Favorite Book Quotes from 2021

I read 78 books in 2021 and here are some quotes that stuck with me.

In, The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue, V.E. Schwab wrote, “Being forgotten, she thinks, is a bit like going mad. You begin to wonder what is real, if you are real. After all, how can a thing be real if it cannot be remembered?” This book had so many moments that just made you think about life and what it truly means to have people you love. Addie had to live her life without those meaningful relationships, battling the thought that she isn’t good enough to be remembered.

“She’d laughed, and if he could have bottled the sound and gotten drunk on it every night, he would have. It terrified him.” ― Leigh Bardugo, Six of Crows. Kaz and Inej have battled their demons throughout this book and had to learn how to love again. Inej and him have had such a complicated but incredible partnership for the ages. Their love goes farther than just words.

Leigh Bardugo wrote in her book, Crooked Kingdom, “I have been made to protect you. Even in death, I will find a way.” If there was one word you had to use to describe how I felt while reading this scene it would be devastated. Matthias and Nina’s love for each other will forever stay, even after death. They are the definition of soulmates.

“Just because someone hurts you doesn’t mean you can simply stop loving them. It’s not a person’s actions that hurt the most. It’s love. If there was no love attached to the action, the pain would be a little easier to bear.”― Colleen Hoover, It Ends with Us. This book was an emotional rollercoaster taking us through the pain Lily survived. She was so strong, surviving an abusive relationship that shattered anyone who read this book into a million pieces.

“We’re more than our mistakes. We’re more than what people expect of us.”― Marieke Nijkamp, This Is Where It Ends. Mistakes don’t define who we are. We grow from them and become a better version of ourselves. People expect you to be perfect when in reality no one is. We are the only ones allowed to define ourselves and who we are on the inside.

“But there’s comfort in knowing that when your plans fall apart, you can survive. That the worst thing imaginable can happen, but you can get through it.”― Jenn Bennett, Starry Eyes. This quote hit me hard because I am a planner and I don’t like to leave things up to fate. But, it made me realize that I can get through it and survive even if all your plans fall apart.

“For so many years I lived in constant terror of myself. Doubt had married my fear and moved into my mind, where it built castles and ruled kingdoms and reigned over me, bowing my will to its whispers until I was little more than an acquiescing peon, too terrified to disobey, too terrified to disagree. I had been shackled, a prisoner in my own mind. But finally, finally, I have learned to break free.”― Tahereh Mafi, Ignite Me. Juliette found herself throughout this series and learned how to truly be herself without the doubt of not being enough.

Holly Black in, The Queen of Nothing, wrote, “Maybe it isn’t the worst thing to want to be loved, even if you’re not. Even if it hurts. Maybe being human isn’t always being weak.” Jude battled her thoughts of hating being human. She grew to know that being human doesn’t mean you’re weak and that you’re allowed to love.

“I’m starting to wonder if this is what being in love is. Being okay with ripping yourself to shreds, so the other person can stay whole.”― Ali Hazelwood, The Love Hypothesis. Love means sacrifice. Sacrificing yourself for someone else, someone you love.

“The difference between the ugly side of love and the beautiful side of love is that the beautiful side is much lighter. It makes you feel like you’re floating. It lifts you up. Carries you.” ― Colleen Hoover, Ugly Love. Some parts of love are beautiful but some are ugly. The beautiful side can consume you and make you feel like it’s worth it to get through the ugly side to find the beautiful side.

In November 9, Colleen Hoover wrote, “One of the things I always try to remind myself of is that everyone has scars,” she says. “A lot of them are even worse than mine. The only difference is that mine are visible and most people’s aren’t.” Some scars are visible and show other people the pain that you’ve survived. The scars that aren’t visible are shown when people open up to another person they trust. Both kinds of scars show how strong each person is to survive and get to this moment.

She wasn’t a robot or a disabled autistic girl. She was herself. She was enough. She could be anything. She could make herself into anything. She could prove everyone wrong.” ― Helen Hoang, The Kiss Quotient. Stella doesn’t let autism define her. She alone knows that she is enough and can do anything she dreams of.

