The Hobbit by J. R. R. Tolkien

The Hobbit, or There and Back Again is a fantasy novel by J. R. R. Tolkien. The book is set in a world filled with elves, dwarves, orcs, magic, and all sorts of strange creatures, known as Middle-Earth. In The Hobbit, a company of dwarves, along with a wizard, attempt to reclaim their lost kingdom and gold, which have been taken by a dragon.

The book’s protagonist is a hobbit, a race similar to humans, but shorter than dwarves, named Bilbo Baggins. Bilbo lives a quiet, ordinary life inside his hobbit-hole, until one day a mysterious wizard named Gandalf the Grey and a company of thirteen dwarves show up at his doorstep, asking him to join their quest to reclaim their gold and slay the ferocious dragon Smaug. Bilbo initially refuses, but eventually gives in to temptation, and soon he, the dwarves, and wizard are thrown into an action-filled adventure.

The Hobbit mainly shows Bilbo’s growth and transformation into a hero as the dwarves are traveling towards their goal. Against obstacle after obstacle, Bilbo begins to prove his usefulness and worth, as he saves the dwarves from countless threats, from elven kings to deadly spiders.

The Hobbit is a great book that can be enjoyed by all ages. It is filled with adventure and there is action at every turn. Overall, The Hobbit is a classic novel that should be read by everyone.

-Josh N. 

The Hobbit by J. R. R. Tolkien is available for checkout from the Mission Viejo Library

Diary of an Awesome Friendly Kid by Jeff Kinney

To be completely honest, I didn’t know what to expect with this book. I have two other book review on Jeff Kinney books, but those were Diary of a Wimpy Kid. This book is about Rowley Jeffen, Greg’s best “friend”. But after reading Diary of an Awesome Friendly Kid in one day, it had realized this was a great addition to the Diary of a Wimpy Kid franchise.

Many would think that this book is just the stories from Diary of a Wimpy Kid in Rowley’s perspective, but you are wrong! In Diary of an Awesome Friendly Kid, Rowley tells you different things that happened between him and Greg, like Rowley and Greg’s first sleepover, and the time they made their own superhero! Some of the stories were so dumb, they were actually funny!

You may think that the drawings in this book will be very good like Diary of a Wimpy Kid‘s, right? No! This book features Rowley Jefferson’s drawing. So everyone has an oval face and no nose! Which makes this book even funnier.

Overall, this book exceeded my expectations. I enjoyed a lot! It will forever stand as one of my favorite Jeff Kinney books.

-Brandon D.

Diary of an Awesome Friendly Kid by Jeff Kinney is available for checkout from the Mission Viejo Library

Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell

The young adult novel, Eleanor & Park written by Rainbow Rowell, is a heartwarming, but the soul-wrenching story about two sixteen-year-olds in Omaha, Nebraska from 1986 to 1987. The unique red-haired girl catches the heart of Park by merely sitting beside him on the bus. Their slow love sparked when she secretly reads his comic books, believing that she was sly enough to not get caught. Over time, Park noticed and decided to allow her to borrow his comic books.

However, at home, the young girl finds herself dealing with family issues revolving around poverty, so she ends up keeping to herself. She is terrified by her abusive stepfather and fears for her future to end up like her mother’s. Her thoughts are mostly clouded with judgment about her weight, which affects the way she thinks about her relationship with Park.

On the other hand, Park is trying to get through high school by being popular enough to not get teased but also finds it hard to fit in. He becomes an outsider, like Eleanor, but within his own house. His father and brother both have a liking towards sports and trucks, however, Park feels himself attracted to music and books.

The book duals between the narrative of Eleanor and Park, thus allowing the reader to connect with both of the characters. Teens can deeply connect to both characters, from the way they think to the way they act. The duo rides an emotional rollercoaster, taking the reader with them every step of the way.

Rowell does an exquisite job in taking in the attention of the reader and leaving them wanting more with this romantic, light read.

-Anyssa P.

Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell is available for checkout from the Mission Viejo Library. It can also be downloaded for free from Overdrive

Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Meltdown by Jeff Kinney

I just finished The Meltdown,the 13th book in the Diary of a Wimpy kid series, and I really enjoyed it. I liked The Diary Of a Wimpy kid series as a whole, I own the whole series and when I found out a new book was coming out I could hardly wait to get my hands on it. Sometimes I wonder how it would be living in a colder place where it snowed like where Greg Heffley lived, as I live in California. This book really portrayed the pros and cons of it. I found interest in the neighborhood feud and Greg’s point of view on snowy and hot weather. Also how he deals with it. “I don’t know which is worse, a planet that’s too HOT or one that’s too COLD” (Kinney, 53)

I really appreciate Jeff Kinney’s books and how I can relate to Greg, as he is also going through middle school. Like when he forgot to do his project and has to compromise. Greg’s life gives an interesting twist on middle schoolers while still being very relatable and enjoyable to read. “Speaking of SURVIVAL, right now, I’m just trying to get through middle school”( Kinney, 9)

I really love the whole series and love how it keeps me so interested even after so many years. I can always count on it to put a smile on my face. I really enjoy Kinney’s writing style and how amusing his stories are. Can’t wait for the next book!

