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

True at First Light by Ernest Hemingway

True at First Light eBook by Ernest Hemingway | Official Publisher ...

True at First Light: a novel written by Ernest Hemingway after a trip to Italy and his return from hunting in 1949. It reflects the author’s abhorrence of war, his concern for the future of mankind, and his reflections on the value of life, love, and death. The book’s title, taken from the dying words of Confederate General Thomas Jackson during the American Civil War, shows Hemingway’s tough-guy character — and that of himself — facing death. Although the novel is not his most famous work, it reflects the personal life of the writer incisively and vividly from one side, so that readers can have a comprehensive understanding of Hemingway.

Hemingway went on his second safari in 1953-1954 with his fourth wife, Mary Welsh. The couple, along with several locals who were working with them as their helpers, hunted a vicious lion. They also shot some gazelles, leopards, and sand hens on the way, which reflected the author’s pure and friendly sense of loyalty to the ignorant and loyal African indigenous people, Mary’s positive attitude towards learning shooting and training courage, and the happy atmosphere of their life together. Hemingway’s local girlfriend, Debba, is described in the book as “his fiancee” by Mary.

This girl was quite close to Hemingway, but she did not affect the relationship between the couple, showing a precious spirit of mutual consideration between people. An intricate counterpoint of alternating fiction and truth forms the heart of this memoir. In many passages, the author makes extensive use of this polyphonic tone, which will no doubt please any reader who enjoys this kind of music. True at First Light is a manuscript by Ernest Hemingway. The original was published in July 1999, just in time for the writer’s centenary.

What sets this book apart from many of his other novels is that it is an autobiographical novel written in the first person, so it feels intimate to read. It is a detailed and vivid account of the author’s second safari in Africa from 1953 to 1954 with his fourth wife, Mary Welsh, and reflects Hemingway’s affection for the uncomplicated natives.The book is permeated with a cheerful atmosphere, and appreciating this work is like tasting a cup of fragrant coffee which makes people have a sense of clarity and cheerfulness. In a way, this book is not so much a novel as a colorful travelogue or memoir, and many of its passages are beautiful prose pieces that add to Hemingway’s many works.

-Coreen C.

The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter by Carson McCullers

The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter by Carson McCullers, Paperback ...

Biff, Mick, Copeland, and Jake, four people living in a small town in the south of The United States, all have their own ideas and goals. However, they fail in their attempts to communicate with the people around them, leaving them in a lonely situation that no one understands. Everyone is afraid of loneliness and unwilling to live alone but is lonely every day. Biff runs a cafe, and one of his favorite things to do is observe the diverse clientele sitting in the cafe. The marital life between Biff and his wife Alice is not harmonious and they seldom talk. Mick is a masculine little girl who loves music and painting and wants to get out of town and become a musician. But her dream was not supported by her family, and her parents only thought it was whimsical.

Copeland was a black doctor. He always had a strong sense of responsibility and mission. He made it his solemn mission to save the whole black race. He sacrificed his family for his ideal, leaving his wife and children behind. Jake was an active organizer of the workers’ movement with his own political views. He felt disappointed at the failure in his work and helpless at the whole social system. His heart yearned for someone who would understand him. To many in the town, Singer is the perfect man. He generously helped everyone in need. He was a patient listener who listened to their chatter with great interest, so everyone looked to him as a confidant and a source of support.

There are many legends about him in the town, and some people regard him as the incarnation of God. Biff, Mick, Copeland, and Jake all think that Singer understands what they are saying and agrees with the way they think and act. In fact, the irony is that Singer never understood them at all. Mr. Singer just needs them to cope with his loneliness. In the same way, they cannot really read Singer whose loneliness is so deep and hidden. As a child, Singer yearned for love and belonging. Singh and his best friend Antonapoulos lived together in the town for ten years.

Deep love for Antonapoulos was the backbone of his life. After a serious illness, Antonapoulos became irritable and was no longer content to stay at home quietly at night. When he went out, Singer followed him closely, and they went into a restaurant and sat down at a table, while Antonapoulos secretly pocketed sugar cubes or some silver. Singer always picks up the tab after him. Antonapoulos is eventually sent to an alien psychiatric hospital, and Singer’s life is filled with memories of their happy past and the prospect of a brief vacation together. Without him, Singer moves to a new house where he spends his boring time with Biff, Mick, Copeland, and Jake. When he went to see his companion for the third time, he received news of his death. Singer was then so desperate that he shot himself.

-Coreen C.

The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway

As one of Hemingway’s many classics, The Old Man and the Sea retells the story of man versus nature. Hemingway writes the novel in such a way that makes the reader urge for more.

The story begins with Santiago, an aged and experienced fisherman who has been out on the sea for 84 days with no luck of finding fish to catch. He is viewed as a lonely outcast to the rest of society, and his own apprentice is told to stay away from him. Santiago is even labeled as a word that means unluckiness in his native language.

Santiago’s character can be seen in today’s world in people who are still waiting for a win or change in their lives. Many individuals are still on their journey to reach their goals in life just like Santiago. Suddenly, on the 85th day, a large marlin takes the bait on Santiago’s hook that is 200 yards deep in the water. The marlin is massive and unlike anything, Santiago has ever seen in his years of fishing. Through the next days and nights, the marlin holds onto the line, but it is too heavy for Santiago to lift.

From breaking his wrist to cramping his whole body and not being able to sleep properly, Santiago risks everything he has to catch the great marlin and lift his pride. Finally, the marlin is caught, but Santiago admires and feels like he built a brotherly relationship with the animal.

Santiago’s story reflects the human relationship with nature that is filled with admiration and struggles. His character is not defined by his defeat or “unluckiness”, but rather his determination. It takes courage to endure pain and hardships.

Hemingway uses such symbolism and words that the novel requires an analytical mind to read. Every small detail is impressively used to build the theme of the novel in the end. This book can be read by anyone as young or as old because everyone is eventually lead to the same motif about life.

-Zohal N. 

The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway is available for checkout from the Mission Viejo Library.