Love and Luck by Jenna Evens Welch

The novel Love and Luck by Jenna Evens Welch tells the story of overcoming a broken heart and finding one’s self.  

The story stars a young Addie, the youngest of her large family. Addie and her family are on a trip to Ireland for her aunt’s extravagant destination wedding. But the only thing on Addie’s mind is the recent events that led to her heart being broken. 

No matter how hard she tries to forget, the images keep replaying in her mind- and it does not help that her brother Ian keeps reminding her of it. In fact, the two fight over the aftermath of the heartbreak situation for most of the story. However, things start to look up when Addie finds a guidebook titled Ireland for the Heartbroken. On a whim, she takes the book, hoping to escape her nagging thoughts-and her nagging brother.  

When an unexpected change in plans occurs, Addie ends up in a tiny car with Ian and his new Irish friend Rowan. The three of them take a fun-filled adventure around Ireland visiting all sorts of beautiful landmarks. Addie hopes her guidebook can help her find the peace she longs for, and, surprisingly, Rowan joins in. Along the trip, Addie works to mend her heart as well as mend her relationship with Ian. Love and Luck is an exciting read full of self-discovery, friendship, adventure, and of course, love!  I would highly recommend this book to any teen who enjoys a cute story that features travel! 

-Hidaya R.

Love & Luck by Jenna Evans Welch is available for checkout from the Mission Viejo Library

Love and Gelato by Jenna Evans Welch

Amazon.com: Love & Gelato (9781481432559): Welch, Jenna Evans: Books

If you are looking for a cute romance novel to read, I have the perfect book for you! Love and Gelato was written by Jenna Even Welsh in 2016. It falls into the categories Romance and Young Adult Fiction. The story follows young Lina, who moves from Seattle to Florence to live with her father after her mother passes away. There’s only one problem- Lina has never met her father. And she does not want to. 

However, Lina promised her mother she would make an effort to get to know him right before her mother passed away, so she doesn’t really have a choice. Although Lina is moving to a foreign country to live with her absent father she has never met, she tries to make the most of it. 

However, her plan to stay positive comes to a crashing halt when she learns her father lives in a cemetery. But when things seem as though they can not get any worse, Lina is given a journal that her mother kept while living in Italy. It was Lina’s final chance to connect with her mom now that she is gone. Lina travels all over Florence with Ren, the boy next door. She meets tons of new people and tries all sorts of new things. She visits different parts of the city, including all her mother’s favorite parts. Once in Florence, with Ren, Lina finally feels like she can be happy without her mother-she starts to find herself again. But, the best things she finds in Florence are Love and Gelato!

This book makes for a great quick read. Once you start it, you will not be able to put it down! Trust me, I have read it three times! Not only is it a romance novel, but it has a great plot with countless twists and turns. You will be kept on the edge of your seat while also rooting for your favorite couple!

-Hidaya R.

Love and Gelato by Jenna Evans Welch is available for checkout from the Mission Viejo Library.

A Streetcar Named Desire by Tennessee Williams

Book Cover, A Streetcar Named Desire by Tennessee Williams, 1947 | Objects  | Collection of Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum

A Streetcar Named Desire is a tragic play written by Tennessee Williams. It is centered around Blanche DuBois, a fragile thirty year old woman who is detached from reality. After being fired from her previous job as a schoolteacher and losing her home, Blanche decides to go and stay with her younger sister, Stella Kowalski. Stella Kowalski lives with her Polish husband, Stanley Kowalski, a plain and straightforward man. Despite falling out of touch with her sister, Blanche arrives with her large trunk at the Kowalski household.

The title of this play is very crucial to its message and illustrates its entire plot. In the beginning, Blanche recounts her journey to her sister’s house. First, Blanche rode a streetcar named Desire. Then, she took a a streetcar named Cemeteries, which took her to a street called Elysian Fields. Elysian Fields is the land of the dead in Greek mythology. This entire journey symbolizes Blanche’s life and her fear of death. At first, Blanche allows her sexual desires to overcome her and ruin her life. As a result, she is evicted from her childhood home, and lastly, she is taken to an asylum and ostracized completely from society.

