Book vs. Movie: Middle School, The Worst Years of My Life

Image result for middle school worst years of my life bookMiddle School: The Worst Years of My Life by James Patterson is a good graphic novel. I feel that it is a great book for tweens and young teens.

I watched the movie with my friends, who have never read the books. They were shocked when the movie revealed something important, while I just sat there, knowing about this since the beginning. This probably altered my perspective, because when you have read the book first, you are comparing it to the movie the whole time. And more often then not, minor details from the book are changed for the movie and completely ruins the adaptation. Many minor details were altered, and I do feel that a couple changed how you look at the movie. Characters were not the same, and some were excluded. In the book, Leo passed away from meningitis when him and Rafe were toddlers.

In the movie, they state that Leo had passed about a year before from cancer. This can really change your perspective of the movie. In the book, you know that it’s amazing that Rafe can think of his brother like this through his imagination. In the movie, it’s just because Rafe is mourning. I feel that Leo is not thImage result for middle school worst years of my lifee same character in the movie that he is in the book. Also, what happened to Miller, or Miller the Killer? He was a huge part in the books as the school bully. In the movie, he only had a minor part and didn’t seem as threatening. Additionally, they did not have Jeanne Galleta and Georgia’s personalities correct. Jeanne is much more different, and defiantly does not sneak into his house. Georgia was way more of a brat, and did not feel sorry for her brother at all.

I would say that if you have never read the books, go see the movie! Maybe your younger sibling wants to go. Even if you think that this is a “kiddy movie,” it’s not. Half of the friends that went with me were high schoolers, and they enjoyed the movie as much as the middle schoolers with us. But for the fans of the Middle School series, I really don’t think that the movie is worth it. It is a humorous movie, but you might be disappointed.

-Rebecca V.

For reference, here is a comparison of Leo from the book and the film:

Image result for middle school worst years of my life book leoRelated image

That Time I Joined the Circus by J. J. Howard

thattimeijoinedthecircu_jjhowardThat Time I Joined the Circus by J.J. Howard is about Lexi Ryan, a native New Yorker, forced to look for her mother after a tragic accident took the life of her father. Tracking her mother down to a circus in the middle of Florida, Lexi leaves New York on a one-way bus ticket to the location of the circus. Arriving at the circus, she soon finds out that her mother is not there. Despite her mother’s absence, Lexi finds a home for herself, and people who are willing to accept her and take her in. Settling and enjoying her time at the circus, Lexi’s world is thrown into turmoil when her best friend, Eli from New York, shows up at the circus. This debut of a book has humor, wisdom, and a great narrator.  

I have had this book for years now, and it is one of the novels on my shelf that I read over and over again. Despite reading it so many times, I am still intrigued by the storyline and the characters. Admiring how Lexi was able to overcome her various obstacles, I thoroughly enjoyed her character. As for the plotline, I did not really enjoy the fact that it jumped back and forth  from Lexi’s life before her Father’s death to her time spent at the circus. I enjoyed thoroughly the familial aspect among Lexi and the people of the circus; especially, Lexi’s friendship with the daughters of the ringleader was sweet.  Despite its title, there are many other elements to this amazing book besides the circus. I would recommend this book for those looking for a contemporary circus story.

-Anmol K.

The Devil’s Intern by Donna Hosie

It all started the day Mitchell died. Actually, just kidding. It all started when “Medusa”, Mitchell’s frenemy/sort-of-girlfriend died forty years ago in San Francisco. No, it probably started back in 1666, when Mitchell’s British friend (who received a pin in Hell because of that year) died in a fire. Actually, it should probably start during Viking times, when Mitchell’s other friend died in battle. Confusing? Well, this is a book about time travel. And death. And Hell.

Mitchell, being dead for four years, wonders why he died. He knew that he died because he didn’t look when crossing the street (and that kids, is why looking both ways to cross is very important), but he wonders what made him not remember. Now, he’s stuck in Hell because of it, with his every day life being an intern to the Devil’s Secretary in Hell. Amidst the crowdedness of Hell and his three best friends in tow, he learns of a time machine being stored right near where he works. And it was Medusa, after all, who gives him the idea to change his death. Along with his three friends who want to change their deaths too. But death isn’t so easily changed, as Mitchell and his friends soon find out by paying the price.

I love the humor in this book. Mitchell is the typical hero who tries to make everything awkward but messes up. Hell, at least the interpretation of it, is my favorite since Hosie purposefully makes it not like the stereotypical Hell. Sure it’s overheated a lot, but other than that, it seems like a regular Earth, with the exception of the Devil’s daily tantrums and the fact that Hell’s going bankrupt.

It is also well thought out. I’m pretty sure that there are a multitude of books where the hero tries to think about what would happen if a certain death didn’t happen (ex: Harry with Dumbledore), but there are few that actually go into the consequences (ex: Dumbledore would’ve still died, and instead died in a way he wanted), and I like how Hosie goes into it.

Overall, if you like comedy or time-travel, I highly recommend this book.

-Megan V, 10th grade

The Devil’s Intern is available for check out from the Mission Viejo Library.

