Book Review: Carry On by Rainbow Rowell

If you like Harry Potter, I have a feeling that you would like this book. Carry On by Rainbow Rowell is a fantasy story, love story and a mystery. The book is set in the final year of magickal school for the main character Simon Snow and other leading characters. The book switches between the perspectives of a few other characters with some being Baz, Simon’s roommate/enemy, Penelope or Penny, Simon’s best friend, and Agatha, Simon’s ex-girlfriend. Simon is known as the Chosen One who has to destroy the Humdrum, an evil being destroying the magickal world. That was the one thing Simon had to do, but when a ghost visits his room in the middle of the night, his life gets a bit more complicated. Now he and Penelope group with Baz to help solve the murder of Baz’s mother while still figuring out how to defeat the Insidious Humdrum.

I remember hearing about this book from videos on Harry Potter. They all hyped this book up so much saying how much they enjoyed it which made me excited to borrow it. I was not disappointed. I smiled so much while I was reading this book. There were many different twists in the book and in some of them I could already predict what it would be, but when I got my prediction right, it gave me a kind of satisfaction from getting it right. Whenever I put down this book, I would always want to pick it back up again and continue reading. And when I finished the book, I was filled with a kind of bitter-sweet feeling. I didn’t want the book to end but felt happy finishing it anyways. I loved the enemies-to-lovers trope depicted with the characters and I loved how the story developed. There were so many diverse characters that were fun to read. The main characters had  their own personality that I will never forget. The chemistry between all the characters was wonderful and they worked together. 

This story includes mature language and talks about different types of relationships. This book had everything I was hoping for and more. It had mystery, an angsty past, romance, magick, and even some comedy. The spells they cast were so clever and it had many references to modern things. The story was exciting and addicting. I enjoyed it so much I finished it in only a few days. Though I was sad that this book was over, I am very happy to say that Carry On is only the first book of the Simon Snow trilogy and I already have the second book, Wayward Son, on hold right now. 

-Nicole R.

Carry On by Rainbow Rowell is available for checkout from the Mission Viejo Library. It can also be downloaded for free from Overdrive.

Game Review – Detroit: Become Human

Detroit: Become Human is an exhilarating action-choice game with many different results and different scenarios. The plot of the game follows three different stories each following three different characters. The game is set in the futuristic world where androids, robots who look, talk and act human are created and are able to do different things that humans can also do. 

We are first introduced to Connor. He is the android sent by Cyberlife. Connor was designed to investigate and deal with deviant androids. Deviant androids are androids that have deviated from their programming and programmed behavior. Then we meet Kara. Kara is a household android who is to take care of her buyer’s daughter, Alice. Her story goes through many troubles to keep her and Alice safe after she escapes Alice’s father, Todd’s, grasp. And then, we are finally introduced to Markus. He is a caretaker of Carl Manfred, a famous painter. But after a certain set of events, he must learn to survive himself and help the android race.

I had been wanting to play Detroit: Become Human for a while now, after watching many play-throughs on YouTube. Then I finally got it and I played it for the first time. I was so excited and my excitement never faded throughout playing the game. There are so many choices you can make in Detroit: Become Human and so many endings you can get from the choices you make. All the choices you make in the game can have an impact in the future of the game. I personally got an ending I didn’t exactly want but that’s what makes it fun. You get to play the game over and over and make different choices and different results.

I have seen some haters of the game, but I think they aren’t seeing the bigger picture. I will say that it is a bit unrealistic in some parts. For example, changing people’s opinions about a huge issue in the world in just three days is unrealistic and improbable. But some say that Kara’s story is completely useless and can be taken out of the game completely; but I disagree. Kara’s story is important because it is a perspective of an android who doesn’t exactly play a huge role like Conner and is a leader like Markus. Kara just wants to survive like other normal deviant androids. So we get to play and see through the perspective of a normal deviant android and what can happen to them. 

This game does have very mature language and some mature scenes so just keep that in mind if you ever want to play this game. I’m only currently on my second play-through of the game and am hoping to get a better ending this time around and will probably play it over and over again until I complete the story entirely. I don’t play games very often, other than Lego games and Kingdom Hearts, but I really enjoy this game and love playing it. 

-Nicole R.

Book Review: Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson

Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson follows a young boy named Jess Aarons who aspires to be the best and fastest runner in the whole fifth grade. One day, a new family is moving into the old Perkins home and Jess meets the young girl, around his age, who is moving in with her family to the country. Leslie Burke is a city girl. She is strange to others, they say she dresses weird and she isn’t like all the other girls. Leslie and Jess then become friends over time during school. They talk about things and enjoy each others’ company. They spend their days together hanging out and they even create their own secret and special place just for themselves. A place where they can just be themselves and have fun together called Terabithia.

Together they ruled Terabithia, letting their imaginations roam free in their kingdom. On one morning, an upsetting and horrible accident strikes for the two kids. But because of this event, Jess gains the courage and strength to move forward. It shows Jess that he could be more than he thought he could be and it gives him a new goal and reason for living.

This story was beautifully written. The characters had great chemistry with each other and worked well. All characters, including the side characters, were well written and enjoyable even if we didn’t get to interact with them as much. The ending was unexpected and abrupt which I thought brought more impact on the story; especially since the accident can easily happen just like that in real life. Warning! This book is better for more mature readers because of the topics it will go over. Overall, I enjoyed this story very much even though it was a quick read. Even in such a short story, it got me attached to the characters and impacted me hard. I really enjoyed it and would recommend to those who would be interested.