Throughout this entire play, we watch as Blanche DuBois gradually becomes completely out of touch with reality. Because of her adherence to lies, fibs, and illusions, she clashes with Stanley. Stanley is a grounded and vicious man who represents the vital force, the strength which animates all living creatures. Everything that he does, he does with extreme passion; he loves passionately, treats Blanche cruelly, and is extremity loyal to his friends.

In the end, after Blanche’s depressing and indecent past is revealed to Stella and Stanley, they decide to send Blanche to an insane asylum. The final moments of this play are heart wrenching and painful. As a broken, depressed, and insane Blanche pleads for her sister to save her, she is lead to the asylum like a prisoner.

Despite its tragic finale, this play discusses very important themes such as death, illusions, and sexuality. Overall, this was an extremely intriguing and deep play that I would recommend to anyone who does not mind a sad ending and loves to explore complex themes.

-Yvette C.

A Streetcar Named Desire by Tennessee Williams is available for checkout from the Mission Viejo Library.

Authors We Love: Nathaniel Hawthorne

10 Things You May Not Know About Nathaniel Hawthorne - HISTORY

Nathaniel Hawthorne (1804-1864) is the founder of American psychoanalytic fiction and the first writer of short stories in the history of American literature. He has been called the greatest American romantic novelist in the 19th century. Hawthorne was born in Salem, Massachusetts in the United States. His family believed in the Christian puritanism, and Hawthorne was influenced by puritanism. After graduating from Bowdoin college in 1825, Hawthorne returned to Salem, where he wrote and published dozens of stories and short stories. In 1839, Hawthorne worked in Boston customs for more than two years, and then entered the “brook farm”, where he was exposed to transcendentalism and got acquainted with Emerson and Thoreau, the representatives of transcendentalism.

Later, Hawthorne went to Salem’s customs office, where his work experience there has a direct impact on his writing “The Scarlet Letter”, which consolidated his solid position in the American literary world. Hawthorne was evaluated as a spectator of life, and his attitude to life determined his interest and insight into people’s inner and psychological activities. He was deeply influenced by the thought of original sin, and the original sin was passed down from generation to generation. His representative works include the novel “The Scarlet Letter”, “The House of the Seven Gables”, “The Blithedale Romance”, “Twice Told Tales”, and “Mosses from an Old House”. Among them, “The Scarlet Letter” has become the world literature classic where Henry James, Edgar Allan Poe, Herman Melville and other literary masters are deeply influenced by it.

The works of Nathaniel Hawthorne are available for checkout from the Mission Viejo Library. They can also be downloaded for free from Overdrive.

The Boy Most Likely To by Huntley Fitzpatrick

Amazon.com: The Boy Most Likely To (9780147513076): Fitzpatrick ...The Boy Most Likely To is a very well written book. There are two books that come before it, The Boy Next Door and What I Thought Was True. I don’t think that What I Thought Was True is necessary to read however since it is about different characters in the same city. However, the two main characters in The Boy Most Likely To, Tim and Alice, are characters in the Boy Next Door, so I would definitely recommend reading that beforehand.

I remember years ago, probably almost four, I picked the Boy Next Door off the shelf since I didn’t realize that Becca Fitzpatrick and Huntley Fitzpatrick were different authors. That’s happened to me a few times, and it was a rare occurrence for me to love both of the series.

The story follows seventeen-year-old Tim and the crazy life of 19-year-old Alice. Alice is taking care of all her siblings while her dad is in the hospital, while Tim is trying to stay out of trouble. It is unlikely that they would fall for each other, but everything else isn’t perfect in their life.

The story switches off between Tim’s and Alice’s points of view, which are written in distinctly different tones, which I thought was nice. I think that it was a well-written book and sequel, and is definitely worth the read. If you’re a fan of a realistic or a romance, this book is for you.

