Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

The novel Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen follows the story of the Bennett sisters, whose mother desires nothing but to get them all married. Early on in the book, the family is introduced to a neighbor’s friend- a wealthy man named Mr. Darcy. The author beautifully develops the relationship between him and one of the oldest Bennett sisters, Elizabeth.

Jane Austen’s ability to realistically capture the struggles in a relationship is the quality I admired the most while reading this book. The author is able to eloquently show the obstacles one must overcome in order to find true love, such as pride, arrogance, and social class. While reading, I found myself at the edge of my seat, wondering what the outcome would be of the protagonists’ turbulent relationship. I also enjoyed how the novel shared the struggles of other family members as well, while still keeping the main focus on Darcy and Elizabeth.

I would recommend this novel to anyone interested in classics, or the romance genre in general, as this is truly one of the most iconic love stories of all time. Although it is difficult to adjust to at first, Jane Austen has an iconic writing style that demonstrates her creativity and elegance, giving her stories a tone that fully immerses readers into the same time period as their favorite characters.

-Aysha H.

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen is available to check out from the Mission Viejo Library. It is also available to download for free from Libby.

Are They Worth It or Not….

All over TikTok or Pinterest, people constantly post new “hacks” or “finds”. Like many others, I tend to get interested, want to try it out myself, and await results. I won’t lie, some of these new trends are really not it. But on the other hand, others are actually beneficial.

To start off, I want to talk about the Apple pencil. To be completely honest when I first heard about it I thought it was one of the stupidest new Apple products to be released. But, I have changed my mind. This product is worth the money for high school students taking many classes at the local community college along with actual college students. Using it with an iPad is a life changer. I personally use the app “Notability” but “GoodNotes” is another excellent choice. With these apps, you can take all of your notes digitally and organize them into their own sections. There are tools to copy and paste images, highlight, change pen style and size, and much more. It makes note-taking easier and honestly a lot more fun. I also use Notability to download a monthly planner to keep track of my life.

Up next is the fabric tape clothing hack. This has totally saved my closet. Since I am short, a lot of pants I buy are so long that they drag on the ground. I love the style so I really do not want to get rid of them. I first saw fabric tape on TikTok and thought I should try it out. I was a bit skeptical if the take would actually hold for a whole day but I was pleasantly surprised when it lasted the whole 90-degree school day. There are many brands but I use the Scotch Double-Sided Tape. This stuff is very sticky and durable. I put the pre-cut thin pieces at the edge of my pants and then fold them inside. This way, if you do not like the cuffed pant look you can still shorten your pants.

Bare but Better by Kiss

Lastly, I am going to share one of my favorite beauty hacks. I love either getting or doing my own nails all the time. The only problem is that it can get very pricey when I get them done and it takes a long time if I do them myself. Instead, when I am feeling lazy, I buy fake nails from Target or Walmart. The trick is to not buy press-on nails. Rather, buy ones that include nail glue. This makes the nails stay for a much longer time as if you were getting acrylic nails. Simple file your nail beds a little, brush off the dust and then glue them down without using too much glue. The fake nails offer many cute designs that look like real nails.

These finds of mine are all over the spectrum of different themes, but they are the trends I use the most. The internet can really provide great ideas and I have taken advantage of many while also facing some failures along the way. 

Diary of a Wimpy Kid by Jeff Kinney

Perfection. Perfection is used to describe something that is flawless. When I think of perfection, I think of AP Calculus BC, Raising Canes Texas Toast, Allen Kesinger, and so much more. Every category has its own perfect thing. In movies, it is hands down Finding Nemo. Finding Nemo is the perfect movie, and Squirt is the perfect character. In names, I think Finn is a really nice name. But I think literature takes the cake for the most perfect item: Diary of a Wimpy Kid.