-Nicole R.

The Bridge to Terebithia by Katherine Paterson is available for checkout from the Mission Viejo Library

Book Review: The Maze Runner by James Dashner

The Maze Runner is the first book of the Maze Runner trilogy written by James Dashner and published in 2009. The Maze Runner follows the main character Thomas. Thomas wakes up in an elevator, called The Box, along with animals and other shipments, without any memories of anything except his name. When the box stops moving, the light shines in showing silhouettes of teenage boys all staring down at him. He meets Newt, Alby, Minho, and Chuck who show him around the Glade which is the area in the middle of the large Maze surrounding them.

Around them is the Maze with four doors into the maze that close at night. Thomas wants to become a runner like Minho. Runners run through the Maze and map it trying to find a way out. At night, monsters called Grievers roam the Maze and after Thomas saves Minho and Alby when they get stuck in the Maze overnight, he becomes a real runner and makes more progress than anyone else. Shortly after, a girl in a coma known as Teresa arrives along with their last shipment. Everyone becomes suspicious of Thomas since all the strange happenings start when he arrives. But when everything changes, Thomas and his new friends try to solve the Maze and find a way out.

The Maze Runner is a dystopian science fiction young adult novel that includes an interesting story making you want to read the next book to find out what happens next. It’s a thrilling and suspenseful book that gives unexpected twists and turns with the characters. Each character acts the same and have the same beliefs as each other but, have small differences shaping their personality. The descriptions of the characters also help shape them in a way for the reader to envision them properly. Some of the characters are a bit bland but the other characters are very likable. My favorite character is Newt because of his personality,how independent he is, and how he keeps everything in place.

The Maze Runner has an interesting story which includes different mysteries that need to be solved. It is intriguing and sucks you into the story. I was excited and wanted to read this book for a little while after hearing how much people liked it but was somewhat hesitant after also seeing some bad reviews. It was fun to see secrets unfold and the mystery of the Maze come to light. Even though the book was a bit slow at times and ends in a cliff hanger, it was well written and I still thoroughly enjoyed the book and am looking forward to reading the next book in the series, The Scorch Trials.

-Nicole R.

The Maze Runner by James Dashner is available for checkout from the Mission Viejo Library

Life As We Knew It by Susan Beth Pfeffer

Life As We Knew It by Susan Beth Pfeffer is told in journal entries that sixteen years old Miranda Evans makes. The book is set in a suburban city in Pennsylvania where Miranda and her two brothers and mother live. Her straining friendships, falling grades, and the fact that she is going to be a godmother to Lisa’s, her step-mother, and her father’s child are her major issues. But when the predicted asteroid hits the moon, it causes the moon to move closer to the Earth disturbing the Earth’s gravitational pull. This causes earthquakes, and tsunamis in various parts of the world causing many casualties. Now Miranda and her family have much more to worry about than her school life. The story becomes a survival story and they have to get through these hard times even with volcanoes erupting out of nowhere and very deadly mosquitoes.

Life As We Knew It could be a very relatable story to others in the way Miranda and her family act. It can really make you think of what you would do in their situation and how you would handle it. It makes me think about how grateful I am that I am not going through their situation. The theme of the book is survival. Miranda and her family works hard in the book to stay alive and get through everything together. They stick together through everything and work things out. I really loved their dynamic and how they acted with each other. Their personalities had their own flair that made them stand out from each other. Life as we knew it is an emotional story and it can make you rethink things in life and I really liked that aspect of it.

Overall, I very much enjoyed this book and would definitely recommend it to anyone, especially if they like dystopian stories. Life As We Knew It is the first book out of the four in the series and I would love to read the next in line: The Dead And The Gone.

-Nicole R.

Life As We Knew It by Susan Beth Pfeffer is available for checkout from the Mission Viejo Library. It can also be downloaded for free from Overdrive.

The Giver by Lois Lowry

The Giver by Lois Lowry follows a young boy named Jonas and the rest of his community. They all live in a utopia, a place that is perfect and everything is the same. A place where there is little conflict and problems. In the community, they know no pain, no loss; everyone is kind and respectful and everything is fair. When Jonas turns twelve, he is assigned the job as the new Receiver. He must undergo training from the Giver who passes on memories to Jonas of real pain, true anger, love, and things they have never seen or felt before in the community. These memories change Jonas and his beliefs. He changes and begins to feel true emotions and starts to see things differently. Once Jonas starts to realize the truth behind their perfect world, Jonas fights for what he thinks is right and takes a stand.

The Giver explores themes like individuality and the ability to choose. It shows that being different can be a good thing and it isn’t always enjoyable to be the same as everyone else. It also expresses that being able to choose something is important even if the thing being chosen isn’t important, it’s the fact that you get a choice that is important. I liked how the author portrayed the memories and the emotions in them. The author described them in an amazing way which made it interesting. There were small twists and reveals in the book, but nothing too big which made it simple.

I liked Jonas’ character development in the story. I like how he made his own decisions and created his own opinions unlike earlier in the story. Jonas decided to choose what he wanted to do instead of following what everyone else does and I really enjoyed him in the story. All the other characters were also enjoyable. I especially liked Asher; Asher was a funny character and stood out from the rest as he made mistakes and liked to have fun. Another thing I like about The Giver was how there weren’t many filler chapters; it was always straight to the point and explained things well. The Giver was a good short book and I really enjoyed it.

-Nicole R.

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

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.