The City of Ember by Jeanne DuPrau

Image result for city of emberLina Mayfleet and Doon Harrow live in the city of Ember.  A city underground, but they can still live normally as a human. Lina lives with her grandmother and her little sister Poppy, and Doon lives with his father, who is an inventor.

But political corruption seems to enshroud the city of ember by inserting a rapacious mayor in them. He was a fat guy who stored all the delicious food such as canned peaches, meat, and sweets. While his citizens only eat squash and vegetable soup. Corns could be a very luxury type of food and can be eaten only during festivals.

I thought that this book has such an amazing setting and the adventure that Lina and Doon planned to save their city of very exhilarating to me. I cried so much when Lina’s grandma passed away, that means all the burdens are on Lina’s shoulder. And that also makes me glad for living above the ground in a cozy house with my family.

-April L

The City of Ember by Jeanne DuPrau is available for checkout from the Mission Viejo Library. It can also be downloaded for free from Overdrive

Cannery Row by John Steinbeck

Image result for cannery row bookMack and his boys are living in the flophouse that they bought from Lee Cong, a Chinese grocery man with a pair of judicious eyes. Except for some special occasions, they just stay home and play with their dog, Darling, a puppy who was never housebroken. Their favorite thing changed from drinking whiskey to catching frogs for their best friend Doc.

Doc has always been a genial man who never gets mad at anyone, except for Mack. His friendliness doesn’t necessarily mean that he is stupid, in fact, he is very shrewd.  The only time that he was roiled was when Mack tried to give him a party, but because it was such an orgy that Doc’s house was almost broken into pieces. And Mack received a few punches and a lot of kicks as a gift back from Doc.

Having friends like Mack and the boys really is a wonderful thing, even though they ruined your house the intention was good. But I know that Doc must have been lonely for many years since he never got married until he met the girl laying on the beach. At last, I really liked the part when they had another party for Doc, though the results are exactly the same. Mack and his boys are all tall like giants, but they are all children inside the heart of Doc.

-April L.

Cannery Row by John Steinbeck is available for checkout from the Mission Viejo Library.

The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky

I just finished reading this book early in the morning, shortly before 1 am and to put it simply, I am still in awe as I write this. I’ve never read a book that was so casually written yet so beautiful and articulate. While writing in letter format may seem improper for a published book, the style of writing produces a personal touch that is key to the novel.

Stephen Chbosky follows the coming of age story of a young freshmen boy, who goes by Charlie. Charlie is writing to an anonymous friend and refuses to use real names of people in his life as to protect their privacy. This friend and these letters are Charlie’s source of comfort and security as he adventures through life, beginning high school without a close relationship to his family members or friends and ending his first year with new best friends. This book touches on topics that people are sadly to afraid to talk about such as depression, abuse and the difficulties many teens face as they grow up. It’s incredibly relatable and emotionally touching; you can feel Charlie’s heartbreak and you can almost touch his strong passion for those he learns to love. You can sense the bittersweetness pouring out of the pages, you can laugh at Charlie’s dry, innocent humor. Chbosky ensures a roller coaster of emotions while providing in depth insight to the simplistic yet so complex teenage mind.

I will warn that some scenes or conversations are explicit; I know many high schoolers have been exposed to these topics but some aren’t comfortable reading about it. If that applies to you as a reader, then I don’t suggest checking this book out. However, if you are still curious and unfazed, I think this is an important read because it shows teens out there that they aren’t alone in whatever they’re struggling with, no matter what it is. It also comforts them in knowing that there are kind people in the world that are willing to befriend them and help them solve their problems in a positive way that changes them for the better. Even if the road is bumpy and painful, the destination always proves to be worth the drive if one keeps pushing on. Chbosky attempts to explain that while the teenage years are full of hardships and confusion, everyone finds their way sooner or later. And until one reaches that point of self-confidence, the journey there is a learning experience that shapes you into the person you will be out in the “real world”.

-Jessica T.

The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky is available for checkout from the Mission Viejo Library. It is also available for download from Overdrive.

Holes by Louis Sachar

Image result for holesStanley Yelnats is under a derogatory curse. And it starts with his no-good-dirty-rotten-pig-stealing-great-great-grandfather and it was passed down to the generations ever since. Being accused of larceny, Stanley has been sent to this boy detention center to dig holes that need to be exactly five feet wide and five feet deep.

I liked this book because it combines fun elements and thrilling details together. Imagine in a vast desert devoid of water and digging holes is all I do every single day would definitely suck my marrow out of my bones before I even start. Especially when Stanley didn’t actually steal the shoes, but socializing with rattlesnakes and lizards would prove that this is an inhumane place for unordinary humans. And, I am an ordinary person.

