One of Us Is Lying

One of the best books I have read, One of Us Is Lying by Karen M, McManus, kept me hooked till the end. The plot revolves around five high school students: the jock, the brainiac, the troublemaker, and the princess. Cooper, Bronwyn, Nate, and Addy all are in detention together for having cell phones in their backpacks when they were supposed to be left in their backpacks. Each one claims that the cellphone was planned by someone else because each kid claims to have left in their locker, but the teacher does not believe them. Figuring that it must be a prank, they go to detention. Along there with them is Simon, a fellow senior. He is there for the same reason, but does not fit into any of these said stereotypes. While the students are serving detention, Simon goes to fill a paper cup with water. All of the sudden, he collapses and is rushed to the hospital. There, he is proclaimed dead from a severe allergic reaction to peanuts. The whole community is shocked, and blame is placed upon the four other students who were in that room with him. Each claims to be innocent, but each also has secrets to hide. Did someone in that room do it, or was it a group of them, or was it someone else with their own motives? To find out, read this novel and be prepared for a great plot.

I absolutely enjoyed this book because of the plot and the characters. As a fan of thriller novels, I especially enjoyed the high school aspect of it. It helped make it more relatable and added to the suspense. Another great aspect of this book is the characters and what each of them brings to the plot. As the story went on, their secrets were revealed. Those various revelations helped to make the plot more twisted. The main question of who did the crime was on my mind the whole novel, and the answer was delivered in an interesting way. As clues were revealed, I started to figure out the answer, but it was close to the end. I would recommend it to any high school student looking for a thrilling read.

The Mediator: Shadowland by Meg Cabot

Susannah (Suze) Simon’s life is not what you’d consider “ordinary,” in fact, it’s quite the opposite. After living in New York for her whole life, only-child, Suze and her widowed mother move across the country to sunny California. There, she is introduced to her step father, Andy Ackerman, along with his three sons. She has been enrolled into Junipero Serra Catholic Academy, with her new stepbrothers, where she hopes to start a new chapter in her life.

You see, as much as moving to California separated Suze from her one true friend, Gina, it’s also a chance for her to create a new image of herself. Susannah has gotten into trouble a good handful of times, as she is no stranger to the police and is often found sneaking back into the house early in the morning. All along Mrs.Simon has thought this obnoxious act of her daughter’s was due to being anti-social. But that’s not the reason why Suze is often found alone, it’s because she can see ghosts, and she’s kept this secret from all the people she knows!

Being a mediator is no easy task; Susannah knows this from experience. She must juggle her school work, family time, along with the future of the ghosts she encounter in their afterlife. Although Suze is in love with her beach view room, she can’t help but notice the ghost of a cowboy sitting in her bay window. She befriends Jesse, a handsome teen, no older than Suze, who was killed 150 years ago in a tragic accident. As Suze is helping Jesse reach his afterlife, she can’t help but seeing something special in her new friend.

As if moving to a completely new school wasn’t stressful enough, trouble arises when a teenage ghost threatens the students at the academy. Without endangering any of her new friends, Suze must put a stop to the wandering spirit. Alongside Jesse, Susannah plans on getting rid of the academy’s unwanted visitor once and for all!

Shadowland was a great summer read that kept me occupied for most of this week! I can’t wait to see what Meg Cabot has in store for Susannah as she continues her mediator role.

-Skyler K.

Haven by Kristi Cook

The first book in the Winterhaven series, Kristi Cook’s Haven is a mystery romance about a 16 year old girl named Violet Mckenna  and her journey throughout her new life at Winterhaven. Back in Atlanta, at school Violet was known as a freak because she sees visions of her dad’s murder. But, later she goes to New York with her stepmother Patsy and goes to a new boarding school called Winterhaven. Winterhaven was not just an ordinary school, but a school filled with secrets and students having special psychic abilities or “gifts”. Violet meets a small group of friends and she finally finds a place where she seems normal. At school, she meets the most popular guy in school named Aidan Gray and they start developing feeling for each other. While Violet dated Aidan she noticed he’s keeping something away from her. Aidan has been keeping a secret that none of the students know about and later on revealed that he was a vampire. After that there’s a plot twist where there’s a spin on a tragic event that happens to Violet and Aidan relationship.

I would recommend this book if you like mystery, paranormal, romance, and friendship involved. I like the build up towards the middle till the end and it has an interesting plot twist involved. If you like the book Twilight, then this is a spin on that book with a different plot twist that involves vampires and a bit of werewolves. In this book, you can see the journey Violet has taken in her stay at her new school and getting to know her new friends. There is a sequel to this book called Mirage.

Vanessa T.

Haven, and the rest of the Winterhaven novels by Kristi Cook are available for checkout from the Mission Viejo Library

TV Review: BBC’s Sherlock

Maybe we’re not all nearly as intelligent as Sherlock, but we can, at the very least, tune in and try to decipher and understand his thought process (even though we’ll most likely never succeed in this – his thought process is very complicated).

Sherlock Holmes has been acting as a consulting detective for the Scotland Yard Police Department in London for some time now, and has been very helpful in successfully solving many of their cases. He does, however, seem to lack the sort of emotion that most people have. In fact, he himself identifies as a sociopath. But this does not, in any way, inhibit his incredible ability of making amazingly accurate deductions and thinking far faster than even his own brain can follow. 

