Suspect Red by L.M. Elliot

Suspect Red, by L.M. Elliot, was one of the most historically accurate books I’ve ever read. It takes place in the 1950’s, which was the time of the Cold War. This book has everything, from psychotic secret agents, to power-hungry communists. I used this book for an English report, and it gave me an abundance of powerful characters and vivid scenery to write about. Another factor that I really enjoyed was the length of the book. It wasn’t too long, nor too short. The book, in my opinion, is a great read for all ages.

The storyline follows the point of view of Richard, a teenage boy who loves reading. However, the nation is thrown into distrust, with communist propaganda around every corner. Hundreds of classic books are being thrown out, their authors accused of being pro-communist. His father, who Richard idolizes, happens to be working under the people responsible for this overexaggeration of fear, the FBI directors.

Overall, this is a great book for anyone looking for a good, well-rounded historical fiction read. If you’re interested in the Cold War, or just think the cover art looked cool, you’re in for a pleasant surprise. Thank you for reading my review on Suspect Red, by L.M. Elliot. Definitely take this book into consideration!

-Luke D.

Suspect Red by L. M. Elliot is available for checkout from the Mission Viejo Library

Transparent by Natalie Whipple

Image result for transparent natalie whippleI’m a big fan of sci-fi books, and sometimes I want to read something set in the modern era. Transparent, by Natalie Whipple, is exactly that.

In the Cold War, an anti-radiation pill called Radiasure was invented due to fears of nuclear warfare between the United States and Russia. A couple years later, mutations started appearing, but they weren’t that strange. But through every generation, the mutations grew worse, even with babies that never had contact with Radiasure.

Fiona is an invisible girl, and the only invisible person in the world. Imagine living your whole life never being able to look into a mirror, and never knowing what you look like. She’s the daughter one of powerful people who controls Radiasure. Her mother decided to escape with Fiona at the beginning of the book, and go into hiding, to get away from Fiona’s father, who treats them as weapons, and not people.

Being the only invisible girl is hard for Fiona when she starts in her new school. Algebra doesn’t make sense to her, and has to be tutored by an annoying senior, Seth. She doesn’t trust anyone, even Brady, and Bea, the two people who try to be her friend. Instead, she emails one of her brothers, Miles, at lunch and tells him what’s going on. Fiona especially doesn’t trust her other brother Graham, who has taken her back to her father every time she has tried to escape. Graham is supposedly trying to help Fiona and her mother, but she doesn’t trust him and thinks that he’ll tell her father where she is.

Eventually, Fiona begins to trust Brady, Seth, Bea, and Bea’s brothers. But is she going to jeopardize her friends and her safety? Or can she live a normal life where her father can never find out? Read the book to find out!

I enjoyed this book, and I think that it’s a cool glimpse into what superhero powers can be like for normal humans. There is also a sequel, called Blindsided. I recommend this book to older teens who like sci-fi and superheros.

-Rebecca V.

Transparent by Natalie Whipple is available for checkout from the Mission Viejo Library

Animal Farm by George Orwell

animalfarm_georgeorwellHave you ever hated animals so much that you wanted to eliminate all of them from the face of the earth? I, for sure, haven’t. I can’t imagine what life would be like without any pets or farm animals or zoos. We probably wouldn’t be able to live for long, so it is a ridiculous idea, right?

The animals of Animal Farm don’t seem to agree one bit. They see humans as a threat, who take the fruit of all the animal’s labor and give them hardly anything in return. After being rallied by Old Major, his fellow pigs, Snowball, Squealer and Napoleon run the farmer off the farm. With him gone, they eliminate any human influences, such as the saddles for the horses and the whips the farmers used to show their authority. For a while, the pigs ran the farm peacefully with everyone following the same set of simple rules:

The Seven Commandments (p 24)

  1. Whatever goes upon two legs is an enemy.
  2. Whatever goes upon four legs, or has wings, is a friend.
  3. No animal shall wear clothes.
  4. No animal shall sleep in a bed.
  5. No animal shall drink alcohol.
  6. No animal shall kill any other animal.
  7. All animals are equal.

Life seems straightforward, until the pigs, the supposed role models, begin to act more like humans, living in the house, drinking alcohol, learning to walk on their hind legs, and killing other animals, thus breaking five out of the seven rules.

Oddly enough, a story about a group of pigs overthrowing their human farmer and becoming the owners of a farm is captivating. It seems so outrageous that this could even happen, but there was a strong comparison to Stalinist Russia’s own problems. To young readers in this century, the story might have lost some of its meaning, as it was written during the Cold War, where relations between the United States and Russia were strained. Therefore, because  Snowball represents Trotsky, and Napoleon represents Stalin, the younger generation of readers may not fully understand the deeper satirical object of the text. As a result, some research the Russian Revolution beforehand may aid in understanding.

I truly thought this novel was wonderful! It is one of my favorite required reading books. Most memorable for me was the song, Beasts of England. I also loved the reactions of the other farms when they heard that Animal Farm was run by animals. I would have liked to see their faces in real life!

– Leila S., 10th grade

Animal Farm is available for check out from the Mission Viejo Public Library, Overdrive, and Axis360.