The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood

I had to read this book for my junior honors society and change book and surprisingly found it interesting. This book was outside my comfort zone but the dystopian society built within the book was intriguing and led me to analyze the true meaning behind the text.

It follows main character “Offred” and her journey into this transformed society and their way of life. People are ranked within certain classes which determine what they contribute to society. She struggles reconnecting with her “past” self and reminiscing about her husband and kid. Having to face a new society with strange workings and rules she expresses her feelings with the audience for them to understand what is going on in the world she lives in.

I think I typically enjoy dystopian realms because I feel immersed within the society and the systems portrayed within the book. I’m aware there is also a tv show for this book but the first episode essentially covers the entirety of the novel. I would say Atwood’s idea into creating this book is absolutely astonishing how someone came up with this idea. I would recommend to high schoolers but those sensitive to strong topics (suicide, sexual assault, violence) shouldn’t look into reading this book!

  • -Madison C.

The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood is available to check out from the Mission Viejo Library. It is also available to download for free from Libby.

It Starts With Us by Colleen Hoover

*the review may contain spoilers

I’m well aware that this is possibly the most basic book I could’ve read but I just had to know what the hype was about. So if you didn’t know, this book is a sequel to Hoover’s It Ends With Us.

If I had to be quite frank, it wasn’t my favorite book because it was just so cheesy. It follows the story of Lily Bloom after her divorce with ex-husband Ryle. The readers see her struggle with motherhood as well as trying to distinguish herself in the love department.

The highly anticipated reveal on Lily and Atlas’ relationship was revealed in this sequel but not in the way I wanted it to play it. Compared to the first book Lily and Atlas’ relationship was sort of unrealistic and all over this place, it didn’t seem to match up to how I envisioned the characters previously. I also though the inclusion of Atlas’ stepbrother was unnecessary although it was heart warming it was a plot that I wasn’t interested in.

Colleen hoover is known for all of her books which I would say are good for first time readers trying to get into romance. However, in my opinion the storylines are overplayed and unrealistic that it’s hard to immerse yourself truly within the book.

I would say if you want to get into romance books I personally would stay away from this book. However, if you just want to get into reading I would recommend this book because it is a pretty fast and easy read to get into.

-Madison C.

It Starts with Us by Colleen Hoover is available to check out from the Mission Viejo Library. It is also available to download for free from Libby.

The Inheritance Games by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

This book was also one of my favorite reads this year due to the sheer fact it’s sort of a different genre than what I normally go for. Typically, I’m a romance reader but this book had such high reviews I checked it out and fell in love.

It revolves around Avery Grambs who randomly inherits billions from billionaire, Tobias Hawthorne. She gets found by Tobias’ grandsons who investigate as to why their late grandfather left this mysterious girl his fortune. We get to see the story through Avery’s perspective and how she views all the Hawthorne brothers.

The plot is nothing like I’ve every seen before and had be intrigued on every aspect of the story. I would recommend to quite literally anyone. Good news, the is a trilogy so the story continues on and only gets better from here.

-Madison C.

The Inheritance Games by Jennifer Lynn Barnes is available to check out from the Mission Viejo Library. It is also available to download for free from Libby.

The American Roommate Experiment by Elena Armas

*this review may contain spoilers

First off, I would like to acknowledge that this book is a “sequel” to Armas’s The Spanish Love Deception so I would read that before reading this book. I LOVED The Spanish Love Deception which urged me to read this sequel. However, it did not live up to the hype and anticipation that was coming from this book.

It follows two characters, Rosie Graham and Lucas Martin who are mutuals between Catalina Martin. Rosie Graham is Catalina’s best friend while Lucas is Catalina’s cousin. They get in an awkward situation when Rosie decides to stay at Lina’s apartment while she is away on her honeymoon not knowing that Lucas was due to stay at Lina’s apartment as well. Instead of moving separate ways they learn to love being in one another’s presence and create a plan to simultaneously live in the apartment with one another.

Rosie has been struggling with her romance writing and looks at Lucas for inspiration for her novels. They begin a fake dating pact to help influence her writing but they end up falling in love for each other, I’m aware it is very cliché. They have one of the most romantic comebacks and have a happy ending.

The reason I said I didn’t really enjoy the book was because it didn’t exceed the expectation I had of Spanish Love Deception. Although I liked the characters, I didn’t feel bonded enough with either of them to fully enjoy the story. One thing I did like was that it was written in a dual POV so I got to see inside both the character’s thoughts and feelings about one another.

-Madison C.

The American Roommate Experiment by Elena Armas is available to download for free from Libby.

Crying in H Mart by Michelle Zauner

*this review may contain spoilers

I actually decided to read this book for my English class because we had to pick out a nonfiction memoir and decided that the cover looked cool. I’m forever glad I choose this book because I’ve never been touched by a book this much.

Michelle Zauner begins talking about her childhood and her association with supermarket chain, H-mart. The story follows along Zauner’s life story and specifically her relationship with her mother. Throughout the book, it’s been evident her mom has been experiencing health complications and Zauner touches back to her Korean roots to feel a connection with her mother. When her mother got diagnosed with cancer and ended up dying shortly after treatments, the readers get to feel Zauner’s emotions and her thoughts while all of these events unravel.

This story had me on the verge of tears especially since I’m also Korean so I felt connected with the author through the various Korean terms and phrases she used. She reminds me of myself and how we connect with our heritage. However, the relationship she had with her mother makes me want to feel more sympathetic towards my family and the time I have with them.

I highly recommend this book for those trying to branch out and look for new genres such as nonfiction memoirs. While reading this book, it felt like I was invading on her personal life but there is always a reason why someone shares their story. Take the message from the story with heart and keep reading!!!!

