Land of the Lustrous by Haruko Ichikawa

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The world has been hit by six meteors. This has made most of the world uninhabitable except for a very small coast. However, this coast is also unstable too, and any creature that we consider living lives in the ocean.

Humans do not exist anymore.  The only creatures that live on the coast are animated gems. No really, imagine people made of amethyst or topaz running around and instead of eating food they photosynthesis, which is perfect for living on the coast.

This is the setting for Land of the Lustrous, where Phos (Phosphophyllite) and 27 other “gems” live an immortal life in peace and relaxation. Well peace and relaxation except for the fact that people from the moon come and attack them every three days or so, trying to take them back to the moon forever. Since they are basically defenseless when broken and alive when it happens, there could be a chance to rescue them, but it is slim. Hence, the gems, along with their strong leader “Teacher”, train and patrol every day in order to be ready to fight against the moon people.

Everybody except Phos at least. On the Mohs scale, Phos is the weakest at 3.5, and breaks easily no matter the method. However, she still tries to fight despite not even being able to hold the lightest sword. Throughout the story, she still tries her best to change.

The first thing to notice is that the art, compared to other manga, is very plain. The manga artist is obviously very new at drawing, and some of the pictures look like the reader could draw them. However, to make up for it, the character’s design looks perfectly like each of their respective gems, in which one can tell that Diamond has shiny hair.

For geology lovers out there, each of the gems correspond accurately to their real life counterpart. Besides from aesthetics and Mohs scale, for example, I learned about the gem Cinnabar, which has mercury in it, because the character Cinnabar has poison that looks like Mercury coming out of her.

As for story, there is all types of genre, with the exception of perhaps romance. It is very comical, especially at the beginning, whenever Phos messes up, and the world that they live in looks like another planet despite being Earth, also making it dystopia. Additionally, it is a coming of age story perfect for those who feel like they don’t belong, as Phos feels that she is useless, which leads to very dark choices such as losing her memories on purpose, which is perfect for goth fans out there who think that this is just a cute, silly story (hint: we find out later that it is not that cute).

I hope that you will give yet another good manga a try!

-Megan V, 12th Grade

The Land of the Lustrous by Haruko Ichikawa is available for checkout from the Mission Viejo Library

Gone by Michael Grant

gone_michaelgrantThe book Gone, by Michael Grant incorporates drama, suspense and overall excitement. I recommend Gone to younger teens of both genders.

In an instant, all people age fifteen and above disappear from Perdido Beach. This leaves infants, toddlers, tweens and teens to fend for themselves. At first the kids are excited. No adults means no school, no bedtimes and anything they want to eat and drink. That excitement ends after a few hours when they realize that there are no authority figures around and begin to miss their parents. Then, when things seem unable to get worse, the kids discover that all electronic devices including television and phones do not work anymore. Certain kids also start to develop unthinkable powers that put others in danger if used for evil intent.

It is up to fourteen year olds Sam, Quinn, Astrid and Edilio to figure out what caused this strange “poof” that erased everyone over fifteen years old from existence. They must hurry, however, because Sam’s fifteenth birthday is approaching and if they do not figure out how to stop him from poofing away, they may never see him again.

However, complications arise when students from Coates Academy, the school where Sam’s mom was a nurse, come to Perdido Beach and demand to be leaders. These kids include Caine and Diane, both of whom have powers. They appear to be nice, but as the book progresses, their evilness begins to show as they try to kill Sam, Astrid, and all the other kids who have powers and they are threatened by.

Overall, this book was well written but it was not what I would call a page turner. However, I would still recommend this book to anyone looking for an interesting read because it has a unique plot.

-Matthew R.

Gone by Michael Grant is available for checkout from the Mission Viejo Library. It is also available to download from Overdrive.