Jeff Kinney was born in 1971. Back then in 1971, kids were reading novels such as The Handmaid’s Tale, and To Kill a Mockingbird. Although these literary pieces are very good and have a lot of significance, the world was yet to experience the pure bliss and perfection of Jeff Kinney’s soon-to-come creation.

Come 2007. The class of 2025 was born (they are sophomores now by the way), the AP US History curriculum stops, and the most amazing book was released as well. Diary of a Wimpy Kid is a diary of a wimpy kid. Such wimpy kid is named Greg, and well, objectively speaking, he is far from wimpy. Greg is a Chad. He is smart, handsome, tall, drippy, and loves his mom!

Despite Greg being the main character, I think it is fair to say that he is only the second-best character in the book. This is because Rowley exists. If Greg is a Chad, Rowley is a giga-Chad. Rowley is smarter, more handsome, taller, drippier, and loves his mom even more than Greg could ever imagine. Solely thanks to the creation of Rowley, Diary of a Wimpy Kid by Jeff Kinney is perfection. Be like Rowley!

Diary of a Wimpy Kid by Jeff Kinney is available to checkout from the Mission Viejo Library. It is also available to download for free from Libby.

Why Harry Potter is Completely Overrated

Okay, I’m not saying that you shouldn’t read Harry Potter, because some people might appreciate it, but I’m very opinionated and I want to point out two of the most glaring problems with the series. If you stay until the end, I’ll also point out a much better alternative to Harry Potter, where things actually make sense.

Why is the Weasley family poor?

The Weasley family, regardless of their magical powers, are poor. This doesn’t make sense, because why don’t they just use their powers to spawn some gold? Or clothing, books, and food? There might be a wizard law against using magic like that, but Muggles wouldn’t know the difference between real money and magic money! The Weasleys could just magic up some gold, then trade it with a Muggle for whatever they need. Or, if magic gold isn’t convincing enough, they could magic some clothing and sell it to the Muggles for cash. So why are they still poor?

Why do wizard families send their kids to Hogwarts?

Hogwarts might turn out some of the most brilliant wizards in the realm of Harry Potter, but at Hogwarts, students are surrounded by incompetent and occasionally murderous teachers, dangerous classes, and multiple deaths each semester. In addition to this, Lord Voldemort and his minions are continuously attacking the school. This is definitely not safe, and if I was a parent I wouldn’t even consider sending my child to Hogwarts. Also, what kind of name is Hogwarts? You might as well call your school Pig Pimples.

Now, My Suggestion

Again, I’m not saying you shouldn’t read Harry Potter. Just because I think it’s badly written and poorly thought out doesn’t mean other people can’t enjoy it. But, if you agree with me and want a fantasy book with superior logic, then try reading The Scholomance, by Noami Novik. It has an explanation for everything I think is wrong with the Harry Potter series, and it’s just an overall good book.

If you know how to explain any of the two major faults I found in Harry Potter, please explain it to me in the comments. Thanks again for putting up with my criticism, and goodbye.

A Deadly Education (Lesson One of The Scholomance) by Naomi Novik is available to checkout from the Mission Viejo Library. It is also available to download for free from Libby.

Film Review: Top Gun: Maverick

This sequel of the 1980s film Top Gun was definitely an interesting experience. It followed the life of the famous pilot Maverick (Tom Cruise), aka Pete Mitchell, and his perspective of events following the first film. Maverick, following his success in the first film, finds himself back at the institution after he takes a plane for one last test run and crashes the plane due to his cockiness motivating him to go beyond Mach 10, which the plane could not handle. Although Maverick faces possible dishonorable discharge for his behavior, his old rival-turned-friend in the previous film, Iceman (Val Kilmer), ends up saving him from this and gets him relocated to Top Gun to lead a secret mission. However, there ends up being one catch: Maverick cannot participate in the actual mission.