-Rudy H.

Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Meltdown by Jeff Kinney is available for checkout from the Mission Viejo Library

A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman

Until I read Fredrik Backman’s A Man Called Ove, I hadn’t realized how a book could pull off being so comical yet saddening simultaneously.

The story is in the perspective of Ove, who appears nothing more than a cranky, contentious old man. Ove is the kind of man who takes morning rounds of his neighborhood, playing the role of an unwanted rule-enforcer while judging everyone in his unintentionally humorous way. The novel goes back and forth between present and past, and as the story progresses, insight is gained explaining why Ove is the way he is and why he lost his purpose of life.

The glimpses of the past gave me a respect and understanding for Ove and his principles—he isn’t just a cranky old man for no reason. Additionally, unlike many other stories with flashbacks, this story didn’t frustrate me with its back-and-forth movement. In fact, it kept me wanting to know more. Little mysteries are revealed, which explain Ove’s attitude toward certain, seemingly unconnected things.

As the readers gain a new understanding of Ove, the people (and the cat) around Ove gain a similar understanding and love for him. People appreciate and depend on Ove’s practical skills and blunt-yet-considerate manner; they find a place in their hearts for Ove, which helps him regains his purpose. A Man Called Ove is an incredibly humorous yet bittersweet read, and I highly recommend it. It’s the perfect step outside the realm of the prevalent YA novels, and its depth and insight make it a story that’s well worth the read.

– Mia T.

A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman is available for checkout from the Mission Viejo Library. It can also be downloaded for free from Overdrive

Diary of a Wimpy Kid the Meltdown by Jeff Kinney

Whenever a new Diary of Wimpy Kid comes out, I am super excited to get and to read it. This one did not fail to disappoint me, I ended up finishing this book in a day! Jeff Kinney/Greg Heffley does a good job fluently jumping from subject to subject. When you start reading the beginning of the book, Greg talks about the wacky weather in winter, then he talks about his school about 10 pages later. Jeff Kinney makes these transitions so natural, so you will barely notice it.

Another great thing about this book is you  don’t have to read the books before it to understand what is going on. You can get this book, which is book 13, and not have read the other books in the series and you won’t get confused! This book keeps many of the original characters from the first book, but there are many side characters in the book, but I don’t want to spoil anymore. Personally, this was one of my favorite Diary of a Wimpy Kid books. My sister thought that Jeff Kinney was running out of ideas, but disagree. I think there could be many more books. But known shall be greater than this one. Thanks for reading this review.

-Brandon D.

Diary of a Wimpy Kid the Meltdown by Jeff Kinney is available for checkout form the Mission Viejo Library.

Of Mice And Men by John Steinbeck

Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck is about George Milton and Lennie Small trying to find a job and settle. The reason that this is such a difficult task is because Lennie has what seems to be memory loss. He constantly forgets what George tells him. He also doesn’t understand what is right compared to what is wrong.

[Editor’s Note: Spoiler Warning]

This book tells of George and Lennie trying to find work in Soledad. They go to a ranch and speak with the boss before being told when to start working. When they are shown where they will sleep, they encounter the boss’ son Curley. Curley immediately starts trying to pick a fight with Lennie. As soon as Curley leaves, George warns Lennie about avoiding Curley at all costs. Curley’s wife, who Lennie is attracted to upon seeing her, is also a big problem.

After working for some time and getting to know other ranch hands, George and Lennie believe that they may be able to finally buy a house just for them. However, one day Curley’s wife finds Lennie alone and starts a conversation with him. She tells about how she could have gone to Hollywood and about her hair. She lets Lennie feel her hair, and he starts pulling on it. Curley’s wife cries out in pain, so Lennie covers her mouth out of fear of getting in trouble. He pulls on her hair more and more until he accidentally snaps her neck. When Curley finds out he goes to kill Lennie. George gets to Lennie first, and painlessly kills him so that Curley wouldn’t shoot him and let him bleed to death.

-E. Vargas

Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck is available for checkout from the Mission Viejo Library. It can also be downloaded from Overdrive.