Brave New World by Aldous Huxley

Brave New World: Aldous Huxley: 9780060850524: Amazon.com: Books

One of the most prominent dystopian novels of all time, Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World explores a horrifyingly relevant potential society in which all individuals are in a perpetual state of bliss and “innocence,” and are unaware of pain or unhappiness. However, like all seemingly utopian worlds, there is a dark side.

In the World State, people are no longer born – they are “decanted” and treated according to their predetermined place in the extremely rigid caste system, from the intelligent Alpha Pluses to the Epsilon Semi Morons who have their development stunted.

Rather than contemplate the morality of this, the citizens are brainwashed to not care through sleep hypnosis techniques, which convince each class that they are best suited for said caste, and that they should not challenge it, completely eliminating free will from a young age.

Additionally, to keep the citizens complacent with the control of the World State, they are encouraged to participate in activities that bring pleasure, while at the same time discouraged from getting pregnant or becoming parents (a slur in the World State). The people continue to be submissive through an excessive consumption of soma, a drug that induces feelings of happiness and bliss.

When Alpha Plus Bernard Marx and his date, Beta Plus Lenina Crowne, travel to a Native American reservation and meet John, a “savage” with connections to the World State, their lives are changed forever. John’s inability to reconcile his idealistic notions of love and life, obtained from old copies of Shakespearean works, and the reality of the World State causes conflict between himself and Lenina, who he loves.

All in all, Brave New World is a fascinating read, not only for those who enjoy dystopian fiction, but also as a warning for an overly mechanized future, in which individuals are not treated as such, and are instead manipulated into becoming perfect cogs in a reproductive machine.

-Mahak M.

A Brave New World by Aldous Huxley is available for checkout from the Mission Viejo Library. It can also be downloaded for free from Overdrive.

Magic Journey: My Fantastical Walt Disney Imagineering Career by Kevin Rafferty

As an aspiring Imagineer myself, Magic Journey: My Fantastical Walt Disney Imagineering Career was an amazing book. Kevin Rafferty, a legendary Imagineer tells the story of his life, and what led up to him working for the famous Walt Disney company.

Having to have worked from the very bottom to one of the most respected Disney Imagineers is something that is very difficult to do. Mr. Rafferty talks about his challenges and what brought him to where he is today, now working with other legends that worked with Walt Disney himself. He explains numerous projects that are now at the park, including Car’s Land, Toy Story Mania, Tower of Terror, and the new ride coming to Disneyland soon, Mickey’s Runaway Railway! As I prepare to work towards the goal of becoming an Imagineer, Kevin’s book was very informative, filled with funny anecdotes at the Walt Disney Company, and so much more! If you are a Disney fan, I would 100% recommend this book.

It was especially interesting because I had the chance to hear Mr. Rafferty speak at 2019’s D23 Convention which is a Disney convention where avid Disney fans get together and listen and meet the biggest Disney stars. This book is filled with life lessons, advice and a sense of magic, provided by one that is behind the fantasy of what happens at the Disney parks around the world.

– Amandine K.

Creative Writing: Forest Kitten

This is a little creative writing piece exploring imagery and setting. I hope you enjoy!


A snowy white kitten slinks through the grass that sparkles with pearls of dew in the soft dawn light. Droplets of water slide from the gently bent grasses onto the cat’s fur and sit like tiny gemstones on its pallid coat. Thin sprigs of thyme and sage brush rustle lightly at the disturbance of the soft, padded paws. 

As the cat swiftly shoots beneath an overhanging heliotrope bush, the cluster of little purple flowers dips and showers his pale pink nose with dew. Green eyes determined, the cat continues his flight through the underbrush, shaking off the glimmering droplets that shine like lost diamonds on the forest earth behind him. The woody scents of damp bark and soil lose prominence as the cat reaches a thin creek whose crystalline body streams like liquid glass over stones smoothed and mossy due to years, perhaps eons, of running water. 