The Bliss Trilogy by Kathryn Littlewood

bliss_klittlewood*Note: the last two summaries may include spoilers to their previous book

Over the summer, I became engulfed in an intriguing book series, the Bliss trilogy. In the first book, Bliss, problems arise when the Bliss parents go on a baking retreat for one week. Their children, Thyme, Sage, Leigh, and Rosemary, the main character, are left with an unfriendly babysitter to take care of them and their magical bakery. The kids know they must protect the secret of the magical bakery while their parents are away. However, when the mysterious Aunt Lily arrives unexpectedly, things quickly get out of hand. Humorous turns of events create chaos when several enchanted recipes completely turn around the people of their hometown, Calamity Falls. Unsure of whom to trust, will Rosemary Bliss and her two brothers be able to save their home before it all comes crashing down?

In the smashing sequel to the first book, A Dash of Magic, nefarious Aunt Lily has stolen the Bliss family magical cookbook. Rosemary Bliss must defeat her mighty Aunt Lily in a baking contest, France’s Gala des Gateaux Grands, in order to save her family’s all-powerful cookbook. Along with an alliance of a talking cat and mouse, her great-great-great grandfather Balthazar, and her brother Ty, Rose encounters many close calls and wacky magical ingredients. A Dash of Magic is a thrilling book, which many Bliss fans will love.

Finally, the grand finale to the inspiring Bliss trilogy is called Bite Sized Magic. All Rose had ever wanted was to be famous, but after winning the Gala des Gateaux Grands, she realizes it is a lot more work than she imagined. She is soon kidnapped by the Mostess snack company, which uses kitchen magic for evil rather than good. They threaten her into perfecting their best selling (and most evil) recipes in a mere five days. To save her family and herself, and to defeat this wicked baking company, Rose must face one of her most fearsome challenges yet.

This trilogy is hilarious, wacky, magical, and fascinating, all rolled up into one series! I would recommend these books for all ages, although they might be overwhelmingly long for younger kids. Since I love baking and reading, I was thrilled when I received the first book as a gift from one of my friends, and I immediately bought the next two. I fell in love with the hilarious wit and charm included in each and every novel, and the incredible imagery made me feel like I was traveling alongside Rose, all the way from Calamity Falls to the majestic city of Paris. Her handsome brother Ty, sweet sister Leigh, comedic brother Sage, encouraging parents, and her crazy pets and grandfather all make the story that much more enticing. Readers will fall in love with all of the characters, the plot, and a sensational touch of magic while reading the outstanding Bliss trilogy!

-Alaina K., 7th Grade

The Bliss Trilogy is available for check out from the Mission Viejo Public Library.

Book Review: Denton Little’s Deathdate by Lance Rubin

dentonI just finished reading an advance reader’s copy of Denton Little’s Deathdate by Lance Rubin. It was a very good book!

Denton Little lives in a world where we have become advanced enough to predict what day you will die and it is very accurate. But they are unable to accurately predict how you are going to die. Denton is going to die young (at 17), so his last two days to live are packed with crazy adventures. His best friend helps him out because he is going to die in 3 weeks. Denton has his first one-night stand, gets himself into a crazy love triangle, has his first try at drugs, he almost gets killed(multiple times), and he goes to his own funeral.

This book really got me thinking that if I could find out my deathdate– would I want to know? In Denton’s world, it was mandatory to know. That way, you could put other people out of harm, such as you can’t go on a plane on your deathdate. Denton had a cousin who’s entire family had the same deathdate, knowing that would I would be paranoid of why we all die on the same day. I personally would opt out of knowing my deathdate because I would constantly be paranoid of things leading up to my time to kick the bucket. I would try to live my life but would probably not do everything; and be mad at myself because I knew what day I was going to die.

I really enjoyed this book. I liked following Denton’s crazy antics on the day of his death. This book is scheduled to come out in April. I think you should definitely check it out when it comes out!

Now the question is: Would you want to know what day you were going to die?

-Erika T., 8th grade

Book Review: An Abundance of Katherines by John Green

abundance_of_katherinesAn Abundance of Katherines by John Green is phenomenal book that is about a boy who has only dated girls named Katherine. The book starts with a boy named Colin who is introduced to be a child prodigy. He has just had is heart broken by his nineteenth girlfriend named Katherine. Colin is extremely upset, so his friend Hassan convinces him to go on a road trip.

After convincing both of their parents, they go on the road trip. They stop in a town called Gutshot where they are offered summer jobs and a room to live in. The women who offers them these jobs has a daughter named Lindsey. Meanwhile, Colin is set on the fact of finding an equation that will predict the future of any relationship.

Eventually, Colin finds that he is attracted to Lindsey. However, Lindsey already has a boyfriend. Anyone who has read any John Green books in the past would certainly be interested in this book and it is a wonderful book that I would recommend to everyone.

-Melika R., 9th grade


Book Review: Smells Like Dog by Suzanne Selfors

smells_like_dogIn the world of literature, there are so many authors out there. But, there are a few dozen authors who will blow your mind, and one of them is Suzanne Selfors. The way Suzanne writes is simply amazing. First, her books are a fusion between comedy and seriousness. Especially in Smells Like Dog.

This is definitely my favorite book written by her. In Smells Like Dog, Homer, who is a farm boy, gets a gift from Uncle Drake– a dog! Except, the dog doesn’t do anything. Really he does nothing. But, Uncle Dranke, before he died, left a dog to Homer, which he called his most treasured possession. So what should he do with it? The dog just doesn’t want to do anything at all.

Until… you’ll have to read the book to know.

Out of 5 I would rate this story a definite 5. Also, out of 5, I would rate the author a 6, because it is very hard to find a great author. Thanks for reading, and please give comments below!

-Satej B., 8th grade