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

Come Back To Me by Mila Gray

Come Back To Me by Mila Gray is a New Adult romance book, set in today’s time. The two main characters are Jessa and Kit. Jessa’s brother, Riley, has known Kit and has been his best friend since elementary school. Now they are going off to join the marines, and Jessa has had a crush on Kit since she was 14. Every year Jessa’s mother hosts a beginning of summer barbecue and Kit comes every year. This year Jessa talks to Kit on her own. They spend the rest of the summer together. But something happens one morning after Kit and Riley get deferred again, you need to read the book to see what happens!

The best part of this book is the fact that Kit may just be the best boyfriend ever. He always stood up for Jessa, even when she was against him, he pushed her out of her comfort zone, and he protected her, at all costs. But he isn’t one of those characters who seem too perfect to be real. He is just a genuine sweet person. When you read the book and see how he treats Jessa, it makes you fall in love with him, you wonder to yourself, “Why can’t I find someone like this?”.

The author, Mila Gray just has a sort of magic to her writing. She hooks you in, and if you read like I do, you’ll find that writers now-a-days just can’t really do that anymore. They may be able to keep your attention span for a few pages, but after awhile you lose interest or just forget what’s going on. Mila Gray doesn’t do that. Once you crack open the book, you’ll be hooked. Mila Gray can also write really good romance scenes. Another cool thing about her is that she can write dual POV. When you read most books with dual POV you find that the character’s “voices” mix together too much, it is hard to tell whose voice you are actually reading. With Mila Gray’s writing, you can always tell who is the speaker and that’s another thing I love about this book.

This book (and it’s sequel, Stay With Me) are available at the Mission Viejo Library.

 

The Superlatives series by Jennifer Echols

When you open up your yearbook, there usually is a Best Of page, such as Best Dressed, Most Athletic, etc. Some people don’t know that this page is called the Superlatives, or as dictionary.com defines it: being of the highest kind, quality, or order; surpassing all else or others; supreme; extreme. Jennifer Echols weaves together a series about how three different titles affect three best friends: Tia, Harper, and Kaye.

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The first book, Biggest Flirts, starts off with Tia, the drum captain. She bilingual, 5’ 9”, is a serious underachiever, and almost has an allergic reaction if anyone tries to put her in charge. What she thinks are her values and morals all start to change when the new guy, Will, shows up from Minnesota. She states over and over again that she doesn’t want a boyfriend, but will that change as she gets to know Will better?

 

 

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The second book, Perfect Couple, is about Harper, the yearbook photographer. She’s first dating the yearbook editor, Kennedy, and then gets voted Perfect Couple with the schools quarterback, Brody. She doesn’t understand why the school would pair her with someone like Brody.  She’s a photographer with glasses and her funky homemade dresses. So why would the school think that Brody is a perfect match for her while Kennedy already is?

 

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The final book, Most Likely To Succeed is about Kaye, the head cheerleader. She’s the student body vice president, and has exceptional grades, but her mom always pushes her to work harder. She’s dating the student body president, Aidan, for the past three years. But even though similarities at first may attract at the beginning, they sometimes don’t work out in the long run. Maybe she needs to date the school’s bad boy, Sawyer, who has a father than was in jail, dresses up as the school mascot, and tries to convince her that he’s a good fit for her.

 

All three girls first start out with the jerks at the beginning, even though one isn’t a jerk at the end of book three. Each of the girls have a rocky start with the guy they’re supposed be with, but it eventually works out. And of course you have to have the curve-ball, such as when Kaye tells Harper a shocking secret in book 2, which makes you go, wait, what?

This is a nice, relaxing series by Echols. If you want a series that will make you smile, this one is for you! These books make you rethink about wanting to have one of those titles. What if you are voted a bad one, such as Sawyer’s Most Likely To Go Jail award? On the other hand, would you really want the Most Academic Award, and feel like you have to live it up, and be more pressured to be valedictorian? This series is for ages 14 and up.

-Rebecca V., 8th grade

Biggest Flirts and Perfect Couple are available for checkout at the Mission Viejo Library. 

The Sun Is Also A Star by Nicola Yoon

Image result for the sun is also a starThe Sun Is Also A Star, by Nicola Yoon, is told through the perspective of two teenagers: Natasha and Daniel. Natasha is Jamaican senior who loves music and science.  She is going to be deported from the United States, and tries to talk to a lawyer to let her stay in America. Daniel is a Korean senior who meets Natasha by fate.  They spend the day together, trying to get to know each other better. Natasha is dealing with trying to not be deported, while Daniel is trying to avoid his Yale interview. They discuss science, life, poetry, and love. Natasha doesn’t believe that she can fall in love with him, while Daniel thinks the opposite.

Even though the author wrote back and forth between Natasha and Daniel in short paragraphs, and had background information about several topics in the book as another chapter, I thought that this book was well written. You spend the entire book hoping that Natasha isn’t deported, and think that Daniel and Natasha are meant to be together. I thought that the ending was well written, but the epilogue should have been longer.

This book is for the fans of John Green.  It’s bittersweet, and it makes you think that even though you think there’s no hope, there still is hope. It’s okay for most audiences. I would recommend this book for people who are okay with a sad and meaningful book.