Every single one of these books have really changed me and the way I look at love and life.

-Kaitlyn D.

Comparing Series: Shatter Me Series vs. The Cruel Prince Series

The Shatter Me series by Tahereh Mafi and The Cruel Prince series by Holly Black are both amazing fiction book series. The Shatter Me series consists of 6 books and 5 novellas while The Cruel Prince series consists of 3 books.

The Shatter Me series involves the main character, Juliette, who has the ability of the touch of death. Meaning that whoever she touches dies. We follow her through her challenges of finding herself and struggling with being wanted. As a child Juliette was neglected for being they way she was. Throughout the series she finds connections with many characters and she truly finds meaningful relationships. The series has a big plot twist that no one expects in the last 3 books. Each book keeps you wanting more. The first 3 books are in Juliette’s POV while the others are in multiple POVs.

The Cruel Prince series follows a human named Jude. She wants to live in the High Court of Faerie instead of the human world. To live at the court she has to trick the cruel prince named Cardan. Cardan is the youngest prince and he and Jude hate each other. Jude throughout the series finds out she is good at defying people and causing bloodshed. Later in the series Jude becomes the brain behind all of Cardan’s decisions and finds she is a powerful political leader. She has to maintain order in Faerie and keep everything under her control.

In both series there is a powerful female character that is in charge. Jude and Juliette have to maintain order and to do so they have to face many challenges. They overcome their troubles and do what’s better for society instead of themselves. Jude and Juliette learn to sacrifice their own happiness for the better of society. Being powerful rulers, they need to be selfless and Jude and Juliette show this trait throughout the series. Both series also have major plot twists towards the end of the series.

The series have their differences as well. The Shatter Me books are more science fiction while The Cruel Prince series is more fantasy with non-human creatures. The Shatter Me series is focused around overthrowing the corrupt government controlling everyone and everything. They have laws restricting the people in the series and the main character’s main goal is to make the world return to normal. The Cruel Prince series has non-human creatures that are cut-off from the human world. They are separated and the main character, Jude, is a human trying to maintain peace in the non-human world. So, though both series are fiction, they are different types of fiction.

Both series still reflect the same messages. The main characters learn to form relationships with the people they love, showing the message of not having to be alone forever. You will find people that respect you and want to be a positive influence on your life.

Both series were a 5/5 star rating and I definitely recommend reading them!

-Kaitlyn D.

Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi is available for checkout from the Mission Viejo Library. It can also be downloaded for free from Overdrive.

The Cruel Prince by Holly Black is available for checkout from the Mission Viejo Library. It can also be downloaded for free from Overdrive.

Animal Farm by George Orwell

Animal Farm by George Orwell is a short, yet classic allegorical novella of dystopian and political fiction. The book takes place on Manor Farm, a large farm where animals constantly feel oppressed by humans. Their anger towards the human race motivates them to rebel against rulership by kicking their farmer out of the farm and running the farm on their own. In Animal Farm–where all animals are supposedly equal–the lives of the animals turn upside down when pigs and dogs begin to rise in power through manipulation and propaganda. Throughout the novel, there’s a gradual progression where the pigs of Animal Farm begin to resemble humans both physically and psychologically.

Although this novel can be a fictional book for children, adults and teens are able to look past the plot and truly understand the story’s meaning. I, myself, am grateful to have read this at an older age so the themes are more prominent and prevalent to real life. Considering that George Orwell himself was a democratic socialist, the novel was a direct form of criticism towards communism, totalitarian and authoritarian regimes, and two infamous dictators–Joseph Stalin and Adolf Hitler. Orwell also includes various ways in which the ruling class ridicules and manipulates the working class. The working class is often seen giving up energy and resources for the benefit of the ruling class, yet they’re brain washed into feeling content with their lives, believing that all their hard work is contributing to the farm as a whole.