Although Maverick struggles with this news due to his passion for fighting fighter planes, he faces bigger problems when he finds out one of his fellow teammates, call sign Rooster (Miles Teller), the son of his deceased friend and wingman Goose (Anthony Edwards). As Maverick felt responsible for the death of his friend, he felt unsure about the mission, but proceeds to lead with motivation from Iceman. However, events start to challenge his mindset: Iceman falls to disease, Rooster distrusts Maverick due to Maverick intentionally holding Rooster back early in his career due to complicated circumstances, and the leaders of Top Gun nearly pull Maverick from the mission entirely due to doubt over his plan. Despite all this, Maverick again boldly proves his plan is feasible by successfully demonstrating it using a stolen fighter pilot, which thankfully doesn’t crash – unlike the last time he disobeyed orders. Instead of punishing Maverick, the leaders decide to keep Maverick and allow him into the mission, but now with an active duty as a fighter pilot.

The mission proves to be a success, but Maverick ends up taking a hit for Rooster due to his guilt over Goose and his desire to break the pattern with Rooster. Despite doubts over Maverick’s status and the impending doom faced by opposition, Rooster realizes the importance of Maverick’s motivation and care for him throughout the film and heads back to the site, where he finds Maverick alive and saves his life. The two end up making it back to their home base despite near-death experiences from enemy fighter pilots, and the two embrace, end the tension, and create a strong mentorship bond, which honestly left me feeling satisfied and inspired by the movie.

Even though there were numerous lessons and moments taken from the movie, the one that most stood to me was Maverick’s line: “Trust your instincts. Don’t think. Just do”. Although plane fighting and events in real life have their differences, I believe that this lesson can be connected and implemented in real life. For example, in sports, many athletes – myself included – tend to overthink their game plan and their stress hinders a possibly amazing performance due to their mental imbalance. With Maverick’s advice, however, many athletes focus on playing the game, accepting different conditions, and adapting rather than stress over a plan facing difficulties, and this connects very well with the importance of mental health affecting performance in real life.

Overall, this was a great movie and I really hope more people come and see it. The movie is still on theaters and definitely worth a watch – and I believe many can agree with me when I say that you will be getting your money’s worth.

And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie

And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie is an exhilarating mystery novel revolving around the story of ten strangers, each invited to an island by a mysterious host. Their arrival was followed by a series of inexplicable murders, causing the guests to work together to catch the unknown culprit. The novel is based off a famous poem by Frank Green titled “Ten Little Indian Boys.”

Overall, I find this book to be a fairly quick read that keeps the audience engaged from beginning to end. The setting, as well as Christie’s fast-paced storytelling and mysterious tone adds an air of suspense that leaves readers feeling anxious, yet eager to find out who the murderer really is. Furthermore, the way the author flawlessly transitions between different perspectives and gives detailed descriptions of each character’s inner thoughts leaves readers relating to, and understanding the guests at a higher level. All this combines for a fully immersive experience into the world of mystery.

I would highly recommend this book to anyone looking for a good mystery read. Agatha Christie is considered one of the best selling authors of all time, and I believe everyone should encounter her phenomenal writing at least once. However, I would be aware of the violence and overall gory imagery used, which many readers could be sensitive to.

-Aysha H.

And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie is available to checkout from the Mission Viejo Library. It is also available to download for free from Libby.

Cons of the new bell schedules

In many school districts in California, a new policy has been put into place: school must start before 8:30 AM. Although schools are still permitted to have classes before this time, the time spent in these classes do not count towards the 70000 hours of school each school must have in a year. This change has been especially prevalent in the SVUSD. Schools like Laguna Hills and Trabuco Hills are getting out even as late as 3:45 PM. Although on the surface, starting school later seems like a good idea, it turns out that it isn’t.

The most obvious effect of this is that school ends later. For those who are involved in extracurriculars after school, it makes scheduling after school extremely tight, and some after school activities may even be cut into. These scheduling conflicts can be extremely inconvenient and can interfere with people’s lives outside of school. On top of that, it will encourage students to push their routine later. This will case students to go to bed later and do activities later at night, and therefore wake up later in the morning.

