Grit by Angela Duckworth

The word “effort” shows up often and is used quite often as the main point of a success story. There is often much emphasis on efforts and hard work, but our attitude in accepting good efforts needs a bit of change. Instead, we should also focus on the limitations that were faced. Grit is instead good enough and able to surpass this hollow and overused shell of effort.

This book took a scientific approach from the beginning to the end. I preferred this approach as it is based on research and experimentation. Furthermore, it can be applied for to most part to many peoples’ lives. It is a great and hopeful message that grit is much more important than talent to ordinary people like you and me. This book clarifies that we can develop and improve grit, and proves that our efforts in doing so are important.

This books also opens the discussion about grit and broadens its scope from personal territory to the surrounding environment. If everyone supports and encourages and never gives up and instead chooses to teach others and the next generation about the importance of grit, it will give them a chance to experience its importance in developing more grit in one’s life. The future of society would be brighter.

-Kobe L.

Grit by Angela Duckworth is available for checkout from the Mission Viejo Library. It can also be downloaded for free from Overdrive

Film Review: Avengers Infinity War

Avengers Infinity War was a marvelous work of action, suspense, and many plot twists along the way. The movie would most likely to get an award in at least not just one category. It is about the critically acclaimed Avengers that was first introduced by Marvel Studios in 2012 and was a very good movie fueled by Disney’s purchase of Marvel in 2009, making the Marvel Cinematic Universe an even bigger money maker.

They started with the Iron Man trilogy which was at the time the best Marvel movie until a year later, with Captain America: Civil War. Like Civil War, Infinity War movie was not a happy family gathering. It speaks what the all the trailers where speaking. Something very bad is going to happen in this movie.

As the movie started there was silence when we saw the well done Marvel Studios sign. Usually there is music that introduces us to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. You could already tell from there that it wasn’t going to be pleasant. It also introduced us to the title of Avenger Infinity War first instead of at the end of the movie. Which is not something Marvel does often. That also right there is a key that this movie is going to be something very different about this film.

Now on the bright side, we finally see the Guardians of the Galaxy and the Avengers fighting Thanos’ army which was something that most fans including me have waited for a long time. We have waited for Thanos’s big reveal ever since the end credits of the original Avengers movie. Then again we saw him in Guardians of the Galaxy sitting high and mighty on his chair. Then again we saw him at the end credit scene in Avengers Age of Ultron. As much Marvel teased Thanos I was not disappointing about him. He had a clear motive about what he was doing and I thought to myself maybe is he right.

-Max U.

Cowboys Draft Plan

On Friday, April 13th, the Dallas Cowboys formally parted ways with star WR Dez Bryant. Cowboys owner and general manager Jerry Jones has come out and stated that the Cowboys do not believe they have a receiver that can come in and completely take over the “WR1” mantle previously held by Dez. This is a sound assumption as there are no real wide receiver prospects in the 2018 draft that look as though they would be home-run picks like Odell Beckham Jr. or Julio Jones. However, there are many receivers that look to be solid WR2 receivers that have the potential to turn into WR1 caliber receivers. The release of Dez Bryant has led to many tying the Cowboys with drafting a WR in the first round. However, the timing of this release seems to state otherwise.

As many teams do not want to give any hints as to what their draft plans may be, the timing of Dez’s release seems intriguing. If the Cowboys really were planning on drafting a receiver at 19 or potentially even trading up in the draft, keeping Dez– business wise– may have been the best move to hide a lack of star receiver power. As a result, it seems as though the Cowboys are not planning on actively pursuing a receiver, but may instead be pointed to drafting a defensive player in the first round to add to their lineup. Furthermore, the signings of Allen Hurns and Deonte Thompson seem to indicate they are fine with drafting a receiver in some of the later rounds of the draft, as this receiver class, though lacking in star power, has solid options that can be selected in the second and third rounds. With Sean Lee getting a year older and David Irving potentially being suspended to start the season, the Cowboys have more pressing needs at linebacker and defensive tackle and would be in their best interests selecting one of those positions over WR.

-Kobe L.

The Car Plays at Segerstrom

The Car Plays are a set of short scenes acted out by actors and actresses in cars. The audience is one to two people at a time who sit either in the front or the back of the car, depending on where the actors are, who watch the short play unfold before themselves. Some plays were sad, weird plays; some plays were humorous, laugh-out-loud funny.

All of them portrayed great acting abilities by the actors and actresses and demonstrated acting at its core. Many of the scenes were very moving as well as gave the audience the ability to contribute to the scene as characters themselves because of the fact that the audience sits in the same car as the actors and actresses, just feet from the scene being performed. This type of entertainment requires very versatile and accomplished actors and actresses who do not have to simply act to people hundreds of feet away in an enormous auditorium, but a few inches away in a car. Segerstrom put on this event and many people, including myself and my best friend, attended it and were blown away by its brilliance.

-Kyle H.

Stolen by Lucy Christopher

This was a very good book if you enjoy suspense and mystery.

