Musical Review: Les Misérables

This past week, I went to go see a school musical with my parents. Since this musical was set around the French Revolution, I watched the movie musical with Hugh Jackman, Amanda Seyfried, Anne Hathaway and more. I was very excited to see the musical and had very high expectations. The show was about 2 1/2 hours, which didn’t seem that long.

The musical/story, in short, is about a man, Jean Valjean, who was sentenced to 19 years in prison for stealing and attempted escapes. He is eventually released. Many years later, we see him again but as a totally new man-the mayor of the town. He takes in young Cosette whose mother, Fantine, passed from fatigue, stress, and an unidentified disease. Years pass once again, and it’s right before the French Revolution.  By now, Cosette is now much older and is courted by Marius. Jean Valjean can feel his life slowly slipping away from age and decides to go on a “vacation” so that Cosette doesn’t see him passing. He sees the ghost of Fantine and walks with her to see all the people who died in battle, and there the musical ends.

The actors were incredible! All of them could sing so amazingly and had so much emotion evident in their voices. The set designs were on point, all the costumes were so beautiful, and the orchestra pit played so wonderful and added more color to the story. There weren’t any negative opinions that I heard the next day, and I think overall the musical was an amazing success. This was my first school musical and is definitely going to be remembered for a long time.

-Phoebe L.

Les Miserables, in all its formats, is available for checkout from the Mission Viejo Library

Keeper of the Lost Cities by Shannon Messenger

If you enjoyed reading books like Harry Potter, Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief, and many more, then you’ll probably enjoy this book series. The first book, Keeper of the Lost Cities, is about a young girl named Sophie Foster. But, the twist on this story is that she can read minds.

Sophie first received her powers from an accident when she was five years old. After the accident, her life was changed forever. Now she had the ability to read minds and have a photographic memory. Because of her amazing memory, she was able to be a senior in high school at only age 12! She always knew something was special about her

At a field trip to the museum, Sophie runs into Fitz, who is an elf. He had a mission, which was to find the girl with blonde hair and brown eyes. Fate must’ve been on his side because he was able to find Sophie. He took her to the “Elvin World” where she got to see fascinating creatures and animals that are extinct in the “human world”.

This book series is action-packed and great for kids who just want an easy but entertaining book to read.

-Phoebe.L

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

Film Review: Wonder

Recently, I watched the film Wonder which is told through four points of view: Auggie for most of the movie, his older sister Olivia, or “Via”, her friend Miranda, and Jack Will, a boy that will be revealed later on. The story is about Auggie who has a facial deformity. Because of this, he was homeschooled his whole life. However, his mother thinks that since he’s going into the fifth grade, which is the start of middle school, he should attend a public school. Before school starts, he meets Julian, Charlotte, and Jack Will. Finally, the first day of school rolls around. However, it doesn’t go too well for Auggie since all the kids avoid him like the plague. Soon, he becomes friends with Jack Will.

Auggie’s favorite holiday is Halloween. It’s his favorite holiday because he can wear a costume where no one can see his face. The day before Halloween, Auggie tells Jack that he’s going to dress up as Boba Fett. But, his dog Daisy threw up on his costume, causing him to reuse an old Ghost Face costume. However, a secret ends up being revealed causing Auggie to freak out at school and having to come home. He’s so upset that he even doesn’t want to go trick or treating. His sister ends up convincing him to go by giving him some of her candy. Throughout the movie, Auggie is tormented mainly from Julian and his “gang”. Some of the things were seriously messed up like photoshopping Auggie out of the class photo!

As the movie progresses on, we see the different obstacles everyone faces, like a loved one passin and someone’s first main role in a play.

This film has some great laughs, friendship, some romance, and some tears. This movie changed the way I see the world and how I see others a little. If you’re looking for a great movie to watch, I recommend the movie, Wonder. On second thought, read the book first, because the books are always better than the movies (sometimes).

-Phoebe L.

Film Review: The Pursuit of Happyness​

After watching the movie The Pursuit of Happyness, I began to realize how important it is to never give up and always keep on trying. This movie is actually based off of a true story which made the movie even cooler to watch. The movie is set during the 80’s in San Francisco. It revolves around Chris Gardner, portrayed by Will Smith,  who spent his life savings on portable bone density scanners. Throughout the movie he’s seen going from doctor to doctor, attempting to sell at least two each month, while taking care of his five-year-old son Christopher Jr. who’s played by the young Jaden Smith. However, it’s not as easy as it seems, as Gardner is constantly rejected by doctors. With the difficulty of selling the machines each month, the constant financial demand begins to put a wall up between Chris and his wife Linda. Gardner eventually lands an internship with Dean Witter Reynolds to be a stockbroker. This immensely displeases Linda even more, which causes her to make a decision to move away to New York. This leaves Chris, a now single-dad, to take care of his son. Since they don’t have enough money to pay the rent of their house, they’re forced to move out. They end up staying in different places like a motel, a homeless shelter, and even a restroom at a BART (subway) station. In the end, Chris ends up getting the job at the company to be a stockbroker and ends up forming his very multimillion-dollar brokerage firm.

This movie shows the struggles that people face every day, and it taught me to never give up, no matter what the obstacle might be.

-Phoebe L.

The Pursuit of Happyness is available for checkout from the Mission Viejo Library

An Appointment With My Brother by Yi Mun-Yol

This novella, An Appointment With His Brother, talks about the unseen interaction between North and South Korea. Basically what happens is, the protagonist’s father defected to North Korea, which is unusual because it would normally be the other way around. The protagonist finds out years later that his father had a new family. Since the father lives in North Korea, visiting each other is nearly impossible. However, one day he learns about the boundary line between North Korea and China. People would cross the border with the help of a broker and essentially escape. So the main character attempts to meet his father but ends up having An Appointment With My Brother instead. Once they meet each other, they talk to each other about their lives and compare them. They come to a realization about their lifestyles after talking–their lives weren’t as different as they thought.

There was a lot learned from this story, things that aren’t usually revealed in the news, and only something that those people know. Even though the book was difficult to understand, the underlying theme and message are important to one’s everyday life. Reading this book allowed me to put the prejudice views aside and really see the true events that occur instead.

-Phoebe L.

2017 American Music Awards

Last night was the first time I watched the American Music Awards (AMA’s). The lineup for the performances was incredible. Some of the amazing artists that performed were Demi Lovato, Shawn Mendes, Niall Horan, Selena Gomez, and international k-pop sensation BTS. The awards were held at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angelos, CA. There were awards given out like “Artist of the year,” “Favorite male and female artist,”  “New Artist of the year,”  and many more. Also last night, Christina Aguilera honored Whitney Houston singing the songs, “I Will Always Love You,” “I Have Nothing,” “Run To You,” and “I’m Every Woman”.
Selena Gomez performed for the first time after her kidney transplant surgery. She sang her newest song “Wolves,” which was a collab between her and Marshmello, released only three days ago. Shawn Mendes performed his hit song “There’s Nothing Holdin’ Me Back” which got the crowd jamming out with him. For me, one of the most shocking performances last night was P!nk’s performance. She performed her song “Beautiful Trauma” on the side of the JW Marriot Hotel… at a 90-degree angle!! I remember watching the performance in fear that something might go wrong. Lastly, the boy-band that’s taking the social media world by a storm- BTS. BTS is a South-Korean band consisting of seven members, each having their own personality and style. They performed their song, “DNA” from their latest album Love Yourself: Her. The audience went crazy when The Chainsmokers announced that BTS would be performing. This was BTS’ very first performance on American TV, and they absolutely killed it! Watching the awards made me excited to watch next year’s American Music Awards.