Book vs. Movie: Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

He’s battled dragons, fended off numerous Dementors, and even faced He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named multiple times in the flesh. Harry’s been through quite a lot for a sixteen year old boy, and now he is entering his sixth year, nearing the end of his time at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.

This year is different though. As it is now known publicly that an infamous dark wizard is at large once again, the quest to defeat him once and for all has become ever more imminent. Dumbledore begins showing Harry what he knows about Tom Riddle’s past in the hopes that it will help him understand how this dark wizard must be defeated. However, much of it is speculation and guesswork based on the memories that Dumbledore has procured over the years relating to Tom. Unfortunately, a vital piece of information is still missing, and Dumbledore assigns Harry to retrieve it.

As if this were not enough for Harry to worry about, he still has to fulfill his role as captain of the Gryffindor Quidditch team and all the stress that comes with recruiting new members, cope with the increasing amounts of work they’re being assigned for classes, deal with Ron and Hermione’s intermittent bickering, and pursue his hunch about what Draco Malfoy might be up to.

As with all the other books in this series, I really love how J. K. Rowling so seamlessly intertwines so much humor and thought into such a complex story line. Though the danger of an extremely skilled and dangerous wizard is constantly looming about, Ron is still there eating and making snarky remarks, while dealing with his own problems having to do with girls. Hermione, too, is always there to keep Harry and Ron on top of their school work, and even often correcting their papers.

I think this book is amazing, as all the others are, and I’m always laughing out loud at what the characters do and think. I always have to tell myself before I watch a movie that has been adapted from a book that they can’t keep every single detail from the book and put it in the movie. It’s just not possible, especially with this book which is about 600 pages long. Keeping this in mind, I have to say that I really enjoyed the movie. I think that the director did a great job at choosing what to put in the movie and what might not have been as relevant (of course, being a huge fan of the book, I’m inclined to think that everything is relevant, but again, it would be impossible to keep every single detail). I think that the movie definitely sticks to the main story line and includes all the necessary information needed to understand the plot.

But the wish is always in the back of mind of being able to watch a Harry Potter movie in which every single detail from the books is preserved. Even if it were five hours long (or longer), I would still watch it – over and over again probably.

-Elina T.

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince by J.K Rowling is available for checkout from the Mission Viejo Library

A Court of Thorns and Roses (series) by Sarah J. Maas

I’m sure you’re all familiar with the saying: “don’t judge a book by its cover”. This is something I generally try to abide by, but if I’m being honest with myself, it doesn’t always work out that way.

If I were to go into a bookstore or library looking for a book to read, this definitely would not be one I’d consider choosing. (Now since I’ve read the series, the covers have kind of grown on me). Luckily, I’m fortunate enough to have friends who love reading as much as I do who recommended this book to me.

The story follows a mortal girl named Feyre (fay-ruh) who lives with her father and two older sisters. Her town lives in fear of the immortal faeries who live beyond the forest and the invisible wall that separates the faerie realms from those of the mortals. They’re a poor family, and Feyre’s father, who is crippled, has given up hope and has stopped supporting his own family. It has become Feyre’s duty to go hunting every day to keep her family alive.

One day, while hunting, Feyre encounters a wolf, and shoots it. This proves to be a grave mistake, and Feyre gets taken off to Prythian (a realm on the other side of the wall) to live with immortal faeries. The immortal faeries she’d grown up fearing and hating.

I absolutely loved the first book! It’s based off of Beauty and the Beast, so the story is kind of familiar, but it’s also very different. The second book was even better! And don’t even get me started on the third one. I don’t know how many times I’ve read series were the first book is great, but it just goes downhill from there. I’m telling you, this series starts off great, and just gets better and better.

I don’t really want to talk too much about the individual characters because I might spoil something, but I’ll just say that Sarah J. Maas (the author) is so skilled at creating characters that readers will love and care about (this doesn’t even do her justice, you won’t really know until you read the series how amazing, funny, and lovable the characters are!). I also love how she describes the settings so vividly. I would do almost anything to be able spend time in Prythian (the world that this book takes place in) and hang out with all the characters!