After leaping from the soft muddy bank onto a weathered stone protruding from the center of the stream, the cat pauses to lick his left paw before jumping delicately to the other side. The only thing to indicate his crossing of the river are small prints on the surface of the river stones where his padded paws lifted the frost that curls over the gray and dusty pink surfaces. 

When he reaches a wall of dense ivy, the cat slows and dips his head beneath the dark leaves. The vines of ivy sway and rustle for several moments as the cat crawls towards the meadow beyond. Then the vines are still, and the only bits of white left visible in the forest are the reflections of dewdrops on leaves and some star lilies dusted with frost.

– Mia T.

A New Craft Kit Appears!

The Mission Viejo Library wants you to create art and no experience is required! Teens are invited to pick up a Bad Art Kit and come up with beautiful, thought provoking pieces of fine art using random stuff we found in our craft room!

Kits are available upon request and can be picked up during the library’s curbside service hours (Tuesday through Saturday, 12pm to 5pm). When you’re done, take a picture of your incredible creations and send it to libraryprograms@cityofmissionviejo.org!”

Black History Month Reading List!

Greetings!

This is your friendly neighborhood Teen Librarian and I wanted to share that I’ve set up a new page link just above this post. The library’s Teen Advisory Board has put together a list of books, films, and notable figures to celebrate Black History Month! If anything catches your eye, follow the links on the page to put them on hold 😀

Thanks, everyone!

Love and Gelato by Jenna Evans Welch

Amazon.com: Love & Gelato (9781481432559): Welch, Jenna Evans: Books

If you are looking for a cute romance novel to read, I have the perfect book for you! Love and Gelato was written by Jenna Even Welsh in 2016. It falls into the categories Romance and Young Adult Fiction. The story follows young Lina, who moves from Seattle to Florence to live with her father after her mother passes away. There’s only one problem- Lina has never met her father. And she does not want to. 

However, Lina promised her mother she would make an effort to get to know him right before her mother passed away, so she doesn’t really have a choice. Although Lina is moving to a foreign country to live with her absent father she has never met, she tries to make the most of it. 

However, her plan to stay positive comes to a crashing halt when she learns her father lives in a cemetery. But when things seem as though they can not get any worse, Lina is given a journal that her mother kept while living in Italy. It was Lina’s final chance to connect with her mom now that she is gone. Lina travels all over Florence with Ren, the boy next door. She meets tons of new people and tries all sorts of new things. She visits different parts of the city, including all her mother’s favorite parts. Once in Florence, with Ren, Lina finally feels like she can be happy without her mother-she starts to find herself again. But, the best things she finds in Florence are Love and Gelato!

This book makes for a great quick read. Once you start it, you will not be able to put it down! Trust me, I have read it three times! Not only is it a romance novel, but it has a great plot with countless twists and turns. You will be kept on the edge of your seat while also rooting for your favorite couple!

-Hidaya R.

Love and Gelato by Jenna Evans Welch is available for checkout from the Mission Viejo Library.

Avatar the Last Airbender: TV show review

When I heard Avatar the Last Airbender (ATLA) was added to Netflix I was ecstatic. Like so many other teens, I had watched the show as a little kid and loved it. So obviously, I had to watch it again.

Watching it again as a teenager, I realized that the show was even better than I remembered. It was so original and progressive. As it well it was quite refreshing with its childish comics instead of dark humor or drama. There are so many references to issues that one would not think would be in a children’s TV show. It is these references that really make the show stand out. For example, there is the idea that the fire nation ( the big enemy in the show) is constantly making new technological advance weapons, using them for mass destruction and with them destroying nature. This sound familiar? This very idea was happening when the show created and is still a problem now. These are ideas that as a teenager, I can more fully understand and is a reason why I strongly suggest other teens to rewatch the show.

