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.

Book Review: Solitaire by Alice Oseman

Tori Spring enjoys blogging and sleeping… and that’s pretty much all she enjoys these days. Tori, a sixteen-year-old Year 12 student, is a chronic pessimist with few friends and little to no sources of happiness.

But when she follows a trail of Post-It notes to the computer lab, where she meets the mysteriously eccentric Michael Holden, she receives a message from a group called Solitaire that plots to take over the school.

Throughout the story, we follow Tori as she makes and breaks her friendships, struggles with her mental health, balances her schoolwork, learns to trust other people, and finds the motivation to get out of bed every morning. On top of everything going on in Tori’s life, she continually tries to be the best sister she can be to her brothers, Charlie and Oliver.

I absolutely loved this book, though it was a lot darker than many books I’ve enjoyed in the past. Nevertheless, I may go so far as to call Solitaire my favorite book as of now. Alice Oseman crafts a haunting, realistic, beautiful story in the mind of an imperfect main character. As usual, Alice Oseman includes lots of LGBTQ+ representation in Solitaire as well as in her other novels, which I strongly recommend as well!

Solitaire also introduces the characters Charlie Spring and Nick Nelson, who appear in the Netflix series Heartstopper. However, Solitaire may not be enjoyable for fans of Heartstopper, as it is much deeper and darker and does not work out to be a perfect happy ending. Solitaire is not a love story, the main conflict takes place inside Tori as she tries to figure herself out.

I loved that this book wasn’t like what I usually read—nothing like the cliche love story with nice characters that have a happy ending. I liked that Tori had good days and bad days, and I enjoyed diving into her introspective thoughts. I found Solitaire to be much more realistic to life, and I truly enjoyed this amazing book.

Happy reading!

-Lam T.

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.

Authors We Love: Dr. Seuss

Going into my first years of school, I was always skeptical of reading. I mainly enjoyed playing with video games or even toys when I was a young child, but I never really found books interesting. I would often find myself wanting to do something else, which distracted me from developing an interesting in reading or even learning how to read. However, my parents introduced me to Dr. Seuss, and his books ended up creating that interest that I greatly needed growing up.

Known for his books such as The Cat in the Hat and One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish, Dr. Seuss mainly wrote children’s books with illustrations meant to grab the young reader’s attention. Since many people in their younger ages – including me – found plain text in books boring to look at and read for as long as a given book could last for. The fact that Dr. Seuss made reading interesting with the illustrations created interest and motivation to read that was not found prior to that. Without Dr. Seuss, many would probably have no interest in reading books and would struggle in finishing many school assignments that involves heavy reading and analysis of the text.

With Dr. Seuss, I found reading to be fun and looked forward to every story that he had to tell about some of the characters. Even though I have not read Dr. Seuss in a while, I vividly remember the joy I found in hearing my parents read the stories to me before I went to bed. The joy he brought with his books made me interested in reading and even though many of us feel like we are too old to read it anymore – I know I certainly feel that way at times -, I also feel that sometimes it is important to look back and remember some things that made up our childhood and how it made us who we are today.

Several titles by Dr. Seuss are available to checkout from the Mission Viejo Library. They are 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.

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.

The Secret Kingdom by Jenny Nimmo

The Secret Kingdom,by Jenny Nimmo, is the first book in the Chronicles of The Red King trilogy.  The books in this trilogy are prequels to the Children of the Red King series.  The stories take place in a time when the Red King was a young boy named Timoken.  This story revolves around Timoken and his older sister Zobayda, two children who have been orphaned and forced out of their home.

The children embark on a treacherous journey through a vast desert to find a new home.  They are aided by various fantastical creatures, including a flying being called a “forest-jinni,” a trio of magical leopards, and a talking camel named Gabar.  The children are endowed with magical powers.  They rely on these powers to defend themselves against enemies, including evil beings called “viridees.”

There are many likeable characters in this book, so it would be very difficult to pick a favorite.  Timoken, his sister Zobayda, Gabar, and even the viridees are some of my favorites.  The story is filled with action and excitement.  One of my favorite parts of the book is when a flock of terrible birds wreaks havoc in the city of Toledo.  Timoken uses his magical powers to stop them.

I was excited to learn that Jenny Nimmo wrote this new series of books.  After the success of her Children of the Red King series, Jenny Nimmo decided to write more about the history of the mysterious Red King.  This new trilogy is just as enjoyable as the original series.  I would very highly recommend this book, and the rest of the trilogy, to anyone who enjoyed the Children of the Red King saga.

The Secret Kingdom by Jenny Nimmo is available to checkout from the Mission Viejo Library. It is also available to download for free from Libby.

Authors We Love: J. D. Salinger

J. D. Salinger, or Jerome David Salinger, was a famous American writer whos works are most notably known in the hit novel Catcher in the Rye and “A Perfect Day for Bananafish.”

Similar to Holden Caufield, Salinger was also raised in New York, attending New York and Columbia University. Salinger shortly after chose to stick with writing, and began having his work published in news articles and magazines in the 1940s.

In 1942, Salinger was drafted into the U.S. army. He was an interrogator, and questioned prisoners of war on the Italian and French side. Salinger was also deployed on D-Day, and continued to fight in the Battle of the Bulge.