So if you’re looking for a fantasy book filled with adventure, romance, humor, and emotion (I almost cried while reading the last book which is saying something because I practically never cry while reading), I highly, highly recommend this series.

-Elina T.

A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas is available for checkout from the Mission Viejo Library

Echo by Pam Muñoz Ryan

Interwoven by a single object, the three lives of children are forever changed by magical harmonica in the novel Echo by Pam Muñoz Ryan.

The story begins with a young boy named Otto, who meets three sisters when he gets lost in a forbidden forest. Interacting with them, Otto realizes the mysterious nature of them. The sisters guide him home, and give him a harmonica with a special “M” seal. The harmonica makes its way to a young boy named Friedrich in Germany.

Hitler is rising, and the Nazi’s party influence is very prominent; resistance to it is very difficult. Discovering the special harmonica in the factory his Father works in, Friedrich plays it and realizes there is something special about it. Because of unforeseen circumstances, he is forced to get rid of the harmonica.

It travels next to Mike, an orphan, in Pennsylvania. Constantly taking care of his younger brother, Mike is looking for a break to help himself and his brother out of their destitute lives. Musically gifted with playing the piano, Mike discovers the special harmonica. He and his brother are eventually adopted, but there are some complications with their new guardian. The last child in the novel is Ivy. Receiving the harmonica, her special talent for playing is recognized by her teacher; her teacher chooses her to play a solo in a special concert, but Ivy’s Father receives a job, forcing her to move way. Her Father’s job is to take care of a farm of Japanese family, while they are in an internment camp. The neighboring farms are anti-Japanese, and some vandalize the property. The harmonica helps her adjust to the move. Each of the children’s lives have their own story with the harmonica, but the ending ties them all together beautifully.

Even though this book is intended for younger children, anybody of any age would enjoy this novel because of its simplistic nature and “feel-good” element. My favorite part of this book was how there were multiple stories, and they were told in such detail, that one was able to connect and understand the individual characters. It is also relatable because of the backdrop of the second World War, and how it impacted people differently depending on where they lived. The “magic” element made the novel all the more enjoyable because it captured the innocence of the young children.

I loved Echo, and I would recommend it to anybody looking for a light, quick read.

Echo by Pam Muñoz Ryan is available for checkout from the Mission Viejo Library.

The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane by Kate DiCamillo

In my 5th grade literature class, I was introduced to a charming little novel called The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane by Kate DiCamillo. When I read through it as a 10 year old, I thought of the book as an exciting adventure and I remember thinking how humorous it was that the main character was an arrogant china doll rabbit that wore silk suits. But now, I go back and read it and I see more than a rabbit toy.  Encased within the text is a message of the importance of humility and compassion and the power to prompt the reader into self-reflection of their habits and heart.

Spoiled Edward is a parallel and a mirrored reflection of who we are as a society. Today’s culture is the epitome of arrogance. Just like how Edward stared at his own reflection and never ceased to be amazed at his own fineness, we try to be the person on social media with the most followers, we buy nice clothes and take immense amounts time caring about what people view us as. This is our image on the exterior. But on the interior, we are too full of arrogance and too empty of compassion. Luckily, this tale displays a miraculous change of heart. Edward gets lost and falls out of the comfortable life he lives with his rich owner. He witnesses broken hearts, lost dreams, hopelessness and death for the first time in his entire existence. His ego slowly disintegrates and at the end, a lonely, depressed Edward utters a very significant quote in this novel. He states, “‘I have already been loved . . . I have been loved by a girl named Abilene. I have been loved by a fisherman and his wife and a hobo and his dog. I have been loved by a boy who played the harmonica and by a girl who died. Don’t talk to me about love . . . I have known love’” (193). This journey is the catalyst that leads Edward’s cold heart into a state of vulnerability. His entire china body aches with grief because once he finally understands what love means, it is too late, for all the people he learned to love are gone. Edward, the king of his own little world, understands that the finest things in life are not gold pocket watches, imported hats and dashing reflections.

