Tight by Torrey Maldonado

Have you ever felt like one of your friends had another side? Have you ever had a friend who you thought was a good student, kind, caring, and honest, but they shocked you out of your shoes by their behavior? If you answered yes to one or both of those questions, you will definitely find Bryan’s story relatable. Bryan was always told by his mother, “Focus on school. There will be friends later. The wrong friends bring drama, and I don’t want them rubbing off on you.” Then, one day, a kid named Mike showed up at Bryan and his family’s home, and everyone in his family was very fond of Mike.

That annoyed Bryan, until one day, Mike came for dinner and Bryan and Mike became really close after reading their superhero comics together. His mother and father loved Mike because of his good grades and they felt that he would be a good friend for Bryan. Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case. Mike would do crazy things like cutting school by faking his mom’s handwriting and excusing himself from school and Bryan started to notice that Mike was jealous of him under the fake smiles that masked Mike’s face. Bryan felt pressured by Mike because he was afraid that Mike would call him soft or a mommy’s boy. Mike kept on getting Bryan in trouble, and Bryan learned that Mike was not the best friend choice for him. He started to become friends with people closer to his personality like Big Will. 

This book was so interesting and exciting that I couldn’t put it down and I finished it in one day. As I turned the pages, I was curious to see what would come next. As each minute ticked by, I fell more and more into this book. It really fed my passion for reading!  I think this book really shows that you should be careful with the people you become friends with because they can be very good, nice friends, but they can also get you in trouble like Mike did to Bryan in this novel. 

I really recommend this book to anyone who needs a good book to read because this novel will not disappoint. I rate this book a 10 out of 10 and this is definitely one of my favorite books that I have read recently.

-Mert A.

Tight by Torrey Maldonado is available for checkout from the Mission Viejo Library.

The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants by Ann Brashares

On a day which did not seem particularly special at first, something extraordinarily special happened to occur—but none knew it until later on. In a thrift shop on the outskirts of town, Carmen Lowell stumbled upon a seemingly ordinary pair of pants and decided to buy them. When she got home, she tossed them in her closet and forgot about them.

Later on, Carmen and her best friends, Lena, Tibby, and Bridget, get together before spending their first summer apart. They discover the forgotten pants and each takes a turn in trying them on. Though the girls have very different body shapes, the pants fit them all in quite a magical way.

The pants are christened the Traveling Pants, and the girls decide that they will share the Pants throughout the summer to stay in touch. The Pants pass from Lena, in Santorini, Greece; to Tibby, stuck at home; to Carmen, in South Carolina with her divorced father; to Bridget, at a soccer camp in Baja California.

Throughout the four girls’ exciting adventures and incredible experiences, the Pants crisscross the globe, witnessing it all. This is the story of four girls and their first summer apart as a pair of magical pants comes into their lives.

The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants by Ann Brashares is an unpredictable novel which takes readers into the lives of four girls and their issues and triumphs. This book was one I absolutely loved—I couldn’t even put the book down until I’d finished, and afterward, I thought about it for a long time. Venturing into the stories of the relatable characters, readers will follow them through their ups and downs with excitement and anticipation. I promise you, after reading about the Sisterhood, you will never forget about Lena, Tibby, Bridget, and Carmen and what they represent.

“Bridget called for a moment of silence. ‘To honor the Pants,’ she said.

‘And the Sisterhood,’ Lena added.

Carmen felt tiny bumps rising along her arms. ‘ And this moment. And this summer. And the rest of our lives.’

‘Together and apart,’ Tibby finished.”

-Ann Brashares, The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants

-Lam T.

The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants by Ann Brashares is available for checkout from the Mission Viejo Library. It can also be downloaded for free from Overdrive.

We All Looked Up by Tommy Wallach

We All Looked Up is probably one of the books that I’ve read the most during quarantine. “we all looked up” tells the story of the entire world having two months- two months to live, two months until the asteroid would inevitably collide with Earth. We All Looked Up follows four main people, Peter, Eliza, Andy, and Anita. Peter, the stereotyped jock, wants to become a better person and make an impact. Eliza, the typical shunned rebel, finds companionship in others, one being Andy, a person who’s only passion seems to be music. Finally, Anita, who’s parents put immense pressure on her to be the best, finds peace in singing.

I enjoyed We All Looked Up because it felt real and not sugar coated. We All Looked Up covered many topics, such as suicide, but also didn’t have to have a miracle ending to be a good and entertaining read. We All Looked Up feels raw, capturing the emotions that are experienced during intermediate/high school, the fear of growing up, the drama that can happen, and the fear of the unknown. I highly recommend We All Looked Up to those who enjoy realistic fiction and young adult novels.

-Kelsie W.

We All Looked Up by Tommy Wallach is available for checkout from the Mission Viejo Library.

