The Iron Trial by Cassandra Clare and Holly Black

Pretty much all his life, Call’s dad has warned him away from magic. During the trial to enter the Magisterium (administered to all those who may have the ability to do magic when they’re twelve), Call is supposed to mess up—and he does, but doesn’t expect the result. Instead of failing, Call is chosen to train under the most prestigious mage at the Magisterium. Taken away from his dad, Call learns about things his father never wanted him to know, making friends along the way and learning dangerous secrets about himself.

I really liked this book. The characters are each their own person with their own personalities, and the plot is intriguing. The book has really good world building, and the history narrated by some of the characters also reflects some of the characters’ personalities in how they deal with the knowledge of their pasts. There are parallels to Harry Potter, but I didn’t think it took away from the book—it was enjoyable as its own read.

-Aliya A.

The Iron Trial by Cassandra Clare and Holly Black is available for checkout from the Mission Viejo Library

Graceling by Kristin Cashore

Graceling by Kristin Cashore is a fantasy novel about Katsa, who has been graced with the ability to kill. In her world, there are some who are graced with supernatural gifts and have different colored eyes. Those with useful gifts, such as Katsa, are brought to their King so he can use it. Unfortunately, Katsa is the niece of the King, and is used to intimidate would-be criminals. Engaging in secret espionage to help hinder his actions, Katsa is constantly working with the other members of the court.

On one of her missions, Katsa encounters Prince Po. Graced himself with an amazing ability to fight, Po goes to Katsa’s court. There, they fight together and maximize each other’s capabilities. Katsa has been trying to solve the case of a man she and other members of the court had rescued from another Kingdom. They did not know who had kidnapped him, but soon discover that this man is Po’s grandfather, who Po had been looking for. Working together, Po and Katsa discover the secrets behind both the kidnapping and their graces.  

The plot was intricate, but developed into a great story by the end. Katsa is a strong lead, and the development of her character is seen through the course of the story. Initially, she was reticent, but developed into a strong, self-assured character by the end of the story. Po also developed throughout the story, and was a great second character. The plot was simple, and easy to follow. However, there were some instances where it felt stretched out and a little boring, but there were not too many scenes like that. I would recommend this too whomever is looking for a fantasy read with a strong female character.

-Anmol K.

Mirage by Kristi Cook

Mirage by Kristi Cook is the sequel to Haven, a mystery romance novel. Violet McKenna is 17 years old and going to spend her senior year at Winterhaven with her friends and vampire boyfriend Aidan. She spends her summer break at home in Atlanta away from Aidan to catch up with her best friend, Whitney. Dr. Byrne helps Violet with her visions and a transfer student, Tyler, appears in Violet’s life as well as other new characters throughout the book. While Aidan is finding a cure for his vampirism, a vampire killer is on the loose killing innocent people leading him to find out who it is. Violet starts getting visions throughout the book about what the future holds. Do you think Aidan will find his cure? Will Violet and Aidan end up together? Well you have to read the book to find out.

I definitely recommend this book to anyone who enjoys books that involve vampires, school life, and friendship. If you enjoyed the first book, then this book is a must. This book was a good read in my opinion and it was interesting with the intense plot twist and secrets being revealed. I love the new characters involved and Violet and Aidan’s relationship. There is a sequel to this book called Eternal and it’s the last book in the series.

-Vanessa T.

Mirage by Kristi Cook, and the rest of the titles in the Haven series, is available for checkout from the Mission Viejo Library.

The Vampire Diaries

The teen drama Vampire Diaries was developed by Williamson and Julie Plec and is exactly what you need if you’re looking for thrills, drama, lust, love, and danger. I could go on and on!

The TV show begins with Elena Gilbert, an average high schooler with a little less than average problems. Losing both her parents in a car accident off Wickery Bridge in the town of Mystic Falls she feels that her struggles are over. That his, until new boy Stefan Salvatore begins to attend Mystic High the same class as Elena. It’s love at first sight and they soon get to know each other. Eventually secrets are unveiled and Elena comes to learn that her boyfriend, along with his brother Damon, are vampires–but not the only ones in Mystic Falls.

Their relationships is unsteady at first because of Elena’s fear and curiosity of the unknown. Which is understandable, it’s not every day your lover tells you they crave flesh and blood. She eventually learns how to cope although things are always kept interesting.

The teen drama keeps on your toes always questioning what’s around the corner in the scene to come. If you’re searching for something to crank up your day and your heart rate, I really suggest watching vampire diaries. You will not be disappointed.

-Leann D.

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