We can learn from Edward that we need to step away from ourselves and take time to love others who are less fortunate or in need of affection. Civilization can be swept away by arrogant ignorance which ultimately leads to destruction and turmoil. Therefore, this novel counters the coldness in our hearts and saves us from the cruel consequences of our actions. As Edward’s painted on eyes open to the conclusion that life’s greatest gift is love and love alone, the audience is awoken with him.

The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane by Kate DiCamillo is available for checkout from the Mission Viejo Library.

Into the Wild (Warrior Cats) by Erin Hunter

This is the first book to the Warrior Cats series, and I have to say that I really enjoyed it. It’s about a bunch of wild cats living in the forest that live in packs called Clans, and the battles, and the cats growing up and becoming warriors. The books are really action-packed and fun to read! And after reading this story, I just couldn’t look at house cats the same way ever again!

Anyways, to begin with, there are four Clans in the forest: ThunderClan, ShadowClan, RiverClan, and WindClan. There is also a StarClan, which is like the cats’ heaven. Everything is peaceful, until a mysterious omen arrives:

“Fire Alone Can Save Our Clan…”

For generations, four Clans of wild cats have shared the forest according to the laws laid down by their warrior ancestors. But the ThunderClan cats are in grave danger, and the sinister ShadowClan grows stronger every day. Noble warriors are dying – and some deaths are more mysterious than others.

And in the midst of this turmoil appears just an ordinary house cat named Rusty… who may turn out to be the bravest warrior of them all.

-Katharine L.

Into the Wild by Erin Hunter is available for checkout from the Mission Viejo Library. It can also be downloaded for free from Overdrive.

The Inquisition by Taran Matharu

More demons, epic battles, and fights to the death…

On trial for a crime he did not commit, Fletcher must face the Inquisition who will decide his future – the process is grueling, lead by those who will do anything to see him suffer and haunted by ghosts from the past with clues to Fletcher’s tragic origins.

But Fletcher has little time to dwell on these new revelations when the king announces a deadly challenge to the graduating students at Vocans, a school for students that have the rare ability to summon demons. One that involves entering Orc territory to complete a risky mission. With loyal demons by their sides, commoners and nobles, dwarves and elves must overcome barriers of class and race and work together to triumph. The reward: a fortune in gold, the safety of an empire and long wanted peace.

With the entire empire watching, Fletcher has much to prove, but there are those out to get him and it soon becomes clear that there’s a traitor in their midst, trying to thwart the mission and create unrest within the Empire.

With everything stacked against him, Fletcher must use everything in his power to fight his way to victory. But will he survive?


I loved reading this book, especially since all of the suspense that kept me reading till the very end. This book is like Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter combined, two of my favorite books. The Summoner series is truly excellent!

-Katharine L.

The Inquisition by Taran Matharu is available for checkout from the Mission Viejo Library.

The Novice by Taran Matharu

One fateful night, blacksmith apprentice Fletcher discovers that he has the ability to summon demons from another world. Mysteriously given a leather bound book, he accidentally summons in a deserted graveyard a Salamander demon, named Ignatius.

He then travels to Vocans Adept Military Academy, a school for adepts with the ability to summon demons. There, the gifted are trained in the art of summoning. Fletcher is put through grueling training as a battlemage to fight in the Hominum Empire’s war against Orcs.

Fletcher must tread carefully while training alongside children of powerful nobles. The power hungry, those seeking alliances, and the fear of betrayal surround him. Fletcher finds himself caught in the middle of powerful forces, with only his demon Ignatius for help.

As the pieces on the board maneuver for supremacy, Fletcher must decide where his loyalties lie. The fate of an empire is in his hands. All of Hominum will be destroyed if makes a fatal mistake. The Novice is the first in a trilogy about Fletcher, his demon Ignatius, and the war against the Orcs. What will happen?


Something that I liked was that at the back of the book, there’s a type of animal encyclopedia where it lists all the breeds of demons that can be summoned and their powers. I thought that that was super cool! I can’t wait for the second book, The Inquisition!

The Novice by Taran Matharu is available for checkout from the Mission Viejo Library.