Another effect of this is that classes, especially for the schools that have block schedules, are way longer. Because the state of California requires a certain number of hours that schools need to have in session per year, not counting classes that start before 8:30 means that schools need to have classes that last longer and go later. As a result, students can become more tired and less focused. However, it is worth noting that these longer classes can have benefits, especially in an AP environment, as it simulates the AP testing atmosphere more.

In the end though, pushing school back to 8:30 was a poor change for the students. I write this from the perspective of a student, which is worth noting because I don’t know what it is like from the teacher’s perspective. It is what it is though. Sad face.

McCarthyism in Fahrenheit 451

McCarthyism is when people make false accusations about others. Joseph McCarthy was a United States senator who alleged communists had infiltrated the government in an effort to make the United States follow communism. In an effort to expose the spies, McCarthy searched for Americans who had relations with communism in the past, such as if they attended a rally about communism. However, this doesn’t necessarily mean that they supported communism or wanted the United States to follow communism. These people were ultimately taken to court and were forced to answer McCarthy’s questions, a violation of the 5th amendment of the United States Constitution. Not only were they then placed in jail, but they were forced to name others who also had followed communism, even if they knew of nobody. In other words, the people were blacklisted. Blacklisting is when people who cannot be trusted are compiled into a list. Some famous people who were blacklisted were Lester Cole and Herbert Biberman. They were both part of the Hollywood Ten, a group of screenwriters who were accused of being communists and refused to testify regarding their involvement. This violated everyone’s rights and censored the people as they could not freely express their opinions on communism. In Fahrenheit 451, the government burns books and limits the amount of knowledge the people gain. The people are restricted in formulating their own opinions and are forced to listen to the government and their views. Bradbury criticizes and shows the consequences McCarthyism has in Fahrenheit 451. 

Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury is available to checkout from the Mission Viejo Library. It is also available to download for free from Libby

Book vs. Film: The Summer I Turned Pretty

The very talented author Jenny Han’s book, The Summer I Turned Pretty, was recently made into a series that has everyone falling in love with the characters. Han’s book series includes the books, The Summer I Turned Pretty, It’s Not Summer With You, and We’ll Always Have Summer. So far, the series on Amazon, The Summer I Turned Pretty, has one season that covers the first book in the series. The show is confirmed for a season 2 already, and fans are hoping for a 3rd as well. For those that haven’t read or watched it, essentially, the series features a girl, Belly, who visits her mom’s best friend’s summer house at “Cousins Beach” every summer with her older brother, who is best friends with the other two boys, Conrad and Jeremiah, that own the house. All the previous summers, the boys have viewed her as a child, but all of a sudden they finally see her as an actual girl. I won’t spoil it, but the romance that goes between the characters is really interesting to watch, as are the character developments they all make. One of my favorite parts about this show is the soundtrack which features Taylor Swift, Phoebe Bridgers, Jack Harlow, and more.. I would definitely recommend reading the books first, but it is so cool to see what you pictured and imagined come to life and the actors did a great job portraying their roles. If you haven’t read or watched it, this is just a warning that the next paragraph does have spoilers. 

There are plenty of differences between the books and the show, however I don’t think it takes away from reading/watching either. It’s different in a good way and exciting to see how things play out in both. The first general difference I noticed is that in the book, the storyline focuses mainly on the two families, however on the show we are introduced to many more characters in a lot of events like the Debutante Ball, and those characters do affect the chemistry aspect between people a lot. It seems like in the show, they’re building more of a sense of community rather than isolating one group of people. I really like this because it mixes things up. Adding onto that sense of focusing on more people, the two moms are also given more of a storyline and have their own drama going on, unlike in the books where they weren’t highlighted as much. This same thing is seen with Belly’s older brother, Steven. In the books, he left the beach house in the middle of summer, but on the show he is a lot more involved. Speaking of Steven, Belly’s best friend ends up having a crush on Steven, instead of Jeremiah like it was in the books. This adds tension between Taylor and Belly and personally I like Taylor in the show better than in the books.

