Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte

janeeyre_charlottebronteImagine a young orphan, taken in by dear uncle and aunt only to be beaten regularly by their cousin and is forced to live in a small room. They is sent away to school and inherits a fortune from a dead relative. Sound familiar? If you guess Harry Potter, that is close, but someone else also qualifies.

Imagine a girl living in a mansion. She is forbidden from a certain section of the house. The man who owns the mansion asks her to marry him. It is only after she leaves and returns that she says yes. Did you guess Beauty and the Beast? It may share similar qualities, but this isn’t dear old Belle.

Now picture a girl. Now make her the plainest girl you can think of. Plainer. Not an ounce of beauty. But smart, passionate, and a strong need for independence. Now that’s Jane Eyre.

There are so many fairy tale elements in Jane Eyre that it’s hard to keep track. But the one Jane doesn’t follow directly is that of Cinderella. Sure, Mr. Rochester loves her and showers Jane with more jewels than she knows what to do with, but this Prince Charming has a secret hiding in the west wing of the third story of his mansion. As his secret is reveal, Jane doesn’t choose love, instead choosing to be true to herself. She left the ball and the charming Rochester never found the maiden who fit the shoe.

Instead, something only a fairy tale could explain. She heard him cry out for her miles and miles away. She came back in her own good time when she was ready and Rochester’s secret had been dealt with. Is it really a spoiler when this book is such a classic? I may have read this book for school, but that didn’t stop me from loving this fairy tale of a book.

-Nicole G., 12th Grade

Jane Eyre is available for check out from the Mission Viejo Library

Book Review: Just Ella, by Annette K. Larsen

just_ella_coverI really like fantasy books. A lot. It’s pretty much all I read. The big ball gowns, the fancy table manners and the magical elements are something I have loved since I was very young. But this book was different for me because it doesn’t have a typical plot. The heroine is so strong and independent it took me by surprise. I mean, usually these girls forgive their prince for being stupid, get married and live happily ever after. But Ariella isn’t like that. She is bold, daring, rash, and strong. She is a princess that is more complex than Cinderella or Sleeping Beauty. Her character development is stunning.

Ella is just looking for a distraction from palace life when she meets Gavin, a gardener, on the grounds and they quickly form a relationship. But there are so many more twists and turns than that. Ella’s suitor is not just slimy but practically a criminal, her dad is a little bipolar, and her mother may never be completely happy in her role as queen, not to mention her spiteful sister who says mean things to watch Ariella squirm. The layers that Larsen uses to develop her plot are intense and colorful.

I have plenty of praise for Just Ella. It is a charming book with so much intense emotion and so much drama, yet it never feels really cheesy. The word choice is nice even though the sentence structure is a little awkward. But where I think Larsen really excels is her character development. Every character has their own story and with that story comes a book in and of itself.

I really loved this book and if you love romance or fantasy or princesses at all, I suggest you give it a read. Even if you don’t, this one is different.

-Becka O., 8th grade

Book Review: Cinder, by Marissa Meyer

cinderCinder by Marissa Meyer is a great summer read!  With a fusion of the classic fairy tale, Cinderella, and the futuristic story of Star Wars, Cinder had me on the edge of my seat the entire time!

This sci-fi story takes place in the far future.  In the future Earth has been through two more World Wars, been unified as a peaceful place, and is neighbors to the powerful alien race, Lunars, who live on the moon.  Earth leaders have been trying to negotiate a peace treaty with Lunars.

The protagonist of the story is, Cinder, a teenage cyborg girl who is looked down upon by society and by her stepmother.  When Cinder meets the charming Prince Kai, she finds her world slowly turning upside down.  At the same time, her family is being attacked by the incurable plague.  Devastated from the aftermath of the plague, Cinder’s stepmother volunteers Cinder to the cyborg draft.  The cyborg draft has cyborgs test cures for the plague and no cyborg has come out alive.  At the medical facilities, Cinder unravels the hidden truths about her life.  These truths put herself, Prince Kai, and the entire Earth in danger.  Cinder is soon intertwined with the outcome of every being on Earth and Luna!  Check out this book this summer to live through the adventure of Cinder!

I would recommend this book to every teen! Cinder is an amazing new twist to the fairy tale we all know and love.  There is action, romance, and suspense!  It is filled with so many new surprises!  There is that one big question that haunted me and I didn’t know the answer until the very end of the book.  I couldn’t help but constantly wonder what was going to happen next!  Because of that I couldn’t stop reading it!

If you liked Divergent or The Hunger Games I recommend this book for you!

-Erika T., 8th grader

 

Book Review: The School for Good and Evil, by Soman Chainani

school_good_evil

“Sophie had waited her whole life to be kidnapped. But tonight, all the other children of Gavaldon writhed in their beds. If the School Master took them, they’d never return.”

Every year in Gavaldon, the School Master kidnaps two children and takes them to the School for Good and Evil to be trained to survive their own fairy tale – or so they say.

Best friends Agatha and Sophie are complete opposites. Sweet Sophie is like a princess with her kindness and fancy dresses, and gloomy Agatha seems fit for the School for Evil. But when they are whisked into the Endless Woods, Agatha gets sent to the School for Good to take classes like Beautification, Good Deeds and History of Heroism, while Sophie is sent to Evil to take Henchman Training, Special Talents and Curses & Death Traps! But maybe this mistake is just the first step to discovering their true selves.

In this book, nothing is as it seems. It is filled with creatures that only exist in fairy tales, like the golden goose, werewolves, and witches. Suitable for people of all ages, pick up this book at a bookstore or your local library for a great read. I am waiting eagerly for the release of the second book, A World Without Princes, which comes out in mid-April so that I will be able to find out what happens next.

-Linna C., 7th grade

Book Review: Just Ella, By Margaret Peterson Haddix

just_ella_coverIn the book, Just Ella, Ella (also called “Cinder”) finds her own way to the ball (there was no fairy godmother, despite the rumors) and wins the heart of the prince. But now she is finding that life at the palace as Prince Charming’s betrothed is not as great as she thought it was going to be.

If you’ve heard a fairytale like this: A Glass Slipper, Prince Charming, Happily Ever After… we welcome you to reality: Royal Genealogy Lessons, Needlepoint, acting like “a Proper Lady,” and, worst of all, a Prince who is not the least bit interesting, and certainly not charming.

Well, as soon-to-be Princess Ella deals with her newfound status, she comes to realize she is not princess material. But breaking off a royal engagement is not easy, especially when you’re crushing on another boy in the palace. For Ella to escape, it will take intelligence, determination, and spunk, and no ladylike behavior allowed. Does she escape without getting caught?

When I read the book, the writer, Margaret Peterson Haddix, made you keep reading because it got very interesting! I would let the age 10 and older read it because it would be hard with the words that are hard to pronounce and complicated ones, too. The companion book to Just Ella by the same author is Palace of Mirrors. 

-Kate B., 7th grade