The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupery

To touch, to see, to hear, are all senses given to us. What is not given to us, through birth, is the power to feel. Feeling is something humans pick up on through their surroundings and their journey through life. Being 15 years old, I have not begun to feel, until I had read The Little Prince.

Teaching us the lessons of ignorance through adults and helping us understand that keeping some part of an inner child is valid to survive through life, this story by the talented Antoine de Saint-Exupery, opens with a pilot who crashes into the middle of the desert and soon meets a blonde-headed boy, with eyes filled not with tears, but of innocence.

Realizing, he is stuck and has nothing better to do, the pilot begins to ask questions about this strange young boy, until it is revealed that this boy is from a planet far from here and is the prince of that planet (hence the title). As I read further into this book, I had realized that to repel misery from looking for you for company, that you should have a heart. Though some may argue that having a heart makes one more vulnerable, it also makes one get out of bed every morning, smile, and most of all find purpose in life.

As I have stated earlier, this book does teach to keep some part of your inner child, what I mean is that children normally have fuller, more giving hearts than adults, which is why they are so much happier. All in all, to live is to be happy and to be happy you need a heart, which is why I love this book so much, because I now know how to fully live my life.

-Kimi M.

The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupery is available for checkout from the Mission Viejo Library

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J. K. Rowling

To begin Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, the Weasleys invite Harry to the Quidditch World Cup. At the game, Death Eaters, Voldemort’s servants, show up, and at the end of the match Voldemort’s sign appears above the field. Back at Hogwarts, Harry finds out that Hogwarts is hosting the Triwizard Tournament. Even though Harry isn’t old enough to compete, he is still very excited to watch. The three competing schools are Hogwarts, Durmstrang, and Beauxbatons. The goblet of fire chooses one student from each school to participate. For Hogwarts, Cedric Diggory is chosen, for Durmstrang Victor Krum is chosen, and for Beauxbatons Fleur Delacour is chosen. Oddly after all three are chosen, Harry’s name flies out of the goblet. Regardless of his age, Harry is the fourth participant. This angers Ron because he thinks that Harry did put his name into the goblet, even though he didn’t. The first trial of the tournament is to steal a golden eye from a dragon. Harry does this, and somehow it convinces Ron that Harry wasn’t lying to him. The second task is to retrieve an item from the bottom of a lake filled with mer-people. Harry doesn’t know how he will do this until the very last minute. Harry is now tied for first place. Someone at the school wants Harry to die, but nobody knows who it is. Because of this, Sirius Black returns to watch over Harry. The last trial of the tournament is to find the Winner’s Cup. During the trial, Cedric gets hurt and Harry helps him. They then decide to become joint winners. They find the Winner’s Cup, but when they grab onto it they get transported to a graveyard. Confused about their whereabouts, Cedric is killed by one of Voldemort’s servants, Wormtail. Harry sees Voldemort and just barely escapes with his life. Back at Hogwarts, Harry clutches Cedric’s body and cries for the loss of his friend. Harry soon finds out who the traitor in Hogwarts is. It was Professor Moody, the newly recruited Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher. Harry tells Dumbledore and Cornelius Fudge, the Minister of Magic, but only Dumbledore believes Harry.

-Emilio V.

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire is available for checkout at the Mission Viejo Library. It can also be downloaded for free from Overdrive

Wings by E.D. Baker

Tamisin Warner was always a bit different from everyone else. She had sparkly freckles that she called spreckles, pointy ears, and always danced outside when the moon was full.  Ever since one fateful Halloween, she had been able to see strange human animal hybrids no one else could.  Jak, a new boy at Tamisin’s high school, seems to realize Tamisin is different and knows more about her than he lets on.

However, when actual fairy wings emerge from her back, Tamisin sets out to find the answers to who she truly is with Jak by her side.  Tamisin encounters many mysterious, magical creatures and strange new places during her journey and isn’t prepared for what the answers to her questions hold…

I enjoyed this book very much because it was set in present day but was still mysterious, magical, and whimsical all at once.  It’s interesting to read from both Tamisin and Jak’s point of views as you get to learn about both characters’ background stories and their seemingly separate worlds that are actually intertwined.  This is another great book that is reminiscent of a fairy tale by E.D. Baker!

-Kaitlyn S.

The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by C. S. Lewis

The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe is a story of the discovery of Narnia. Narnia is a fictitious land with castles and fauns. During World War II, Edmund, Peter, Susan, and Lucy move to live in the country with Professor Kirke. On a rainy day, while exploring the big house, Lucy finds a big wardrobe. Lucy steps into the wardrobe, and into Narnia. Narnia is a big snowy forest with several mythical creatures. Lucy encounters one of those creatures right away. Just as she steps into Narnia she sees a faun. A faun is a half human half goat.

The faun’s name is Faun Tumnus and invites Lucy to tea and Lucy accepts. While having their tea, the faun explains that Narnia has been enchanted by the White Witch so that it is always winter. Lucy then leaves Narnia to tell her siblings, but none of them believe her and continually tease her. Then one day Edmund sees Lucy go into Narnia and decides to follow her. When he gets into Narnia he doesn’t see Lucy anywhere, but instead meets the White Witch. The Witch tells Edmund that she is the Queen of Narnia. The Witch then proceeds to get Edmund on her side by feeding him Turkish Delight. The Witch also convinces Edmund to bring back the rest of his siblings. While heading back to the wardrobe, Edmund runs into Lucy. Lucy tells Edmund of the White Witch, but Edmund denies knowing anything of her. Even after this Edmund claims that Narnia is a silly lie. One day, while hiding in the wardrobe from housekeeping, all four children find themselves in Narnia. Faun Tumnus has been captured for treason, so the children must get help to defeat the White Witch from a lion named Aslan. They find Aslan and defeat the White Witch. The four children then become the rulers of Narnia for many years.

