The Vault of Dreamers by Caragh M. O’Brien

The Vault of Dreamers by Caragh M. O’Brien is a science fiction, dystopian novel. It takes place in the Forge School of the Arts, which is the site of a reality TV show. The school had 100 kids enter in each year, but 50 of them are cut, and do not receive this world-class education. The cuts are based on each person’s ranking, and these ranking are determined by the viewers, who watch the kids 12 hours a day. They vote, and the ones with more votes rise in rank, and make the cuts. The rest of the 12 hours are for the kids to sleep because it is believed that more sleep allows them to have more creativity. Each kid is given a pill to take, and its purpose is to help them sleep better and allow more creativity.

The main character of the book is Rosie Sinclair. She is in the school for film editing, and is ranked very low days before the cuts. Because of this, she skips taking her pill one night and goes out to explore because she does not have any regard for the consequences. In her exploration she finds a whole new world beyond the cameras. This encourages her to put more effort into staying up in the ranks in order to unearth the dark secret that the school is covering.

The premise of the book for me was interesting enough to pick it up off the shelf. I started to read it, and it was a bit difficult to get into. The story started with a pretty simple plot line, and a lot of the beginning was what I already read from the book summary. However, I loved to read about Rosie’s backstory because it made me root for her. Then, a few expected “turns” happened, and the story sort of plautead. I continued to read, and was happy to see the action pick up again. This propelled me to read the rest of the story, and I enjoyed the ending. Even though the beginning was a bit difficult to get through, I would recommend this book for an interesting, thought-provoking novel.

-Anmol K.

The Vault of Dreamers by Caragh M. O’Brien is available for checkout from the Mission Viejo Library

One Of Us Is Lying by Karen McManus

One of Us Is Lying by Karen McManus tells the story of how deadly a rumor could end up. It started with an after school detention. Five kids walked in. Addy, Bronwyn, Nate, Cooper, and Simon all have detention. They don’t usually hang out, so they don’t talk very much. Simon has a gossip app called About That. He posts rumors about kids at the school on the app regularly. Simon gets up to get a glass of water and as soon as he finishes the water he starts having an allergic reaction and dies.

The main belief that the police had was that someone had poisoned Simon because of a rumor posted on the app. The police assume it was one of the four in detention with Simon. In the police investigation, they find peanut oil in the water. Now the four have to do their own detective work to find out who really killed Simon. At the time of Simon’s allergic reaction, the nurse had no EpiPens, and an EpiPen was later found in Nate’s locker. The police then took Nate to have him questioned. Bronwyn hears about this and realizes that their lockers were searched the morning of Simon’s death so somebody must have put the EpiPen there to frame Nate.

The three students keep looking for clues, and their search leads them to one of Simon’s only friends, Janae Vargas. They continually ask Janae if she knows anything until she finally tells them who killed Simon. She tells them that somebody made a plan to kill Simon by putting peanut oil in the water and that the person was…(spoiler warning! highlight text to read!)Simon himself. Simon planned every detail like hiding the nurse’s EpiPens and hiding one in Nate’s locker. Simon’s apparent motive was that everyone in the detention class had been rude to him so he decided to try and frame them

-Emilio V.

One of Us Is Lying by Karen McManus is available for checkout from the Mission Viejo Library. It can also be downloaded for free from Overdrive. 

Where I Live

Where I Live by Brenda Rufener tells the story of high schooler Linden Rose. When you read high schooler, you may have pictured someone who has a typical life with friends, homework, and a family. Linden Rose has all of these things, but no family. Homeless for about a year, she lives at school; no one knows about her secret because she does not want anybody to know.  Her two closest friends, Ham and Seung, are under the impression that she lives with her constantly absent Father at a nearby trailer park. Linden works hard in school to keep up her guise in order to have a shot at the future.

Flying under the radar is all she wants to do, and she does just that until she meets Bea. On the surface, Bea is the popular girl everyone admires. However, she comes to school one day with a bloody lip; everyone thinks it is from her boyfriend, but she vehemently denies this. This is hard for Linden to fathom because her place in life is due to domestic violence because of the various men beating up her mother, who eventually died and left Linden to live with her grandma, but she also died. In her gut, Linden knows that she needs to tell Bea’s story, but is unable to do so without revealing some secrets of her own.