This show is centered around the idea that the fire nation is trying to take over all the other nation: Earth, Water, and Air. They had already wiped out the air nation and are trying to take over everything else. There are four characters that are trying to stop this, the Avatar Aang, the Water Bender Katara, Sokka a warrior, and the Earth Bender Toph. The avatar is supposed to be a special person who has control over all four elements, fire earth water and air. They are the one supposed to save the world. Throughout the entire show you follow these characters, watching them grow.

I loved this show and would recommend it to everyone. It is perfect for binging, watching slowly, watching with a family, or taking a break from the stress of the pandemic. As well, the nostalgia it brings might bring you makes the show better

-Ava G.

One of Us is Lying by Karen McManus

One of Us is Lying is about four high school seniors, who are all quite stereotypical people in a high school, the jock, Cooper Clay, the prom queen, Addy Prentiss,  the “nerd”, Bronwyn Rojas, and the delinquent, Nate Macauley. However, when the four of them meet in an unfair detention, along with Simon Kelleher, the self-proclaimed “omniscient narrator” and person in charge of the gossip app named “About That”, which talks about the school’s gossip, although only using initials. 

However, the detention quickly turns into a crime scene when Simon dies due to a peanut allergy, with all the epi-pens in the nurse’s office mysteriously gone. All four of them are later questioned, when the police find that Simon had drunk a large amount of peanut oil prior to his death. They all deny knowing anything, though. Later, all four students are separately called to the police station and told that before his death, Simon had queued up a post which details each of their secrets- Cooper used steroids for his baseball performance, Bronwyn stole tests, Nate is dealt drugs, which violates his parole, and that Addy had cheated on her boyfriend. With the police putting pressure on them, and more and more media coverage, the four of them band together and take the investigation upon themselves. 

The novel is very interesting, and I thought that there were many plot twists and it’s quite fun to try to piece together the mystery as more and more information is revealed. It’s also enjoyable to see the different characters grow as people, seeing Addy become her own person, and see Nate and Bronwyn grow closer together. I definitely recommend One of Us is Lying for those who enjoy murder mysteries and those who enjoy piecing together different pieces of information throughout the book.

-Kelsie W.

One of Us Is Lying by Karen McManus is available for checkout from the Mission Viejo Library. It can also be downloaded for free from Overdrive

NBA Rankings Prediction

Hall of Famer Jerry West, designer Alan Siegel and the drama behind the NBA  logo

With the start of the 2020-2021 NBA Season, I have some thoughts about where the 30 teams rank in the playoff picture. 

Starting in the Eastern Conference, the Brooklyn Nets have built a solid team, with 2-time NBA MVP Steve Nash as their coach. They have championship experience with Kevin Durant, a 2-time NBA champion, and with Kyrie Irving, A 2016 NBA champion. Also, they just picked up James Harden from the Houston Rockets from a trade where they sent Caris Levert, Jarrett Allen, Taurean Prince, and a lot of future first-round picks. With arguably the best big 3 in the NBA, will the Nets be able to win the title this year? I think they have a great chance. 

With back to back disappointing performances in the NBA Playoffs, the Milwaukee Bucks are looking to get to the NBA Finals this year and compete for a championship. Giannis Antekounmpo, the reigning MVP has been unstoppable for 2 years in a row now, but the struggle continues. With Jrue Holiday and Giannis as their cornerstones, will the Bucks rebuild or will the 3rd time be the charm? I rank the Milwaukee Bucks as the 2nd seed in the Eastern Conference. 

Taking the 3rd seed in the Eastern Conference will likely be the Boston Celtics. This Celtic team is filled with young rising stars in Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown. With an experienced player in Kemba Walker, the Celtics have a big three that can make some noise in the East. I love how Jayson Tatum has been able to lead this team and I think the future is bright for the Celtics. 

The  Toronto Raptors,  the 2018-2019 NBA Champions, have taken a hard hit ever since losing Kawhi Leonard to the LA Clippers in 2019. But, they have found a way to regroup with their leadership in Kyle Lowry and their young core in Fred Vanvleet and OG Anunoby. However, in the 2019-2020 season, they impressed and proved haters wrong by snagging the 2nd seed in the Eastern Conference. However, with the Brooklyn Nets and Milwaukee Bucks reloading, it will be harder for them to compete without a true superstar. I can see them earning the 4th seed in the Eastern Conference. 

