They then get the 2nd line of Apollo’s final prophecy. It tells them to go to the place of the “7 layer dip” (Percy Jackson’s house). Turns out Percy isn’t home, and Lu, Apollo, and Meg instead just stay the night and plan to go to Camp Half-Blood in the morning. They take a ride on the Gray Sisters Taxi and make it (barely) to Camp Half-Blood. Meg went off to the Demeter cabin, Lu decided to go explain what happened to Nero, and Apollo gets a visit by Mr. D and his son, Will, before promptly collapsing.

As not to spoil the ending of this fantastic book, I’ll have to stop the review here. But, If you appreciate mythology books (or just fantasy books), I highly recommend reading this series. It is packed with many emotional moments and fun easter-eggs from his other books.


The Tower of Nero by Rick Riordan is available for checkout from the Mission Viejo Library. It can also be downloaded for free from Overdrive.

Everything You Need to Ace World History in One Big Fat Notebook

This book covers the social studies units from 6th to 8th grade. It starts off with 6th grade, covering prehistory and the Paleolithic era. It overviews hunter-gathers, early society, and the beginning of the domestication of plants and animals. Then we move onto the Neolithic era, where hunter-gatherers slowly become unnomadic. They begin to live in villages and alter land to their needs. This becomes the Iron Age when people started to smelt iron, copper, gold, and other ores. The Iron Age is also when early civilizations spring up like Mesopotamia (Sumerians, Akkadia, and Babylon), Ancient Egypt, Bantu, Kush, Phoenicia, Israel, Jerusalem, The Indus River Valley, Maurya Empire, Ancient China, Ancient Greece (Athens, Sparta), and Ancient Rome. The book intricately explains how each civilization had its own impact on everyday culture. Next, the book covers the Middle Ages (including the Byzantine Empire, Islam, Aztecs, Mayans, Medieval India, China, Medieval Japan, Middle Age Europe, and the European Crusades). The Middle Ages goes from 400 CE to 1500 CE. Next comes the Renaissance and Reformation (1350-1650) and the Age of Exploration (1400-1800). 

The Age of Exploration was when Columbus discovered America, and this lead to the Revolution and Enlightenment in Europe (1500-1865). This is included revolutions in science, math, monarchies rising and falling, the U.S revolution, the French revolution, the U.S civil war, the industrial revolution, and the Women’s Rights Movement. Next comes the Era of Imperialism (1800-1914). This was when Africa became a popular colonization spot, when Japan modernized, and the Spanish-American War. That leads to world conflict including WWI, The Great Depression, Political Shifts, and WWII. Finally, we have Post WWII – Today. This final unit covers the changes in Europe, The Cold War, Independence Movements, and Global events. 

This book has helped me a lot during essays and narratives we have to make in class. It is a great read, despite essentially being a glorified notebook. This book also has definitions, diagrams, drawings, and vocab words you might need to know. To sum it up, the book Everything You Need to Ace World History in One Big Fat Notebook (by the people who made Brain Quest) is an amazing history study guide from grades 6th-8th. Whether it is for fun, or if this book sounds like it would be helpful, I recommend reading this book.

-Izzy W.