This story was an emotional journey, but one thing that the reader will keep doing is rooting for a better life for Linden. Linden is portrayed in a way that she feels to be real, and the reader is able to connect to her. The story was slow-moving, but I do not think there was any other way for the story to be told. By building the story slowly, but surely, the author was able to depict the journey of Linden. I would recommend this book to anyone looking for a book that takes on a different about high schoolers.

– Anmol K.

Where I Live by Brenda Rufener is avaiable at the Mission Viejo Library.

Expelled by James Patterson and Emily Raymond

Image result for expelled by james pattersonFor anyone, whether or not you are a James Patterson fan, Expelled is not a disappointment. When four students are expelled over a posted picture, they must team up, whether they like it or not. They have to make decisions on who they can trust, in a world of guilty and innocents. But who are the true guilty and innocent people? You can’t make your decisions  on looks and past events. Theo Foster  was expelled for a posted photo on his Twitter account. He wants to find out who framed him, but where can he start, the people in the photo? His friends? Every single person in the school?

Theo goes on throughout the book, trying to figure who framed him. After all, he is expelled, and now he has a large amount of time on his hands. People in public give him nasty looks. A 7-Eleven refuses to hire him. But that doesn’t stop him. With a  group of four expelled kids, a video camera, and a small strip of property, nothing can go wrong, right?

I would recommend this book to anyone that’s looking for a new mystery or James Patterson book. There’s beautifully written plot twists, and the real guilty person didn’t turn out to be who I expected. I personally don’t read many mysteries, so this wasn’t the best Patterson book I have read, but I still like it, and it wasn’t the worst either. This book has some mature themes and it for high school readers.

-Rebecca V, 9th grade

Expelled by James Patterson and Emily Raymond is available for checkout from the Mission Viejo Library

See Jane Run by Hannah Jayne

The book consisted of two main characters that understood each other better then their parents did. Not only is Riley supposed to not interact with kids at her school, but she is also not allowed to  start having feelings for a juvenile delinquent.

It all starts when Riley finds a hidden birth certificate in her baby book. The only problem is it doesn’t have her name on it. On the birth certificate it includes her date of birth and even her parents names, but they aren’t the same as those who she thought were her parents.

Not only is Riley frightened, but she also starts getting notes in her purse and backpack everyday at school consisting of the words, “I know who you are, ” and even, “Your parents are liars.” Without having enough courage to confide in her parents, will Riley understand the consequences of living in a divided family?

-Rylie N.

One Hundred Days

They told me high school would be a long four years, a time I would dedicate to navigating schoolwork, extracurricular activities, and a social life. A time when my stresses would only consist of getting the grades and the friends. That everything in my life had prepared me for this brand new stage.

When I was little, I used to dream of the days I would grow up into a teenager, go out with my friends, get a driver’s license, and even begin to drink coffee regularly. I couldn’t wait to join school clubs, meet more people, and bring a date to those formal dances everyone always talked about. Because this was the amazing life I had built up in my head all those years ago.

And I was told to hold on to it because it would all happen so quick. That I would soon miss the bottom lockers that no one wanted and the crowded hallways filled with people I’ve known since third grade. That I would learn to cherish it and make the most out of every second I had here.

But it wasn’t long before the time had escaped me.

Suddenly, they were telling me one hundred days. Only one hundred days until I was out of this building, out of this life, and moving on to a bigger, brighter future. Eight-year-old me, meeting my best friend for the first time on the top of the swirly slide at recess, could never have begun to imagine that my high school graduation and step into a completely life-altering environment was only one hundred days away.

Four years of trying to figure out who I was and what I liked, and I’m still not close to done. Now, I have to decide my future in one hundred days and counting. Impossible. But then again, I used to think being this age was impossible. I once believed I would always just be that girl waiting for that goal of becoming a semi-independent high school student, similar to how I can only envision myself being a slightly-more-independent college student.

Change happened fast and I didn’t realize how unprepared I was for that notice of one hundred days to completely turn my life around.

-Sabrina C.

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.