I feel that the Miami Heat will take the 5th seed in the East. Even though they were able to beat Milwaukee and Boston in the Playoffs in the 2019-2020 NBA season, they are a very inconsistent team and I just can’t see Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo leading this team to a 1-4 seed in the Eastern Conference. 

The Philadelphia 76ers will take the 6th seed in the Eastern Conference. With a lethal duo in Joel Embid and Ben Simmons, along with Tobias Harris, the 76ers are nothing short of special. But, because of how many good teams there are in the Eastern Conference, the Philadelphia 76ers fall in their positioning. They suffer a lot of injuries with Ben Simmons and Joel Embid and that might be their biggest issue for the season. 


Barely getting into the Playoffs and grabbing the 7th seed is the Washington Wizards. With a new duo in Westbrook and Beal, the Wizards have prepared for the bright lights. But with 2 players who used to be leaders on their team, I question their team chemistry. Also, they don’t have as much depth in their lineup as the teams listed above them. 

The 8th seed in the East will be the Atlanta Hawks. Trae Young, one of the future’s brightest young stars is ready to lead his team to the Playoffs. With the additions of Danilo Gallinari, Rajon Rondo, and Bogdan Bogdanovic, the Hawks will be able to score with Trae off the court. Along with John Collins and Clint Capela, the returning pieces for the Hawks, I see them sneaking into the Playoffs with the 8th seed. 

The Cleveland Cavaliers, Chicago Bulls, New York Knicks, Indiana Pacers, Detroit Pistons, Charlotte Hornets, and Orlando Magic will all miss the Playoffs.


The Western Conference has a stronger balance of teams. Many teams are great, while others are not as talented. 

The Los Angeles Lakers, the defending champs are back and hungry. With the pick-ups of Dennis Schroder, the reigning 6th man of the year in Montrezl Harrell, Marc Gasol, and Wesley Matthews, the Lakers have reloaded! Coming off an amazing season where Anthony Davis was the runner-up for Defensive Player of the Year and where Lebron James was the runner-up for the Most Valuable Player Award, I feel like they will be able to repeat with the help of their new additions. I have them earning the first seed in the West.

The Los Angeles Clippers. Yes, the team that blew a 3-1 lead last season. Paul George is remembered for struggling in the playoffs… and hitting the side of the backboard in Game 7. Kawhi Leonard is also remembered for choking. With a bad reputation heading into the season, you know that Paul George and Kawhi Leonard are going to be back for more. With new additions in Serge Ibaka, one of Kawhi’s former teammates, the Clippers are going to be able to put up a fight in the West and battle the Lakers for the Western Conference Championship. I have them at the 2nd spot in the West. 

With young and coming teams in Denver, Dallas, Phoenix, Golden State, and Utah. But, I have Denver grabbing the 3rd seed. With their outstanding team play and hustle, along with their young stars in Nikola Jokic and Jamal Murray, this team doesn’t disappoint when you watch them play. I think that Denver can make some noise in the West, and maybe even return to the Western Conference Finals. 

At the 4th seed in the West, I think the Mavericks can grab this spot. With a young rising star in Luka Doncic who is expected to win the NBA MVP award this season at the lead position, the Dallas Mavericks are an upcoming team that has shown us in previous years that they can win. If they can get Kristaps Porzingis healthy, I think this team can get 50 wins this season. 