-Emilio V.

The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by C. S. Lewis is available for checkout from the Mission Viejo Library. It can also be downloaded for free from Overdrive

Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi

I was first attracted to this book because of the cover. However, this book is definitely worth more than just the outside.

The story begins within the thoughts of Juliette, the girl who was locked up in an asylum for almost a whole year, under the tyrannical supremacy of the Reestablishment. The only object that kept her from becoming insane was a notebook.

“I spent my life folded between the pages of books. In the absence of human relationships I formed bonds with paper characters. i lived love and loss through stories threaded in history; I experienced adolescence by association. My world is one interwoven web of words, stringing limb to limb, bone to sinew, thoughts and images all together. I am a being comprised of letters, a character created by sentences, a figment of imagination formed through fiction…”

Just then, the appearance of a boy that existed in her buried memories altered everything, most importantly, it had given her hope. But she knew that nothing could be a coincidence, and it has proved to be true. Juliette is no ordinary girl. She is a walking weapon. And the Reestablishment has plans for her long long time ago.

Tahereh Mafi’s unique journal-like writing style for the main character has brought me into the book right from the start. Unlike any other book that I’ve read, the strikethroughs in Juliette’s journal gave me a closer insight into her own erratic thoughts and of the chaotic dystopian world. with endless fear.

Fear, for the world and for her own power and what she might do, Juliette lived a life full of of shadows. Just as the propagandas of the Reestablishment, the idea of her being a monster has carved deeply into her mind and the others.

Only two people thought of that differently. The two people who craved to have her, craved to want her to join their sides.

Two people who are utterly different.

Who will Juliette choose?

The details of this book and the progressive plot has overwhelmed me. I witnessed the drastic change in Juliette from a weak and powerless girl to an unforgettable heroine who stood up against authority.

But does she know that she is not alone?

Lastly, I would like to end my review of the book with these words written by Juliette in her only journal:

“Hope is hugging me, holding me in its arms, wiping away my tears and telling me that today and tomorrow and two days from now I will be just fine and I;m so delirious I actually dared to believe it…”

-Kate L.

Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi is available for checkout from the Mission Viejo Library.

Song of the Current by Sarah Tolcser

Sarah Tolcser’s first novel, Song of the Current, was much different from what I expected when first picking up the book—though not in a bad way. This exciting story gives a taste of everything: action, adventure, romance, magic, and sacrifice—all centered around one girl who sails with her father on a wherry in the Riverlands.

When she was a child, Caroline “Caro” Oresteia was told her destiny: Like the many Oresteias who came before her, she would be favored by the god in the river. The river god speaks to sailors indirectly and keeps them safe on their journeys. Caro awaits the day when he will begin speak to her, just as he speaks to her father.

When she is seventeen, Caro still has not heard from the river god, and instead finds herself the captain of her father’s beloved wherry, Cormorant, transporting a strange package in order to free her father from imprisonment. When she agrees to carry the strange cargo, Caro has no idea of what her involvement is going to entail. However, it does not take her long to realize that the contents of the strange crate she is carrying is a danger to her and her wherry.

With the Black Dogs (a group of merciless pirates who are searching for the strange crate) looming threateningly in Caro’s wake, the unexpected arrival of a bothersome boy who seems to have something to hide, and someone attempting to force their way into the seat of the Emparch of Akhaia, a whirlpool of dangers, betrayals, and secrecy forms, pulling Caro in.

Through all of this, the god of the river remains silent in Caro’s ears. She begins to wonder if her true destiny is not what she had been told so many years ago.

Although this story is set in a fictional world, I liked how Sarah Tolcser used just enough factual elements such as sailing terms to maintain the believability of the world, and I also liked her use of strong characterization. Caro is a bold, determined character, and it is inspiring how she does not care about someone’s title—she bases her view of them on what she sees them do.

As a reader, I love big fantasy series, but I also like finding new ones that I have not heard much about. The Song of the Current would be a great read for anyone looking for another fictional world to explore. From shadowmen and sword fights to politics and philosophy, this book covers an amazing spectrum. If you ever read this book, I hope your journey through the Riverlands is just as exciting and full of adventure as Caro’s was. Though, of course, much, much safer.

– Mia T.

Song of the Current by Sarah Tolcser is available for checkout from the Mission Viejo Library

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by J.K. Rowling, John Tiffany, and Jack Thorne

I rejoiced when I heard there would be an eighth Harry Potter book as I’m sure the rest of the Harry Potter fandom did.  It definitely delivers the same thrills, adventure, and fun as the other seven.

The story centers around Albus Severus Potter, Harry Potter’s youngest son.  He doesn’t fit in as well at Hogwarts, but finds a friend in Draco Malfoy’s son Scorpius.  Albus and Scorpius are both sorted into Slytherin and Albus’s relationship with his father worsens over the years.  Then, everything changes as the pair meet Delphi, Amos Diggory’s niece, and set off to change the past with the help of a Time-Turner and save Cedric Diggory. The rest of the story lies within the book…

This was an interesting read because it isn’t written like a conventional book; it’s written like a script with descriptions of the surroundings, acts and scenes, and the character’s names before their dialogue.  I loved seeing Harry, Ron, and Hermione all grown up with families.  It makes you feel like you’ve grown along with the characters. This book was a great addition to the series and I recommend it to everyone who loves Harry Potter and magical, fantasy adventure books!

-Kaitlyn S.

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is available for checkout from the Mission Viejo Library. It can also be downloaded for free from Overdrive