The Mediator: Shadowland by Meg Cabot

Susannah (Suze) Simon’s life is not what you’d consider “ordinary,” in fact, it’s quite the opposite. After living in New York for her whole life, only-child, Suze and her widowed mother move across the country to sunny California. There, she is introduced to her step father, Andy Ackerman, along with his three sons. She has been enrolled into Junipero Serra Catholic Academy, with her new stepbrothers, where she hopes to start a new chapter in her life.

You see, as much as moving to California separated Suze from her one true friend, Gina, it’s also a chance for her to create a new image of herself. Susannah has gotten into trouble a good handful of times, as she is no stranger to the police and is often found sneaking back into the house early in the morning. All along Mrs.Simon has thought this obnoxious act of her daughter’s was due to being anti-social. But that’s not the reason why Suze is often found alone, it’s because she can see ghosts, and she’s kept this secret from all the people she knows!

Being a mediator is no easy task; Susannah knows this from experience. She must juggle her school work, family time, along with the future of the ghosts she encounter in their afterlife. Although Suze is in love with her beach view room, she can’t help but notice the ghost of a cowboy sitting in her bay window. She befriends Jesse, a handsome teen, no older than Suze, who was killed 150 years ago in a tragic accident. As Suze is helping Jesse reach his afterlife, she can’t help but seeing something special in her new friend.

As if moving to a completely new school wasn’t stressful enough, trouble arises when a teenage ghost threatens the students at the academy. Without endangering any of her new friends, Suze must put a stop to the wandering spirit. Alongside Jesse, Susannah plans on getting rid of the academy’s unwanted visitor once and for all!

Shadowland was a great summer read that kept me occupied for most of this week! I can’t wait to see what Meg Cabot has in store for Susannah as she continues her mediator role.

-Skyler K.

Authors We Love: Meg Cabot

Monday, August 7, boys and girls of varying ages gathered at the Norman P. Murray Center to get the chance to listen to author, Meg Cabot. As a child, Cabot always had a special place in her heart for writing. Growing up, she admired princesses, particularly, Princess Leia from the movie franchise, Star Wars. This inspired her to write stories based off of princesses. It wasn’t until the age of seven when Cabot began creating her own short stories. She is most recognized for her series, Princess Diaries, which Disney later turned into a movie starring Anne Hathaway and Julie Andrews.

Cabot attended Indiana University where she hoped to pursue her writing dream. However, she decided to major in art, rather than writing, as she was told not to sign up for the course by a fellow student (who happened to be a creative writing major) at a college party. He warned her that the class would “suck the love of creative writing out of you.” Although she listened to her peer, Cabot attended multiple writing classes while studying at Indiana University until she graduated.

Cabot’s next chapter in life brought her to New York City where she worked as an illustrator. There, she was brought face to face (once again) with the man from the college party. When she asked him why he had convinced her to become an art major and not focus on writing, he answered, “because I was drunk!” In between her work, she still found time to create her own stories. Following the death of her father, Cabot attempted her first publication. His sudden passing brought her to realize that she wouldn’t get anywhere in her writing career if she kept putting opportunities off.

After many publication rejections, Cabot got her first book approved when she was thirty. In addition to the Princess Diaries, she has also written complete series including The Mediator, Allie Finkle’s Rules for Girls, Avalon High, All American Girl, and much more. Combined, she has published over fifty books! Her new series, From the Notebooks of a Middle School Princess, is a continuation of the Princess Diaries. It follows the life of Princess Olivia, the half sister of Princess Mia, (the main character from the Princess Diaries) as she discovers the ups and downs of being royalty.

It was such a great opportunity being able to listen to Meg Cabot talk about her past experiences and accomplishments. I am currently reading her young adult series, The Mediator, and am loving every page of the books! Her stories pull me in and all I want to do is finish it in a single sitting. I’ve also watched the Princess Diaries countless times and always find it as intriguing as the first time I saw it. I really enjoyed attending this event and can’t wait to see what Meg Cabot comes up with in the future!

-Skyler K.

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling

Eleven year old Harry Potter knows little of what he is capable of. After all, he’s lived with his Aunt Petunia, Uncle Vernon, and their son Dudley Dursley ever since the death of his parents in a supposed car crash. Living under the cupboard in the Dursley household is the miserable life Harry has become familiar with- nobody to celebrate his birthdays with, nothing to call his “own,” and on top of all this no one to call his mother or father.

All this changes the day he receives a mysterious letter, via owl, inviting him into the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. In that moment, he finds out he is a wizard! Harry, eager to leave his aunt and uncle, accepts the gesture. He befriends Hagrid, gamekeeper of Hogwarts, who assists Harry in gathering the necessary materials for his first year at school.

In a single year at wizards’ school, Harry has had more fun than all his eleven years combined! He is acquainted with Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger, two other first year students at Hogwarts. In addition, he uncovers his natural ability of flying on a broom! Harry joins the Quidditch team, where he is able to fly around the field to his heart’s content. Not only this, but he also learns much about the history of magic, potions, and even spells! There is still much for Harry and his friends to uncover as they discover what magic lies within the walls of Hogwarts.

J.K. Rowling has whisked me into the mythical journey of Harry Potter. I haven’t read a book so quickly in such a long time; I couldn’t seem to put it down! I am very excited to see what other adventures unfold for Harry as he discovers his true talents.

-Skyler K.

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone is available for checkout from the Mission Viejo Library. It can also be downloaded from Overdrive