CJ McCollum, Damian Lillard, and Carmelo Anthony lead a bright and talented team in Portland. The 3 point shooting ability of their whole starting line-up including Jusuf Nurkic, their center,  makes them super hard to guard. They can score from inside the paint, mid-range, and from the three-point line. If the Portland Trailblazers can avoid injuries this season, I think that they will be a solid team in the West. The only issue that I think they might encounter throughout the season is their defense. Damian Lillard, CJ McCollum, Carmelo Anthony, and the rest of the Trailblazers are mostly an offensive team. Their addition of Robert Covington may help them, but only time will tell how good their defense is. I see Portland grabbing the 5th seed. 

Chris Paul and Devin Booker form a dynamic duo. With the basketball IQ and passing that Chris Paul possesses combined with the scoring ability of young star Devin Booker, and with young talent on the roster in Mikal Bridges and Deandre Ayton, the Phoenix Suns will be dangerous. I don’t think this team will be able to compete for a title because the team is mostly made of young players. Even though they have Chris Paul, an experienced NBA player, I don’t think one player’s experience is enough for a team to be able to win a championship. I think they will be able to win enough games to get the 6th seed in the West. 

Will the Utah Jazz be able to compete for a title? I don’t know. But, what I do know is that Donovan Mitchell and Rudy Gobert are scary to play against. With the athletic dunks from Mitchell and the defense from Gobert, as well as the shooting from Joe Ingles and Bogdanovic, the Jazz can attack from everywhere. I think that the Jazz still have some time until they can become contenders, but I think that they can make a statement in the league that they will be around for a long time. 

Grabbing the 8th seed and barely making the playoffs will be the Golden State Warriors. With leadership and championship experience from Stephen Curry, the Warriors will be guided very well. An issue for this team is that they do not have team chemistry. With a lot of the Warriors that won 3 championships in the last 6 years gone, and Klay Thompson, a superstar shooter and defender, the Warriors need to find a way to make it work. I think this team will sneak into the playoffs and struggle this season. 

I don’t see the New Orleans Pelicans, Memphis Grizzlies, San Antonio Spurs, Oklahoma City Thunder, Houston Rockets, Sacramento Kings, and Minnesota Timberwolves making the playoffs, but I think there is a lot of room to improve. Just because I don’t think these teams won’t make the playoffs doesn’t mean that they are not going to, but this is only my opinion. 

These are only my predictions after watching these teams play. If you have different ideas, I would love to hear them in the comments. 

-Mert A.

My Love for Spirited Away

Spirited Away.

My favorite Studio Ghibli movie.

The first Studio Ghibli movie I’ve ever seen.

Your beautiful music, extraordinary characters, breathtaking visuals, transported me to a world that I wish I could stay in for the rest of my life. You make me cry, laugh, smile, blush, and drag my cursor across my laptop to restart the entire movie all over again. It’s a story of compassion, romance, humor, and so much more to me that just animations on a screen.

Chihiro, one of the main characters, is someone that I love dearly in this movie. To be honest, she actually sort of annoyed me when I first met her; she had an annoying voice and was a bit clumsy. But as the movie progressed, she underwent this amazing character development that warms my heart every time I see it happen. She goes through homesickness, young love with a boy named Haku (which is the CUTEST thing by the way), fear, and so many more events that shape her into the person that she becomes at the end of the movie.

Though there are quite a lot of fantastical elements to follow along (which can be confusing in many cases), it blended beautifully into an intricate storyline that was still able to appeal to my young self. There are creatures that make you wonder what it would be like to live in a world with them, from talking frogs to even a giant baby! Many have unique abilities that range from magic to being able to consume large amounts of food.

All in all, Spirited Away is a movie that I think everyone needs to see at least once in their lifetime. I, for one, have seen it at least 5 times and never get tired of it at all. It is more than just a movie, it is a lesson, an emotional rollercoaster, an immersive experience that provides you with such detailed insight into the world of Spirited Away. I envy Chihiro as much as I envy every other character who has the privilege of being able to forever live in this universe, and not a day goes by when I don’t wish I lived in such a mysterious world.

But for now, I guess watching the movie on repeat will have to do 🙂

-Juliannae T.

Spirited Away is available for checkout from the Mission Viejo Library.