In the books, Belly had her first kiss with Jeremiah and he kissed her with the intentions of making Taylor jealous (because she liked him in the books), but since the show version of Taylor had a different love interest, Belly has her first kiss with an old friend, Cam. Their relationship doesn’t last too long as Belly ended things with Cam. In the books, it’s the other way around, but either way Cam knew where Belly’s heart truly was. Cam being there is a great asset to the plot because it allows the viewers to be empathetic as he was such a sweet boy. These are all somewhat minor differences, but some of the bigger ones include the fact that Belly actually had more chemistry with Jeremiah than she did in the book, creating so much more tension between the two brothers. Belly also doesn’t get a visit in the winter from Conrad, the scene is completely different. In my opinion, the biggest difference was the kids’ knowledge about Susannah’s (Conrad and Jeremiah’s mom) cancer. In the books, the kids all know about Susannah’s cancer. However, in the show, Conrad is the only one who knew about his mom’s disease. This is a huge explanation into why he acted the way he did. In the final episode, Jeremiah found out about the cancer which led to everyone knowing. This made everything serious and real, because Susannah didn’t want to go through chemo this time. Overall, the show and books were amazing and I truly think that since the author was involved with making the show, it had a great impact on the overall quality and vision of the show. I would highly recommend this series to anyone who likes rom-coms and tension. 

  • Kaitlyn Y.

The Summer I Turned Pretty by Jenny Han is available to checkout from the Mission Viejo Library. It is also available to download for free from Libby.

Interesting Sports Podcasts to Try

If you get bored while running, resting, or doing whatever it is that you like to do, you might want to try a podcast. I enjoy listening to sports podcasts to discover the opinions of experts on certain topics, and I’m here to share some of my favorite ones with you. 

There are 3 podcasts that I feel separate themselves from the rest of them and for different reasons. Some of them offer incredible insight on basketball, while others are fun because they have people debating passionately about players and headlines. 

The Draymond Green Show

The host of this show is the man himself, Draymond Green. He breaks down NBA games and talks about how his team, the Golden State Warriors, played and how the other games went down. His podcasts are especially fun to listen to after he has a big game or an important moment in a game, such as an ejection. Sometimes, he’ll have a guest on the show, who might be a fellow NBA player or someone associated with the NBA. His attention to detail really shows in his podcasts, and I recommend his podcast to anyone who wants to learn a bit more about basketball. This is definitely my favorite podcast at the moment. 

First Take:

What’s better in a sports podcast than Stephen A. Smith yelling at Kendrick Perkins or someone else on the show for their “blasphemous” takes? With various guests on the show as well as the usual crew (Molly Qerim, Stephen A. Smith, and sometimes Kendrick Perkins), the podcast can be really entertaining to listen to or also watch on ESPN. On this show, they primarily debate about basketball, but also have some sections that include football or baseball. Although it’s not my favorite podcast, it’s definitely in the top 2 and I love occasionally listening to small segments at a time. 

Skip and Shannon: Undisputed:

If you want a lot of deep analysis about the game of basketball, don’t go to this show. If you want to see Skip Bayless and Shannon Sharpe bickering back and forth for two and a half hours, then this is for you. On Undisputed, the 2 hosts don’t really talk about what teams need to do or what they should have done, but they debate on controversial topics concerning ejections, who’s better than who, and certain plays. However, before listening to this podcast, be aware that a lot of the things Skip and Shannon say are heavily biased, especially the ones from Skip. That being said, this show is still a lot of fun and I definitely recommend you check it out. 

If you’re a basketball (or sports) enthusiast, in summer, you might find yourself bored with nothing to do, and if so, give these podcasts/shows a listen. You probably won’t regret it!

-Mert A.