After reading the novel, I was amazed by Orwell’s writing. I’ve never read a novel which thoroughly portrays the political maneuvering of totalitarianism. The message woven into the book was strong and clear, yet also written in a disturbing manner that will stick to readers for quite a long time. Personally, I enjoy these heavy topics, so it’s interesting to see Orwell’s light twist on the topic so the novel seems more kid-friendly. I also admire the author’s creativity when writing the book. It’s rare to see a writer eloquently convey a revolution. However, it’s more unique to see an author write an ironic revolution that comes back in a full circle and leaves the characters in the same position as they started. The symbolism of personified farm animals surprisingly pushes the plot forward as well, allowing readers to understand and connect with the characters more than humans ever could.

Would I ever recommend this to a child? Definitely not. I believe that it’s important to understand the true message of the novel, regardless of how dark the message may be. Even though many of us don’t live under a totalitarian regime or a communist society, it’s important to understand how we as individuals play a role in our current society and political system. Are we idly standing by, waiting upon others for a better future? Or are we making our own decisions for the future we want to achieve?

– Natisha P.

Animal Farm by George Orwell is available for checkout from the Mission Viejo Library. It can also be downloaded for free from Overdrive.

Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children: Hollow City by Ransom Riggs

Hollow City (novel) cover.jpg

Hollow City is the second installment of the wildly popular series Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, authored by Ransom Riggs. There are mild spoilers for the first book ahead- I would highly recommend reading the first book before reading this review! You can find a review for the first book here.

Hollow City picks up where Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children (the first book) left off. Jacob and his friends are in a boat, heading for the mainland, desperate to escape the wights that had been chasing them and restore Miss Peregrine to her human self. Along the way, traveling in and out of time loops, constantly on the run, they discover new and exciting things- including a menagerie filled with peculiar animals, Gypsies with a peculiar son, and the firsthand experience of the impact of World War II on England. However, the wights chasing them are getting closer and closer- and ymbrynes around the world are fast disappearing, falling victim to the wights perverse experiments. The children head to London, hoping to find the last remaining ymbryne- and save the world as they know it.

I really enjoyed this book! While it is an action and adventure book, I liked the way it dealt with very real themes, such as the devastating impact of World War II on England and all of Europe. Even while dealing with heavy subjects, the book had some well-timed humor that really helped add to the depth. It was packed with twists and turns that I wasn’t expecting. Overall, I would highly recommend this book- in fact, this entire series! I’ll be starting the third book later today- I’ll keep you posted 🙂

-Vaidehi B.

Hollow City by Ransom Riggs is available for checkout from the Mission Viejo Library. It can also be downloaded for free from Overdrive.

The Catcher in the Rye by J. D. Salinger

J.D. Salinger’s “The Catcher in the Rye” has been read in high schools for the past 70 years. What makes the Catcher in the Rye popular today? It is the way that teenagers can still find some sort of way to relate to the main character, Holden Caulfield. It tells the story of a 16 year old boy and his adventures in New York City after getting kicked out of boarding school. Holden stresses over having to tell his parents that he failed most of his classes. He decides to take off to New York City for a few days. 

I liked the book because it feels like Holden is having a conversation directly with you. The slang words are totally different to how people talk today. However, you can still relate to Holden because of his openness about his feelings of insecurity, struggles with anxiety and fear of the future. The story has a lot of themes from rebellion, belonging, family, grief and mental health. 

Everyone faces different issues in high school from wanting to excel academically to a desire to belong and connect.  Even though we communicate totally different today because of social media, some of the issues that Holden faces are the same. I would recommend this book to high school students because it talks about mental health in an honest way. You get the feeling that Holden eventually gets the help that he needs. The Catcher in the Ryes encourages those who are struggling to find a person that you feel comfortable talking to like a parent, teacher, counselor or friend.

-Austin S.    

The Catcher in the Rye by J. D. Salinger is available for checkout from the Mission Viejo Library. It can also be downloaded for free from Overdrive.

The Neighbors by Carol Smith

The Neighbors is a murder-mystery novel by Carol Smith, filled with twists and turns that will keep you on the edge of your seat!