Crying in H Mart by Michelle Zauner is available to checkout from the Mission Viejo Library. It is also available to download for free from Libby.

Malibu Rising by Taylor Jenkins Reid

Being a big fan of the author and her writing style, let me just say that I throughly enjoyed this book. Set in the beach town Malibu, the book revolves around the Riva family and the epic party they throw every year.

The book switches POVs between characters and establishes a timed setting so the readers know what part of the day they are reading about. The entire book is set in a one day time span and occasional past stories and background info pop up between chapters.

The Riva family has gone through an insane childhood with their dad being famed singer, Mick Riva. Throughout the story you get to know more about each of the Riva kids: Nina, Jay, Hud, and Kit. Love, secrets, and drama arise out of this one eventful day which will forever change the perception of the each members of the Riva family.

This is probably my favorite read of the summer because of how emotionally attached I feel towards the characters and just the way it was written beautifully. Also, it’s the perfect summer book and continually adds more suspense to keep the readers enticed.

Malibu Rising by Taylor Jenkins Reid is available to checkout from the Mission Viejo Library. It is also available to download for free from Libby.

Book Lovers by Emily Henry

*this blog may contain spoilers*

Set in the small town of Sunshine Falls, bustling agent Nora Stephens from New York takes a getaway trip with her sister Libby. Here they decide to make an “epic” summer bucket list of things to accomplish before the trip ends.

Nora continually finds herself meeting Charlie Lastra, an editor from back home who she sees as a rival more than a friend. They begin to grow a loving relationship with one another with ups and downs that is perfectly shown throughout the book.

I’ve read past works of Emily Henry and this new book had me in awe with how well written it was and the banter between the two characters. I also see it to be a pretty reasonable summer read simply on the fact it’s a vacation to Sunshine Falls, North Carolina. Recommending this book to anyone who enjoys a enemies to lovers trope.

-Madison C.

Book Lovers by Emily Henry is available to checkout from the Mission Viejo Library. It is also available to download for free from Libby.

Every Summer After by Carley Fortune

This book is possible my favorite summer read so far due to the incredible organization of the book. Carley Fortune is easily able to move between the present and the past to help tell her story and fill readers in on missing details.

It follows the journey of Persephone Fraser otherwise known as Percy and her life in her new cottage house in Barry’s Bay. Next door lives Sam Florek who quickly warms up to Percy and spend every minute of their summers together. The book follows Sam and Percy growing up in age and the relationship they begin to form over the years.

I will forever be in awe by how many plot twists there were that changed my perspectives on the characters within the book. If you are looking for an underrated summer read I recommend reading Every Summer After. In addition, this is Carley Fortune’s debut novel which she did a FANTASTIC job writing. Always appreciate the new authors that join the community!!! ❤

-Madison C.

Every Summer After by Carley Fortune is available to checkout from the Mission Viejo Library.

Atomic Habits by James Clear

Typically this isn’t the book I would generally want to read because I don’t think it’s entertaining reading about psychological ideas. However, this book came across me when I saw it at my friend’s house and asked to borrow it. The beginning of the book made it to the point where it wasn’t tolerable to read that I ended up sectioning different parts every night for me to read in order to just get it out of the way.

As time went on, I kept an open mind reading this book, to see that the information was only trying to help me. Atomic Habits turned to be one of my favorite reads this year. I’ve learned so many valuable lessons through this book especially how to maintain/break habits.

James Clear cleverly uses athletes, comedians, big brand companies to help the reader get a grasp for how they became so successful. He documents a four step process to make habits more versatile in the daily use: making it obvious, making it attractive, making it easy, and making it satisfying. Just by reading about how to maintain a habit, inspired me to start fixing a routine and lifestyle that best suited me.

If you are interested in a book that can truly changes your perspective of life I recommend reading this book. Habits are more then they seem and help dictate the way you decide to live your life.

-Madison C.

Atomic Habits by James Clear is available to checkout from the Mission Viejo Library. It is also available to download for free from Libby.

We’ll Always Have Summer by Jenny Han

*this review contains spoilers*

This book being the third of a trilogy series, The Summer I Turned Pretty focuses on the summer adventures of Isabel Conklin otherwise known as Belly to those close to her. Since this is the third book, I do recommend reading the first two to truly get a grasp of this book. Conrad and Jeremiah have grown up with Belly their whole lives seeing how their moms are best friends. However, the summer that Belly starts to mature, interest in Belly peaks and decisions for which boy will best suit her come into play.

Conrad, being the older of the two Fisher boys has always thought of Belly to be his younger sister and never thought himself to be anything with Belly. On the other hand, Jeremiah and Belly have always remained close and with Belly’s newfound beauty he sees her for more than being a best friend. Belly in the end chooses to be with Conrad who eventually realizes he’s been hiding how he truly feels about Belly and doesn’t want her to marry Jeremiah.

This was such a great summer read especially since the majority of this book is revolved around the fact it is summer. It helped me embrace there is so much more than just school but also appreciating the time spent with those you love during the summer. I might not struggle with the same boy problems Belly does throughout the book but for the most part it was an interesting journey to follow. I feel as if I’ve evolved with the characters and might even feel emotionally attached.

There’s not much else to say about the book besides that I HIGHLY recommend everyone to read it especially if you enjoy teen romance, love triangles, and coming of age books. If you do decide to give it a read let me know which team you’re on…#teamjeremiah or #teamconrad. Also, this trilogy has an amazon prime series releasing on June 17th for those who are interested in watching!

-Madison C.

We’ll Always Have Summer by Jenny Han is available to checkout from the Mission Viejo Library. It is also available to download for free from Libby.