-Rebecca V., 8th grade

The Sun Is Also A Star by Nicola Yoon is available for checkout from the Mission Viejo Library. It can also be downloaded from Overdrive

The Island by Olivia Levez

The Island by Olivia Levez was my “Book Set in The Wilderness” for the PopSugar 2017 Reading Challenge. Let me tell you, I was not emotionally prepared for this one.

This story is built on pain, suffering, redemption, and most importantly, survival. I have fallen in love numerous times with survival stories. The Book Thief and The Storyteller broke my heart one after another. A word of advice, do not read these in succession. They will wreck you.

But there is something special about The Island. Outside of Levez’ incredible and unique writing style – one which uses, actually uses, syntax – the story itself is exciting, quick, and witty. Frances’ internal monologue is sarcastic and hilarious, if not a bit abrasive.

In between the struggle to live on her deserted island in the middle of the sea, Frances recalls the pain of her modern life. There is a constant fear of death, of losing what little one has gained.

Though I have never come close to feeling my life was in this level of danger, there is still a deeply engaging in a story about someone fighting for herself, and only herself.

The pages practically turn themselves. The Island is an under the cover with a flashlight read; one you read through the night and into the morning.

-Zoe K., Grade 11

The Island by Olivia Levez is available for checkout from the Mission Viejo Library

Endgame: The Calling by James Frey and Nils Johnson-Shelton

endgame_jamesfreyAs a prominent novel of thriller and fiction, Endgame: The Calling brings a simple treasure hunt to a whole new and different level. With teens fighting teens, the entire world has no chance but to rely on the victor.

In a modern day setting, twelve teenagers carry on with their normal lives until each of them are by a meteor, a warning sign to these twelve “players” for the beginning of what may be the world’s end. Representing the twelve so-called original lines of humanity, these teenagers must play in Endgame, a hunt for three significant artifacts (this book is on the first one) that will save their lines from chaos and disaster while condemning the other eleven.

Through the eyes of each of the twelve players, authors James Frey and Nils Johnson-Shelton incorporate adventure, action, romance, and much more all into just a three book series. Characters like Sarah Alopay, Jago Tlaloc, and Christopher Vanderkamp share their perspectives on their journeys throughout the continents and how they must survive when problems and troubles arise. As clues are hidden inside the novel itself, readers are recommended to try and solve the mystery themselves, being part as one of the players on a mission to save all of humanity.

Endgame: The Calling is a suitable read for young adults ages 13-16, and with my rating of 8.5 out of 10, this may be one of the very best plot lines that I have read.

“Will exuberance beat strength? Stupidity top kindness? Laziness thwart beauty? Will the winner be good or evil?”

…I guess you will have to read and find out.

-Riley W.

Endgame: The Calling is available for checkout from the Mission Viejo Library

The Raven Cycle by Maggie Stiefvater

ravencycle_maggiestiefvaterThe Raven Cycle series, by Maggie Stiefvater, finally came to a close this spring with the release of her fourth installment, The Raven King. After finishing the first book, titled The Raven Boys, this series quickly jumped high onto the list of my favorite books. The more I read, the higher it climbed. Stiefvater’s characterization and descriptive language is enthralling, bringing me to actually set down the book and relish over a line or two of pure perfection multiple times.

This series deals with magic, mystery, romance, but above all- friendship. The main cast of characters are deeply developed and intricate, and the story gives us a thorough look into their pasts, presents, and heck, even their looming futures.

Blue Sargent, the main female lead, is the only non-psychic in a family of seers, but she has the ability to amplify their clairvoyant powers. For this reason, Blue accompanies her Aunt Neeve on St. Mark’s Eve to go to an abandoned churchyard; St. Mark’s Eve is the day of the year when psychics can see the ghosts of the people who are going to die in the following year walk along the Corpse Road. Blue has never been able to see these ghosts- until tonight.

She asks this sole visible ghost his name- Gansey- and her Aunt explains that the only reason that Blue, a nonseer, would see a ghost is if he’s her true love- or if she’s the one who kills him. Gansey, very much alive, has spent the past couple of years researching the legend of the dead Welsh King Glendower. Legend says he was buried on a magical ley line, and whoever wakes him gets a favor. He and his best friends Adam, Ronan, and Noah devote their time to finding this sleeping king and recruit Blue into their questing court.

The series offers many twists and turns, oftentimes surprising me with a suspenseful showdown or a magical revelation. The more I learned about the characters, the more I loved them and feared for them as their stories grew darker and darker. The characterization stands out as the highlight of the series. Stiefvater chips away at the inner beings of each character until we have a roadmap of each one, pointing out their fears and flaws and tracing their dreams and desires. Out of the main five characters, Blue is the only female, but her family- who we spend lots of time getting to know- is overflowing with a cast of unique, quirky, and psychic women, giving us a wide array of female side characters. Gansey, Adam, and Ronan are my personal favorites; their dynamics are very complicated and interesting, and I anticipated the chapters written from their points-of-view most of all. Stiefvater’s imagination is abundant, and it is evident as she builds her world in the small town of Henrietta.

I have and will continue to recommend this series to any avid readers I come across, for it was a wild ride that I will never forget. The four books- The Raven Boys, The Dream Thieves, Blue Lily Lily Blue, and The Raven King– have secured their positions as some of my favorite books, and I hope they will continue to be recognized in the future as the truly captivating novels they are.

-Abby F.

The Raven Boys and the rest of the Raven Cycle novels are available for checkout from the Mission Viejo Library.