Titled by the name Camp Green Lake with no lakes really twitches my nose and my even my nerves are amused by this. Stanley also met all sorts of companions with unique names like Zeroni, Theodore, and Ignor. But there is something for Stanley to excavate beneath the holes that will surely force your consciousness out of your corporal body for a while.

-April L.

Holes by Louis Sachar is available for checkout from the Mission Viejo Library. It can also be downloaded for free from Overdrive

Bridge To Terabithia by Katherine Paterson

Jesse Aarons lives in a big family with four sisters and being the only boy pulls him down sometimes. But he never would have imagined that there would be a girl named Leslie Burke beating him in a foot race, becoming his class’ fastest runner. His confession of this fact led to the starting point of their relationships as chums.

As friends, Leslie and Jesse create an imaginary place to hide from the troubles of the world. There is a narrow rivulet in between the two worlds, sometimes when it’s raining the water roared and raved its intensity with the thunder and the rainwater never really got mollified. During sunny days, the singing water just lets it’s tender skirt trickle along the moist shore, showing happiness and relaxation with the caressing of the soothing sunlight. A decrepit rope connected the two of them as they created an imaginary bridge to the Kingdom Of Terabithia.

There were fewer things in the modern society compared to this magical kingdom. Ogres, fairies, and trees that can extend its flexible branches and help people are components that fall under this natural shield. The first thing after school isn’t homework anymore, but to implement their duty as queen and king to patrol in their own kingdom with the guard dog Prince, Jess and Leslie were inseparable.

It wasn’t until when Jess’s dream came true that he went to this art museum with his music teacher Ms. Edmunds, unaware that tragedy strikes while he is away. A miracle could happen, only so that Jess could be salvaged immediately from the interminable guilt.

-April L.

The Bridge to Terebithia by Katherine Paterson is available for checkout from the Mission Viejo Library

Auggie and Me: Three Wonder Stories by R. J. Palacio

When Wonder, a heartwarming, soul-touching novel by R. J. Palacio, made its way onto the bestseller shelves and into the lives of readers, there was no doubt that more adventures in the world of Wonder would be just as deep and thought-provoking. With Auggie and Me, R. J Palacio brings three more Wonder stories following Julian, Charlotte and Christopher and how August Pullman touched their lives.

Originally separate ebooks, The Julian Chapter, Shingling and Pluto have now been compiled into one enthralling companion to Wonder: Auggie and Me.

As a reader, I really love how R. J. Palacio gives you each of these character’s perspectives on their experiences with Auggie. The wonderful thing about these stories is that they become each character’s own. Although Auggie is a key component to each of the stories, you also get insight into each of these character’s lives. I think it is very important to read Auggie and Me after reading Wonder not only because it may give some spoilers or some inferences which would be more appreciated if you read Wonder, but also because it shows you these three character’s point of view and in some cases justifies or makes you understand questionable actions the characters carried out in Wonder. However, Auggie and Me could also be a great book separate from Wonder, as it does create whole new stories centering around three different characters.

Auggie and Me is definitely a must-read for fans of Wonder who want to read more about or redeem the characters of Wonder. Or it could even be for someone just looking for a heartwarming read that will leave them turing pages until their eyes meet the last words R. J. Palacio left on the page.

-Elina T.

Auggie & Me by R. J. Palacio is available for checkout from the Mission Viejo Library

Tortilla Flat by John Steinbeck

Image result for tortilla flatThis story is set in a place called Tortilla Flat in Monterey, California. It’s about five men that are paisanos (compatriots). They are Danny, Pilon, Pablo, Jesus Maria, and Pirate. These men are attracted to money and content with being friends with each other, they all walk their own bitter life path.

Danny was an heir who inherited two huge houses from his grandpa and invited his friend Pilon to stay. Through his innocence, Pilon’s rent money is postponed but he accidentally burns the house down. To cover compensation, the other men introduced earlier joined the group, but still, nobody offered rent money to Danny. And amazingly, Danny never mentioned the money to his astute tenants.

In real life, we all know that if you don’t pay the money, the next day you will be finding yourself without a house. Such a character like Danny really doesn’t exist at all in our brutal society. This book to me mainly molded the variety of personalities beneath the harsh satin of this world, but we all have similarities with each other: we are gullible to our friends and we all have greediness hidden within us for the cravings of money and wealth.

-April L

Tortilla Flat by John Steinbeck is available for checkout from the Mission Viejo Library.