-Rebecca V., 12th grade

Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi

Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi is the first book in a riveting dystopian fantasy series with lots of adventure and plot twists. The book is set sometime in the future when Earth has been taken over by the Reestablishment, an evil organization that is destroying the world after baiting its people with empty promises. Our main character is Juliette Ferrars, a 17-year-old girl with a deadly power: her touch can kill. No one understands what’s wrong with her, including doctors, and she is shunned by everyone she knows because of her mysterious curse. After a terrible accident occurs, Juliette is sent to a mental asylum where she stays for nearly two years before her life drastically changes. She is discovered by Warner, the son of the supreme commander of North America. He knows about her powers, and he wants to use them in nefarious ways to benefit the Reestablishment. Juliette must escape her difficult situation and figure out who she really is to find safety in her dangerous world.

The Shatter Me books are probably the best books I’ve ever read. I think the elements of dystopia and fantasy are very well combined. There are characters with fascinating abilities trying to survive in and take back a world run by a cruel, evil organization. The plot is well-written and there are plenty of surprises that you definitely don’t see coming, especially in the fourth book when you learn that Juliette is not who you thought she was. The characters are well-developed and interesting, and I enjoyed getting to read from the point of views of different characters. I would highly recommend this series to anyone interested in the dystopian/fantasy genre!

-Kaitlyn S.

Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi is available for checkout from the Mission Viejo Library. It can also be downloaded for free from Overdrive.

Burn For Burn Trilogy by Jenny Han and Siobhan Vivian

Burn for Burn – Alison Doherty

The Burn for Burn Trilogy is definitely interesting. The series is written by two well-known authors: Jenny Han, who has written To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before, and Siobhan Vivian, who has written the list. Two amazing teen romance authors that write a good trilogy together. The three books in the series are Burn for Burn, Fire with Fire, and Ashes to Ashes.

The story takes place on Jar Island, a small tourist island where everyone knows everybody. Three girls: Kat, Lillia, and Mary are all brought together with a goal to get revenge. They all think that revenge is sweet, but it does have drastic results. Their friendship is a secret because in real life they could never be friends.

I think that I read Ashes to Ashes in a bookstore when it came out years ago, but I don’t think I read the whole thing, and I had forgotten I read it. When I started the series recently, I didn’t realize I had read some of the third book until around halfway of Fire with Fire. That already should be concerning to a reader, that the first and third books of the same series were so drastically different. I was hooked into the story at the beginning since I thought it was a normal teen romance book that would have been considered light. I was wrong. I didn’t expect to end the series with the third book being a paranormal romance book. I also don’t like how the writers make you jump back and forth rooting for two different guys the whole entire time. It was a bit much. I still think the series is worth a read, but I don’t like how drastically the writers’ path changed. I think that the first book was the most well written, but you will get hooked into the story that you have to read the second and third books, but they don’t live up to the expectation of Burn for Burn.

-Rebecca V. 11th Grade

The Burn For Burn series is available for checkout from the Mission Viejo Library. They can also be downloaded for free from Overdrive

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald, Paperback | Barnes & Noble®

Considered by many to be the greatest novel that was ever written, F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby is a masterful depiction of life during America’s Jazz Age. At a time when wealth and social status translated into parties and romance, Fitzgerald adeptly captures the essence of the Roaring Twenties in this novel that has persevered for nearly one hundred years.

The story is told through the eyes of Nick Carraway, an outsider with outside perspectives on the people living around him on the West Egg of Long Island. One particularly enigmatic resident is the fabulously wealthy Jay Gatsby, a man with a mysterious past. Over the course of his time there, Nick discovers Gatsby’s all-consuming love for the beautiful Daisy Buchanan, and how Gatsby’s endless desperation to win her love and devotion has driven all of his actions.

Using Nick to stage a reunion between Gatsby and Daisy, the two proceed to embark on a romantic relationship, despite Daisy’s marriage to Tom Buchanan. Unfortunately for the two lovers, Tom eventually finds out about the affair, and that spells out the beginning of the end for both Daisy and Gatsby.

As timeless as the time during which The Great Gatsby is set, F. Scott Fitzgerald’s novel is a fantastic glimpse into America’s past, as well as into the thoughts and actions of the wealthy and the ordinary, making it relevant to every reader in modern times.