Posted by John David Anderson

We have all used sticky notes before, either in school, or just to draw on them and give them to our friends, but the characters in this book start a trend of a new way to use Post-its. They use them for bullying, and suddenly there are hundreds of sticky notes on each of the doors, spreading mean messages and statements to innocent teens who didn’t do anything wrong. 

The story starts off with Eric and his friends Deedee, Wolf, and Bench. Eric and his friends sit together every lunch and they are best buddies. He feels like they are the “people”  his mom always tells him about. She says, “You will find your people.” Then suddenly, a new girl named Rose shows up and starts to sit with them every lunchtime. After the 1st day the new girl comes, Bench starts to avoid them at lunchtime, like he has something against her. Eric is a quiet kid, just trying to find his place in middle school and avoid trouble. 

Deedee starts off the Post-it note trend by sticking these notes onto his friends’ lockers. He draws small pictures and asks questions to his group. 

Deedee had no idea that this idea would explode to be this big and offensive. But after one of their teachers asks them to write a nice note around school, not everyone follows the exact directions, and the students find themselves in a Post-it war with hundreds of notes sticking to walls, lockers, and toilets. Right away, people start to leave bad comments about each other, and hurt each other in emotional ways. Something has to be done, but it gets worse and worse by day. It even gets to too bad at some point that Wolf has had enough and he even decides to change schools. Luckily, Wolf has good friends that help him get through this tough time for him. 

This book shows that it is always good to have great friends and to be careful in every action because bullies can cause big problems out of small things. 

This book was very enjoying to read, and I give this novel a 10/10 rating. 

-Mert A.

Posted by John David Anderson is available for checkout from the Mission Viejo Library.

Nat Enough by Maria Scrivan

Natalie has always been best friends with Lily. However, when her friend moves away she is upset but is still excited and confident that their friendship will continue into middle school.

However, when Natalie arrives at school on the first day of middle school, she sees her best friend Lily in a conversation with a cool-looking girl. Lily seems to be… FRIENDS with this girl. Lily’s new friendship leaves Natalie alone and confused. What happened to their friendship? Weren’t they best friends? Did Natalie do something wrong?

All of this leaves Natalie feeling like she is not enough. Not enough to be friends with Lily. Not enough to be cool. Natalie feels very wounded. She doesn’t know what to do, and her only thought is to try to win Lily back. One day, after she finds a note from Lily, she gets to work. Natalie devises a plan to get Lily back.

Meanwhile, Natalie is receiving mean notes on her locker from Lily. Natalie feels terrible and wounded but she still wants Lily back. After all, they were best friends, weren’t they? Ignoring all of Lily’s mean acts, Natalie gives up a lot of what she loves to do so that she can please Lily and get her back.

Whatever Lily thinks becomes what Natalie does. However, can Natalie overcome these feelings and move on after Lily? Can she become her true self? Or she is simply not enough?

I really loved this book because it is very fun to read. It portrays how you do not need to be what anyone else wants you to be. You only need to be yourself. I would recommend you to read this book because as you grow older, your friends and you might have different interests, and you might not be as close to them as you once were.

I rate this book a 10/10.

-Peri A

You Will Be Mine by Natasha Preston

This novel tells the story of a college student named Lylah. Lylah’s parents died unexpectedly on Valentine’s Day two years ago. Lylah still decided to go to college and had made a great group of friends. One night as Lylah and her friends were getting ready for a party, they hear their doorbell ring. No one was outside but they had left a note. The note said “roses are red, violets are blue, watch your back, I’m coming for you”. They all believe it is a prank and laugh it off. Except the next morning, one of them is missing and a new note arrived saying “your turn”. After discovering their friend dead, Lylah and her friends become terrified that one of them was going to end up dead next.

This novel tells a captivating story and is a quick read. I found myself interested throughout the entire story. You will be frightened for the characters and also just as desperate to figure out who was the killer. The ending is a surprise and is definitely worth reading the entire book. I enjoyed following Lylah’s journey. I definitely suggest reading this novel if you enjoy reading a thriller and would like a book that is not too long.

-Ellie B.

You Will Be Mine by Natasha Preston is available for checkout from the Mission Viejo Library. It can also be downloaded for free from Overdrive.

Out of My Mind by Sharon M. Draper

At age eleven, Melody Brooks is full of knowledge and curiosity. However, she struggles from cerebral palsy, which limits her body, but not her mind.

For her entire life, Melody’s communication has been limited to a small board with twenty basic words printed on it. All she can do is point to the words, with no other way to put her complex thoughts into words and sentences.

Born with a photographic memory, Melody is a video recorder always capturing everything around her. However, she’s never been able to share what she thinks and knows. Always being underestimated, Melody’s daily routine at school is listening to nursery rhymes and reviewing the alphabet. Every. Single. Day.