The book centers around Kate Ashenberry, a (very depressed) young woman on the run from an abusive relationship. After enduring months of domestic violence from her now ex-husband, she fled New York City and ended up in an imposing Victorian apartment building in the heart of London. Surrounded by eccentric neighbors, such as the warm and welcoming Barclay-Davenport couple, beautiful Eleni Papadopoulos, mean-spirited widow Adelaide Potter, and heartthrob Gregory Hansen, she slowly begins to find her voice again. However, a mysterious murderer has been terrorizing the residents of the building. Neighbor after neighbor meets their end under increasingly strange circumstances. Now, Kate may be the only one left who can figure out what’s going on… and save her newfound family.

I really enjoyed this book! It was very well-written, and the protagonist, Kate, was very likeable- I found myself rooting for her to win! The ending was incredible- a super-surprise twist that left my mind reeling. I would completely recommend this book to anyone who loves mystery writers like Agatha Christie!

Warning: this book contains occasional mature sexual content that may not be suitable for all audiences.

-Vaidehi B.

Supper Club by Lara Williams

Supper Club by Lara Williams is a poignant, perceptive, and savagely funny novel about the disastrous realities of growing up in a modern world.

The book centers around a young British girl named Roberta- following her through various sexual, romantic, and societal exploits from her college days to her thirties. In the opening chapters, we experience Roberta’s deep dissatisfaction in college, and her all-encompassing depression at her social life. She is desperate to connect with her peers- to truly become like the effervescent social butterflies she sees in sitcoms on the television. Unable to do so, she begins cooking. What begins as a hobby soon spirals into an obsession. Roberta falls even deeper into depression- she is horrified by her body, and spends her days by herself, alone in her dorm, or working at her job in a small publishing company. Soon, she meets an intern named Stevie- the kind of woman Roberta would give everything to be like. They become very close friends, even moving in together- and then, one night, Roberta comes up with a marvelous and terrible idea: the idea of a Supper Club.

The club originally begins with the goal of letting women eat- letting them take up space, letting them exist– but soon, the women in the club are trashing stores and getting unbelievably high on various drugs. Amid this beautiful chaos, Roberta struggles to find meaning- struggling with the various men in her life, struggling with her family, struggling with herself. She pushes against the boundaries that hold her without quite knowing how to. She feels anxious and inadequate- yet, she feels beautiful and free.

That is the dichotomy that truly makes this a timeless book- uncertainty combines with melancholy combines with explosive ecstasy to truly make the novel whole. That’s also something I enjoyed about Roberta. She’s not perfect. She’s not even close. She is desperate and sad and pathetic and hopeful and strong all at once. She isn’t a perfect protagonist- but she is real. And that is the true thesis of Supper Club– about how society shrinks women and makes them fake- makes them ghosts. It’s about reclaiming space- reclaiming the true meaning of being a woman, with all its good and bad and ugly. It’s about reclaiming hope.

This book contains mature themes, such as self-harm and sexual violence, that may not be suitable for some readers.

-Vaidehi B.

Authors We Love: Elisabetta Dami

Although the most acknowledgeable authors tend to be writers of adult novels or even young adult books, it doesn’t mean that children’s book authors should get any less credit. At around age seven or eight, I remember my mom and I would visit the Mission Viejo Library practically every week. I would always go to the children’s section and look for another book to read—specifically any book from the Geronimo Stilton series. Only now in my high school years would I finally reminisce on my past and realize who was behind all of the stories that established my love for reading.

An award-winning author with her worldwide Geronimo Stilton and Thea Stilton books, Elisabetta Dami was born in Milano, Italy. Her father was a writer himself before she was born, so by the age of 13, Dami was already working for him as a book editor. At 19 years old, she began writing stories of her own but only began publishing them later in her life. In her 20s, she went through a series of adventures by earning her pilot license, traveling all around the world, running marathons, and even immersing herself in indigenous cultures.

With a passion for seeing the world, volunteering for sick children, studying different cultures around her, and creating once-in-a-lifetime experiences, Dami incorporated her love for adventure into stories for children. This was essentially the birth of the Geronimo Stilton series. The first book was titled, Geronimo Stilton: Lost Treasure of the Emerald Eye (2000), starring a shy mouse who owns a newspaper company, yet falls into the most dangerous situations and uses academic knowledge to find his way out.

