The Maze Runner by James Dashner

If you wish to read The Maze Runner, you’re in for a long adventure, totaling in four books and two behind the scenes books. Once you start, you cannot stop. Prepare to be thrown headfirst into a whirlwind of life, death, happiness, sadness, love, and hatred.

We begin in the Box. We watch as Thomas, the main character, is thrown into a community of 40-50 boys, who live in a place they’ve come to call ‘the Glade’. We learn that the place these boys live I see actually a maze, surrounding the Glade on all sides. The boys have been trying to figure out the maze for two years, and a new boy, or Glader, is sent up in the Box every month. Just like clockwork, one boy every month, none of which have any memories, except their names.

The boys in the Glade have developed a system, to keep them from going crazy. A boy named Alby is the leader, with a boy named Newt as his second in command. There are 9 jobs in the Glade: Builer, Slicer, Cooks, Track-Hoes, Med-Jacks, Baggers, Sloppers’ Brick-Nicks, and Runners. Being a Runner is the most dangerous job, because it is your job to run through the Maze and memorize the corridors. Then, you must return to the Glade, and write down what you’ve memorized.

You may ask, ‘well, why is this job so dangerous?’ This is because in the Maze, monsters come out at night. They are called ‘Grievers’ by the Gladers, and are disgusting, fleshy creatures that roam the Maze at night. If you are stung by one of these creatures, you go through something called the Changing, which gives you back your memories in a painful process.

Thomas, of course, wishes to become a Runner. We all assume that he will lead a happy life in the Glade, and that perhaps he and the boys will be able to escape. But, as usual in adventure books, something happens.

A girl comes up in the Box, only a day afterward Thomas. She is delivered with a note explaining that she is the last one. She is in a coma, only speaking a few words, such as ‘I’ve triggered the Ending.’

The Maze Runner is a fast paced, exciting book. Many will enjoy to twists and turns of the thrilling adventure novel created by James Dashner. I highly suggest this book!

-Sophia D.

The Maze Runner by James Dashner is available for checkout from the Mission Viejo Library

The One Memory of Flora Banks by Emily Barr

If I am honest, I was extremely annoyed with this book at the beginning. Flora Banks has no short term memory which means that essentially every page repeats the same information, which was extremely frustrating. I almost gave up on reading the book, but I never stop halfway when reading.

I am glad I kept with it. Either Flora’s memory got better or I got used to reading repetitive information, but I enjoyed the book. The story follows Flora, a girl stuck in time. She takes an insane amount of medicine to help her memory, which she has been told is faulty because of a disease she was diagnosed with when she was 10. She has clear memories of her life before her diagnosis, but until she kissed Drake, every memory slipped her grasp.

While Flora seemed to be a dependent young girl, she proved herself over and over again. Without her parents, and facing a fallout with her best friend, Flora is alone to fend for herself. And to find Drake, because if he helped Flora remember one memory, maybe he can fix her memory altogether. However, Flora has to rely on notes to herself to remember everything. So taking a trip to the Arctic Circle is not an easy task.

This novel is a great selection for teens, provided that the repetition at the beginning of the novel is not too discouraging.

– Leila S., 12th grade

The One Memory of Flora Banks by Emily Barr is available for checkout from the Mission Viejo Library

With Malice by Eileen Cook

Get ready to clear your schedule because With Malice by Eileen Cook will keep you hooked and unwilling to put her story down. Yale-bound, 18-year-old Jill Charron’s life is turned around when she wakes up in a hospital bed with a big blank where the memories of the past six weeks should be. Learning that she was in a cataclysmic car accident, she is shocked when she learnt it happened in her dream school trip abroad in Italy. Struggling to recover from her injuries sustained in the accident, she is startled to discover her best friend of over ten years, Simone, is dead.

Furthermore, she discovers her affluent father has hired a top-notch lawyer because the car accident and Simone’s death are being investigated as a murder, and Jill is being accused of causing Simone’s death. Simultaneously recovering from her injuries, and dealing with the aftermath of the accident, Jill must piece together the glimpses of memories she has to figure out what really happened to her best friend.

As I read this book, I was completely enamored with the story, and I could not put it down. The concept of the story may not be unique, but it was told in a way that made it seem like it was. The way Jill was portrayed in the story was accurate and she seemed like a real person. The ending fell a little bit flat, but overall the story was engrossing.

-Anmol K.

With Malice by Eileen Cook is available for checkout from the Mission Viejo Library. It can also be downloaded from Overdrive