-Mahak M.

The Wrath and the Dawn by Renée Adhieh

The wrath and the dawn is not your everyday fantasy novel. 

For one, it has middle eastern representation, which in my opinion is a certain demographic in fantasy that is highly underrepresented. Secondly, it is a retelling of A Thousand and One Nights, the fairy tale that which inspired Aladdin and many other films under the title the tales are commonly referred to, Arabian Nights

But before we continue can we take a moment to appreciate the covers? The original covers that were released with the book when it came out in 2015, are absolutely gorgeous. And I’d be lying if I didn’t mention that the reason I purchased these books was because of the covers. My quest to obtain the original covers was completed through the wonderful website of eBay, which fortunately had one or two to spare for my honorable mission.

But fear not, the covers were not the only extraordinary part of the book, because of course the most important part of any novel is the content. To that, the wrath and the Dawn upheld the high expectations I had for it. 

The Wrath and The Dawn tells the story of Sharzard, a women of noble birth in the Islamic Golden Age, and Khalid, the Caliph who takes a new bride each night only for them to die the morning after. Once Sharzard’s closest friend falls victim, she decides to volunteer to be his bride to try and kill Khalid. Sharzard convinces the Caliph not to kill her through the stories she tells each night. 

I absolutely zoomed through this book. Not only this one but the duology as well and ended up reading them both in one day. This was highly encouraged by the short and fast-paced chapters. There was never a dull moment in this book, and there was always someone to follow and root for. 

Another particular part that had me completely enthralled and hooked on was the romance. Although the premise seems somewhat problematic and troubling the romance evolves in a very cute and intimate manner that makes it hard to dislike. As with a lot of young adult novels, the main character’s remarks tend to be very witty and sarcastic. But unlike in other novels where those said remarks seem forced and unlike the character, Sharzard’s personality in my opinion is much more genuine and seems natural. These remarks make the banter much more fun to read and helped me get through the book even faster. 

But more importantly, its an enthralling tale about love, danger, and magic in ancient times that everyone should read. 

The wrath and the dawn is also available as a webtoon and although I prefer the original material, if you are short for time or quite like the cartoonish style then I highly recommend that as well. (Note, the webtoon is not completed and is currently being updated weekly.

-Asli B.

The Wrath and The Dawn by Renee Adhieh is available for checkout from the Mission Viejo Library. It can also be downloaded for free from Overdrive.

Love is in the Air

Are you looking for books that make you feel all warm and fuzzy on the inside? Well you have come to the right place! My top three romance books are Quarantine; a love story, Windfall, and Love, Life, and the List.

The first book, Quarantine; a love story by Katie Cicatelli-Kuc, is about two teenagers that are both flying to New York to see family, get stopped by a bunch of biohazard people. The people from biohazard are studying a disease called tropical mono, and if anyone on the plane had a fever, they would be put into thirty-day quarantine. The girl Flora faked a fever and kissed Oliver so they would go to quarantine together. Now they are stuck in a room together, forced to learn things about each other, including secrets. This book is very well written and will definitely make you tear up towards the end.

My second book, Windfall by Jennifer E. Smith, is about three best friends named Teddy, Alice, and Leo. Alice has had feelings for Teddy, but she does not know how to tell him. So for his birthday, she jokingly gives him a lottery ticket and a card that confesses her feelings for him. On the night she gives it to him, the card slips under the fridge so only the ticket remains. The next morning, Teddy finds out he won the lottery! This book truly demonstrates friendship and true love. I highly recommend this book.

My last and final book Love, Life, and the List, by Kasie West, is about two best friends named Cooper and Abby make a list of things to accomplish during the summer. Abby has feelings for Cooper but the first time she told Cooper about her feelings, he clearly did not feel the same. Abby also has a passion for art and is determined to get into the art museum that her boss is hosting. She also has to deal with a paranoid mother who is too afraid to even go out of her own house. Now Abby has to go through the whole summer juggling her feelings, skills, and family. This book definitely demonstrates heartbreak, friendship, and family.

-Veronica S.