As the popularity of the series grew, Dami continued writing more books that branched out to create a world of her own. Some of her best books include The Kingdom of Fantasy (2003), Cat and Mouse in a Haunted House (2000), and The Phantom of the Subway (2000). The author has written over 100 children’s books, published them in 49 different languages, and has sold 180 million copies globally. She continues writing at the age of 63 and helps kids all around the world develop a profound love for reading.

I used to be a huge fan of Elisabetta’s novels; as I look back on my childhood, I’m able to see how much of an impact her books had in my life. Although it’s relaxing to sit down with a nice book, I admit that my passion for reading has somewhat diminished. Perhaps it was easier to entertain children through the art of storytelling than in our modern age, or maybe it’s simply because I haven’t picked up an enticing book in a while. Nonetheless, it’s always nice to appreciate—and thank—the authors who hold a centerpiece of our childhood.

– Natisha P.

November 9 by Colleen Hoover

November 9 by Colleen Hoover was an amazing book that I read on November 9th. Colleen Hoover is one of my favorite authors and she is known for her plot twists and extraordinary romance books. This book broke me and put me back together again.

The book follows Fallon, an actress that suffered major burns from a fire accident, and Ben, who aspires to be an author. November 9th is the date that the accident Fallon suffered from happened. Fallon is about to move to New York, when she meets Ben she spends the day with him and they get to know each other. They immediately have a connection that most people never find. Fallon mentions that her mother told her not to fall in love until she is 23. So, when she’s about to leave they make a promise to meet on the same day every year until Fallon turns 23; no contact information just that one day.

“You can’t leave yet. I’m not finished falling in love with you.” Ben said this to Fallon and it is one of those quotes that I will always remember. Ben puts his heart on the line and admits how he feels. The fact that they had to part ways and not see each other for an entire year is beyond devastating.

They reconnect every year like nothing has changed. The book is split up into 7 November 9ths. Each one leaving you with a cliffhanger that makes you want to keep reading. Fallon and Ben’s relationship is a one in a lifetime kind of thing and it makes you think. How far will they go to have a happy ending? Those last few November 9ths were an emotional rollercoaster. But, the book does have a happy ending.

A quote I find powerful at the beginning of the book that foreshadows backstory that is revealed at the end of the book was, “One of the things I always try to remind myself is that everyone has scars, A lot of them even worse than mine. The only difference is that mine are visible and most people’s aren’t.” It really reveals how much emotion was put into this book.

Fallon and Ben have a love story for the ages. Everything between forbidden love and betrayal. Imagine loving someone and only seeing them one day out of the year. It has a powerful message about how most love is fictionalized while in reality love isn’t perfect. You want the other person to have fun and live their life but it breaks your heart that they are doing it without you. Is loving someone so much worth sacrificing your own happiness to see them be happy? Is love worth waiting for? These are the things I thought about while reading this book.

Overall, this book was a solid 5/5 stars. Definitely one of my favorites!

-Kaitlyn D.

November 9 by Colleen Hoover is avaialbe to download from Overdrive.

Book Review: The Serpent’s Secret by Sayantani DasGupta

The fictional novel The Serpent’s Secret by Sayantani DasGupta tells the tale of a sixth grade girl named Kiranmala who is told that she is an Indian princess from another dimension. Readers are introduced to Kiranmala at the beginning of the story when she is complaining about always having to be an Indian princess for Halloween. However, once the Rakkosh demon shreds her home and her parents go missing, Kiranmala is taken back to her “home dimension” by two princes. There, she meets a girl of her age who is supposedly her cousin, winged horses, moving maps, and an irritating talking bird. To Kiranmala’s surprise, everyone helps her throughout her journey to find and save her parents. On her way, she finds out astonishing things about her heritage that had been hidden from her. 

This novel incorporates elements of many different cultures. I think that such novels, although fictional, can teach readers a lot! The story of the main character includes suspense, mystery, adventure, and humor. This novel is a hilarious and emotional rollercoaster, and a story everyone should read.

-Ayati M.

The Serpent’s Secret by Sayantani DasGupta is available for checkout at the Mission Viejo Library. It can also be downloaded for free from Overdrive.