Because of his keen intellect and blunt demeanor, he comes off as a rude know-it-all to nearly everyone he meets. That is why it’s not surprising that Dr. John Watson, a veteran, is taken a bit off guard when he first encounters Sherlock and is asked if wants to share a flat despite the fact that he had only just met him. 

After getting over the initial shock of someone knowing so much about him by merely looking at him, John moves in with Sherlock at 221B Baker Street and promptly begins solving crimes with him. John turns out to be a very valuable asset in his contributions to investigations, but more importantly, Sherlock grows to care about him, which is most uncharacteristic of a sociopath. 

I think this is an excellent show, especially for people who like crime/mystery. It gives a unique, contemporary take by placing these original stories by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle in modern London, making it easier for people today to understand and relate to the familiar culture. It’s also got some really funny parts. The mysteries are always really well thought out, and I love how well and thoroughly they’re solved by Sherlock, John and Scotland Yard. I also like how there’s such a wide variety in the types of mysteries that they solve. No two of them are alike- they’re always very different so it never gets repetitive. 

This is an amazing, humorous, yet sophisticated show with great characters, intriguing crimes, and a suspenseful and thrilling story line that’ll keep you on the edge of your seat. It’s easily one of the best shows I’ve ever seen. 

-Elina T.

Season One of Sherlock is available for checkout from the Mission Viejo Library.

With Malice by Eileen Cook

Get ready to clear your schedule because With Malice by Eileen Cook will keep you hooked and unwilling to put her story down. Yale-bound, 18-year-old Jill Charron’s life is turned around when she wakes up in a hospital bed with a big blank where the memories of the past six weeks should be. Learning that she was in a cataclysmic car accident, she is shocked when she learnt it happened in her dream school trip abroad in Italy. Struggling to recover from her injuries sustained in the accident, she is startled to discover her best friend of over ten years, Simone, is dead.

Furthermore, she discovers her affluent father has hired a top-notch lawyer because the car accident and Simone’s death are being investigated as a murder, and Jill is being accused of causing Simone’s death. Simultaneously recovering from her injuries, and dealing with the aftermath of the accident, Jill must piece together the glimpses of memories she has to figure out what really happened to her best friend.

As I read this book, I was completely enamored with the story, and I could not put it down. The concept of the story may not be unique, but it was told in a way that made it seem like it was. The way Jill was portrayed in the story was accurate and she seemed like a real person. The ending fell a little bit flat, but overall the story was engrossing.

-Anmol K.

With Malice by Eileen Cook is available for checkout from the Mission Viejo Library. It can also be downloaded from Overdrive

The Body Finder by Kimberly Derting

Have you ever thought of having a special ability to find bodies? Well, the first book in the series called The Body Finder by Kimberly Derting is an intense mystery thriller about a 16 year old named Violet Ambrose. Violet and her best friend Jay Heaton are both juniors in high school and she has fallen for him. Jay knows about Violet’s special ability to find bodies and “echoes” ever since they were little. When Violet was a little girl, she had the ability to find and sense dead animals near her and also figure out who killed them. When she senses someone who killed someone she calls them echos, which are sounds or visions that grab her attention.

During the summer, Violet and Jay went to a party at the lake and she discovered a human body for the first time. Later on, she found more missing girls and she tracks down the murder with the help of  Jay. Jay and Violet’s family are both worried about Violet meeting the man who has been killing the missing girls and it’s very shocking and suspenseful. But, you have to read the book to find out what happens next.

I think this book was a good read because it was entertaining to read with the suspense and thriller plot. It is an interesting book and I liked how the book involves solving a mystery with a character with special abilities and a bit romance included. Also, I liked how the chapters included the serial killers point of view. I recommend this book for teens who like mystery books and wants a good book that’s entertaining. The next book in this series is called Desires of the Dead and you can find out what happens next.

The Body Finder series by Kimberly Derting is available for checkout from the Mission Viejo Library

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J.K. Rowling

harrypotterchamberofsecrets_jkrowlingHarry Potter, ready to head back to Hogwarts after another long summer at the Dursely’s, gets an ominous message from a house elf named Dobby that he should not return to school. He returns to what he believes is just another year at Hogwarts but when messages written in blood are found on the wall declaring the Chamber of Secrets had been opened, students are petrified, and a mysterious voice that only Harry seems to hear, the entire campus is left in fear. This perplexing plot snatches the reader’s attention as Ron, Harry, and Hermione slowly find pieces to this puzzle.

In the midst of all this, Harry find a journal from a student named Tom Riddle which shows him the last time the Chamber of Secrets was opened. According to this, Aragog, a spider Hagrid had care for, was the result of the attacks. This is what really left me puzzled. Why would Hagrid let his arcomantula hurt the students? He was always nice to all the students and never would want to harm any of them. So, obviously the trio had find out what really happened on that day. Hermione, being the brains of the group, figured out what was down in the Chamber of Secrets and learned how to find it only to be petrified.

Harry, Ron, and the clueless Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher, Gildroy Lockhart, all head down to the chamber. A rock slide separates them leaving only Harry to fight the beast hidden away in the secret room along with young spirit of Voldemort. By a miracle from Godric Gryffindor, he defeats Voldemort and his basilisk before being rescued to safety by Dumbledor’s pet Phoenix, Fawkes.

A wild ride of twists and turns, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets keeps you captivated through the very end. It is an amazing sequel to Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone and a great piece of writing from J.K Rowling.

-Ava G.

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J. K. Rowling is available for checkout from the Mission Viejo Library. It is also available for download from Overdrive