Throughout this tough time in his life, Salinger was known to even keep his writings with him while in battle. He witnessed German concentration camps firsthand, and saw the many horrors of WWll with his own eyes. Salinger was shortly after hospitalized for post-traumatic stress.

After his return from the Army, Salinger continued to focus on his writing. His first book that gained a substantial amount of traction was “A Perfect Day for Bananafish.” The book includes a character named Seymour Glass, who spends an afternoon on the beach with a little girl he meets, before taking his own life soon after.

His work had even grown so popular, Salinger’s story of “Uncle Wiggily in Connecticut” was made into a movie titled “My Foolish Heart.” The movie had been adapted so poorly that Salinger refused to ever sell the rights of his story to a production studio again. Even the record breaking novel ‘Catcher in the Rye’ has yet to be adapted into film because of Salinger’s disappointment.

Salinger’s first and only full-length novel was published as of July 16 1951. Catcher in the Rye took the world by storm when released, and is still seen being taught in the high school curriculum. The novel starring Holden Caufield was a Fiction Finalist for the National Book Award, but has surprisingly never received an official award.

Salinger was known to live in solitude, settling in a 90-acre chunk of land in Cornish, New Hampshire. Salinger stated that this secluded life was to not be interrupted during his important working years.

Salinger published his last works in 1963, having the collection take up almost the entire magazine. After this, his life was primarily filled with love affairs and family complications, never able to return to writing. Salinger had made it clear that he still continued to write, but that none of his works would be published until after his death.

Up until the day he died, Salinger continued to live in Cornish. His work is still unpublished as of writing this blog, and fans of Salinger’s work have been speculating the reason for this since his death in 2010. Salinger’s son had stated that the family is doing everything they can to get the posthumous book published as soon as possible.

Salinger set the stage for many upcoming writers to have confidence in their work, and was an example that many looked up to. His work continues to inspire readers like me to this day, and will be an unforgettable figure in novels.

-Harrison S

Several titles by J. D. Salinger are available to check out from the Mission Viejo Library. Some titles are also available to download for free from Libby.

Book Review: The White Album by Joan Didion

White Album (FSG Classics): Didion, Joan: 8601405596765: Books

The White Album by Joan Didion is a epistographical novel covering the turbulent period from the 1960s-1970s. Spanning topics including the Black Panthers, the Manson murders, and even the collapse of her own marriage, the book critically examines the meaningless experience of existence and the atomization of society during this time period.

“We tell ourselves stories in order to live,” reads the opening line of the book. From that instant, I was hooked. I’ve been reading Didion’s oeuvre for more than a year now, starting with Slouching Towards Bethlehem as a required reading my junior year of high school. That book changed my life, and The White Album did not disappoint either. Her perfectly restrained emotion, her clarity of thought, and her perceptive insights combine to lend meaning to even some of the most senseless experiences of the 60s- such as the Manson murders. Didion even details, with the delicate removal of writing a grocery list, her meetings with Linda Kasabian, key witness in the Manson trial. She speaks of the short silk dress she wore to her wedding- and in the next sentence, mentions a similar white dress she herself purchased for Kasabian to wear on the first day of her testimony. The compassion she reserves for some is replaced with acrid disdain for others- Doris Lessing is described as someone who “does not want to ‘write well.’ Her leaden disregard for even the simplest rhythms of language, her arrogantly bad ear for dialogue- all of that is beyond her own point.” Even Huey Newton, a key leader of the Black Panthers is not spared- she describes him as “someone for whom safety lies in generalization.” She relates every experience with the utmost honesty and provides a matte-glass window into the experiences of our country’s, and her personal, pasts.

I would recommend this book to anyone, really! I’m a huge Joan Didion fan 🙂

-Vaidehi B.

The White Album by Joan Didion is available to checkout from the Mission Viejo Library



by Alice Oseman

This heartwarming collection of comics follows Nick and Charlie as they discover their growing attraction to one another that bloomed from friendship. Both attending the same private boy’s school, Nick and Charlie become fast friends after being placed next to each other in the class seating chart. While Charlie announced his sexuality last school year, Nick struggles to find himself as he discovers his feelings for Charlie are more than friendship. Heartstopper Volume 1 shows their friendship growing as they slowly gather the courage to approach the other about their feelings. Their relationship continues to grow throughout the other volumes as they near the end of their high school experience (there are a total of 4 so far).

Volume 1 of Heartstopper, while short, is the most genuine and wholesome romance comic I have ever had the pleasure of reading. This comic never fails to bring a smile to my face as I follow these two goofballs through their high school experience and watch as their romantic relationship grows. If you are looking for tension and drama, Heartstopper is not the comic for you. This book only contains healthy communication, friendship, bonding, and growing into oneself. It highlights the struggles each character faces and how they overcome them with the help of their friends and families. Each character offers a new perspective and challenges to overcome. The entire Heartstopper series toke me a day and a half to devour and as I eagerly await new volumes to be published, I remember the sweet and touching moments of this story.

This series has even become a Netflix series! Make sure to check that out. The entire Heartstopper series is also available for free on Webtoon and Tapas.

Heartstopper by Alice Oseman is available to checkout from the Mission Viejo Library. It is also available to download for free from Libby.