All Melody’s memories have words, and all her words have meanings, but only in her head: She’s never spoken a single word. Most people don’t realize the importance and power of words, but Melody definitely does. She explains that thoughts need words, and words need a voice, which is something almost everyone except her has.

One day, Melody and the rest of her class—other kids with physical differences—are informed that they will get to attend some inclusion classes. Real classes with ordinary fifth grade students! But this experience isn’t as great as it sounds. The other students look at her funny and seem to believe she’s just as mentally challenged as she is physically. In truth, she’s the smartest student in her entire school.

But there’s no way anyone will ever know that. She can’t walk, she can’t write, she can’t talk . . . until she discovers a device that will allow her to speak—out loud—what’s on her mind, for the first time ever. At last, Melody has a voice! Even so, as she journeys through fifth grade learning, growing, talking, and making new friends, she realizes that not everyone is ready to hear it.

Out of My Mind by Sharon M. Draper is an absolutely incredible must-read that cannot be passed over. The perspective and power of this book have significantly changed me and the way I think. As Melody Brooks strives to teach everyone—herself included—to believe in her, readers will be taken on an unforgettable experience. While taking in this wonderful story, readers will think about everything they’ve ever known in a different light and realize that some things we take for granted don’t come as easily to others.

-Lam T.

Out of My Mind by Sharon Draper is available for checkout from the Mission Viejo Library. It can also be downloaded for free from Overdrive.

Juniors by Kaui Hart Hemmings

Being able to fit in if you have branded clothes or that new car is a misconception. There are many tropes that even people who claim not to judge fall into. Juniors capture the truth behind most teenagers’ lives. It’s not as exciting and daring as most movies portray where you have the classic high school hierarchy. No QueenB, strapping jock, and that nerdy dork who nobody is friends with.

The protagonist, Lea, is a 17-year-old girl who struggles with a new move and all the feelings that come with it. Her situation is unique because she feels that her family is a charity case for others to pick at and use to feel better about themselves. Even her close friend Whitney says that there is a constant judgment on her even though she’s extremely rich.

While this isn’t a dark depressing read, it hit closer to home more than I thought it would. It was refreshing to read something more relatable where not everything works out. Lea doesn’t get the boy, there are fights with friends and family drama (On a more realistic level). An oddly satisfying end didn’t feel like a tear-jerker or a heart-wrenching cliffhanger. I recommend this for a quick easy read that’ll make you feel more insightful at the end.

-Coralie D.

Juniors by Kaui Hart Hemmings is available for checkout from the Mission Viejo Library.

In 27 Days by Alison Gervais

The novel is about a young teenager who goes back 27 days in time to save a classmate from committing suicide. The teenage girl named Hadley never knew the boy named Archer who took his own life but felt compelled to help save his life. She goes through a lot in order to get closer to this boy. She uncovers secrets about him and learns more about herself.

I love this novel for multiple reasons. The first is that the story is very compelling and the characters are relatable. Many people have been through traumatic experiences and would probably feel the pain Archer was going through. People are lonely all of the time and no one seems to notice. I relate to Hadley, the girl who tries to stop the boy from committing suicide. She is a very compassionate character who goes out of her way to help this classmate that was a stranger not too long ago. I truly felt like I understood her feeling of emptiness when he was gone, guilt for not trying to talk to his freshman year and dedication to saving him from taking his own life where people cared about him and needed him.

The second reason is because suicide is a prevalent issue that needs to be addressed in 2020. This novel shows the importance of looking for suicidal signs and the possible ways people can help prevent others from taking their own life. Many people are very lonely and need to have someone to talk to. I think that this novel is an example of what could happen if we as a society were more inclusive.

-Ellie B.

If you or someone you know has discussed or thought about suicide, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.

Julius Caesar by William Shakespeare

Caesar is one of William Shakespeare’s best plays. It not only portrays the friendship of two major characters but also describes how democracy, instead of tyranny, is the best way to govern a nation and protect the rights of its citizens.

In this post, I would like to explain why, Brutus, in my opinion, is a patriot instead of a traitor. First, he killed Caesar because he thinks that it is the only way to save Rome from a dictatorship. Signs of corruption and power in Caesar warns Brutus that a tyrant is in sight. Therefore, he killed Caesar for the common good and to ensure democracy.

Another reason why killing Caesar can be justified as a way of patriotism is because the benefit equal representation in Senate brings outweighs the loss of Caesar. The plebeians do not know how the government operates, and therefore, they don’t know Caesar’s selfish plans and his personality. Hence, it is Brutus’ responsibility to assure that the Roman citizens’ rights are not taken away. If Brutus is already aware of others will accuse him of murdering his best friend and be entitled to that of a traitor, yet he still chooses to do it, this proves that he is a person who values his country above his personal relations.

-Coreen C. 

Julius Caesar is available for checkout from the Mission Viejo Library. It can also be downloaded for free from Overdrive