The book starts when Gemma is at the airport with her parents. After fighting with her parents before the flight starts Gemma goes to the local kiosk with a coffee shop; she then spots a gorgeous man named Ty staring at her. While Gemma is searching for her wallet in her purse she, Ty helps pay for her coffee. Not only is Gemma stunned, but she is surprised that some man would actually want to help her out. She is then offered a spot to sit with Ty while he “offers” to put cream in her coffee for her. While Gem is not looking he places a drug in her drink so he can abduct her. Before Gemma can even recognize what he has done to her, she finds herself stranded in the middle of the desert in Austrialia. Not only is Gemma frightened, but she starts to become attached to Ty and can’t stop thinking about him.

Even though I understood that Ty had stolen Gemma, I think that he actually crafted a better life for her. Not only did he show affection towards her but he also showed that he was selfless when he demonstrated that he would save her above everybody else even if it meant that he would go to jail for over fifteen years. At the end of the book dark secrets start escaping Ty’s lips and explains how he had been watching Gemma since she was five. Not only does Gemma feel attached to Ty, but well at home she can’t stop thinking about him.

This book would definitely be a good read for someone that enjoys suspense.

-Rylie N.

Stolen by Lucy Christopher is available for checkout from the Mission Viejo Library

TV Review: What is missing from Arrow?

Arrow is a great show. It is about Oliver Queen. A man who was marooned on a island with one goal: to survive. When he was found and brought back to Starling City he became a crime fighting vigilantly known as the Arrow.

I decided to re-watch seasons 1, 2, and 3. Why those seasons you may ask? Because they are the most enjoyable.

I just thought that there was too many sentimental moments in the new series of Arrow then the old seasons. In seasons 1 Oliver wouldn’t talk about his love interests. He would keep it to himself and tell no one because he has better things to do.

Another thing is that they don’t have villains that don’t have to do just with the main bad guy. For example: In season 2 they had a villain that made human dolls. In season four they just fought assassins for the first half of the season.

There is also a rule about no killing that was enforced in season 2 but he would let it slide now and then. In season one however it was all he did which made it seem like more of his character. But up to season 4 and beyond he would stop the killing with a new arrow Felicity invented that wouldn’t kill Oliver’s target.

One thing that this show answers on all DC fanboys mind is what Oliver Queen did on that island for five years. When the show was first introduced we saw Oliver who started out as a pretty boy rich kid and became a survivor and most importantly a killer.

We see his experience in and out of the island that made him the arrow. We saw this through seasons 1 through 6. The sad thing is that they will not continue the flashbacks for the next season.

That right there makes me so mad that i want to smash my TV. There is just so many things that they can do in replace of Oliver Queens flashbacks. Those are my thoughts on the new seasons of arrow.

-Max U.

All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque

This was yet another book assigned to me in my English class this year. Surprisingly, contrary to the other books our class has read, I thoroughly enjoyed this one. Typically, I have a strong repulsive reflex to gore and all war related subjects. The discomfort my stomach feels and the immense sorrow I feel for fallen soldiers weighs my heart down. Remarque’s novel did just that but to my surprise, this book is one I’d read again.

Nineteen year old Paul Baumer narrates the daily lives of him and his German companions as they experience the horrors of World War I. Technological and warfare advancements such as trench warfare, tanks and poison gas pose serious threat to these inexperienced young boys. Paul gives a detailed account of the inhumane living conditions and terrific attacks where every man’s life is on the line and chance is the determining factor if one lives or gets blown up. A reader gets to meet and befriend all of Paul’s closest companions: Kat, Tjaden, Kropp, Kemmerich and others that Remarque reveals are the only people in the world that can understand and love Paul. Together they flirt with girls in attempt to regain their innocence and connection of the world they left behind and together they fight to survive, not only to keep themselves alive but to stay alive to support and comfort each other. There are humorous moments and there are melancholic moments that all coalesce to make Remarque’s masterpiece.

Like many war novels, the conditions and experiences sound absurd to civilians back at home. However, while majority of war novels glorify the bravery and heroism of soldiers, Remarque’s novel takes an opposing standpoint. War is not beautiful nor adventurous; war is a slaughterhouse that takes souls, strips them of innocence and leaves them fearful and desensitized. I love that Remarque chooses to focus on the negative effects of war and admonishes society for our constant exaltation of combat. Young children in our society have minds filled to the brim of the same ideals that Paul and his friends were taught in grade school. Their teacher, Kantorek, pounds patriotism into their young minds and shoves the hungry desire for glory down their throats. But the brutality of war destroyed any want to serve their country and gain homage back at home; Remarque desperately wants society to recognize his pleas of reducing war glorification.

The loss of innocence and the admonishing of war glorification is only two of the numerous themes depicted in this work. There are touching themes of friendship and there are heart wrenching themes of the Lost Generation that make the reader reflect on humanity and the value of life rather than spurring the reader into an acclaim of warfare. Remarque’s work is bittersweet, providing immense catharsis but an unsettling question in the back of one’s mind. Is war worth the pain? Are those who survive wars really surviving if they come back home only to suffer from PTSD and detachment from a life they once lived? There is no other book I’d recommend to a reader who wants a gripping but thought-provoking read.

-Jessica T.

All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque is availalbe for checkout from the Mission Viejo Library.