Artemis by Andy Weir

The bestselling author of The Martian returns to pen and paper in his thrilling second novel, Artemis, with a spitfire narrator and slightly different setting – that is to say, this time, it’s set on the moon instead of the strangely familiar planet we’ve come to know as Mars.

Artemis follows the storyline of sarcastic protagonist Jazz Bashara, whose adventures diverge subtly from her interstellar neighbor Mark Watney’s. Neither hero nor villain, she might fall into the subcategory of antihero, which might be why she is so charming to watch through the pages. Her tripwire wit and sharp-as-cheddar intelligence propel readers through the high-stakes book with frightening speed.

What’s so attractive about reading Weir’s books is the fact that he integrates real science into his science fiction novels. Unlike many sci-fi authors swimming in imagined futuristic cities, Andy Weir weaves together a world that is almost tangible – you might even suggest that his ideas could occur in real life.

Though you wouldn’t know it, of course, being trapped in Jazz’s surreal lunar world. The thoroughly entertaining heist that we go on to see her execute, followed by the lightning-quick action that subsequently trails on its heels, is anything but reality. You’ll find yourself immersed in Weir’s real-but-not-real galactic realm, with no way out.

And that’s a good thing. Jazz’s wit and spunk keep the readers on their toes, and the secondary characters round the story out to existence. Ultimately, Weir’s fabricated, anti-gravity dimension lures audiences in with its honest science and entertaining plotline, arguably in ways The Martian never did(or could).

So, I’m first in line for an expedition to the moon. Care to join?

Esther H.

Artemis by Andy Weir is available for checkout from the Mission Viejo Library. It is also available for download from Overdrive

Divergent by Veronica Roth

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This is probably one of the most well-read books among teenagers. Personally, I’ve read the series multiple times not just because of its intriguing plot, but because of its interwoven themes that resonate with me every time I read it.

Divergent is a science-fiction novel centered around dystopian Chicago and its society, divided into five factions based on attributes of honesty, selflessness, bravery, peacefulness, and intelligence. The story takes a turn when Beatrice Prior, 16, makes a life-changing decision to live in a different faction. The catch is she must completely abandon her family and strive to fit in a world she is extremely unaccustomed to.

My favorite character is the protagonist, Tris. She is extremely intelligent, brave, and selfless, which is why she is called Divergent. In her society, being compatible for more than one faction is rare, but also dangerous. Tris proves to be exactly that because of her will to see things for what they are and make her own decisions. It was rewarding to watch her develop from a shy, quiet girl into a strong fighter that became a leader.

What made this book great was how realistic it seemed. It was eye-opening to read about a society that is so different from my own, yet not so far-fetched. It makes the reader wonder what it would be like to be a character in the book. And for me, that’s what made this book so good. I definitely recommend reading this book if you haven’t already.

-Meagan A.

The Divergent series by Veronica Roth is available for checkout from the Mission Viejo Library. It can also be downloaded for free from Overdrive

Gone by Michael Grant

Imagine a world with everyone fifteen and older completely gone. Kids are fighting each other, food is running low, and some animals and children are mutating and growing powers. Gone by Michael Grant follows Sam, a regular teenager who lives in the FAYZ or the Fallout Alley Youth Zone.

The story follows Sam’s challenges of keeping everyone in control while at the same time, trying to hide his secret mutation. Surprising and shocking, Sam discovers that he can shoot light lasers out of his hands! Sam later finds out he has a brother that also has powers. But Caine, his brother, turns out to be evil! So, Sam and his group of friends have to fight Caine in order to keep their home town safe.

I really enjoyed this book because it emphasized how crazy the world would be if adults were gone. My favorite character by far was Sam because he was nice and had really cool powers! If I could choose one superpower, it would be super speed, like The Flash. Gone is a perfect book for middle schoolers and up. With a mix of mystery, thriller, and all around excitement, Gone is a book I would definitely recommend.

-Daniel C.

The Gone series by Michael Grant is available for checkout from the Mission Viejo Library.

The Vault of Dreamers by Caragh M. O’Brien

The Vault of Dreamers by Caragh M. O’Brien is a science fiction, dystopian novel. It takes place in the Forge School of the Arts, which is the site of a reality TV show. The school had 100 kids enter in each year, but 50 of them are cut, and do not receive this world-class education. The cuts are based on each person’s ranking, and these ranking are determined by the viewers, who watch the kids 12 hours a day. They vote, and the ones with more votes rise in rank, and make the cuts. The rest of the 12 hours are for the kids to sleep because it is believed that more sleep allows them to have more creativity. Each kid is given a pill to take, and its purpose is to help them sleep better and allow more creativity.

The main character of the book is Rosie Sinclair. She is in the school for film editing, and is ranked very low days before the cuts. Because of this, she skips taking her pill one night and goes out to explore because she does not have any regard for the consequences. In her exploration she finds a whole new world beyond the cameras. This encourages her to put more effort into staying up in the ranks in order to unearth the dark secret that the school is covering.

The premise of the book for me was interesting enough to pick it up off the shelf. I started to read it, and it was a bit difficult to get into. The story started with a pretty simple plot line, and a lot of the beginning was what I already read from the book summary. However, I loved to read about Rosie’s backstory because it made me root for her. Then, a few expected “turns” happened, and the story sort of plautead. I continued to read, and was happy to see the action pick up again. This propelled me to read the rest of the story, and I enjoyed the ending. Even though the beginning was a bit difficult to get through, I would recommend this book for an interesting, thought-provoking novel.

-Anmol K.

The Vault of Dreamers by Caragh M. O’Brien is available for checkout from the Mission Viejo Library

Film Review: Jurassic World Fallen Kingdom

This movie is just like all the other sequels to Jurassic Park. After seeing all the other movies in the franchise and seeing the new direction of the movies especially Jurassic World, I did not have very high expectations for this movie. And after watching it, the movie was exactly what I had expected, a bad story line with a bunch of special effects.

Honestly, I had only watched the movie for the actions and the special effects and it didn’t disappoint. The best part of the movie was defiantly just watching dinosaurs destroy things and seeing things burn.

However as the story line goes, it does get annoying seeing the characters make the same mistakes that happened in every other Jurassic movie. The story was just like Jurassic Park 2, people get tricked to go onto the island to bring back dinosaurs and everything goes wrong. And every part of the story that isn’t just a copy of Jurassic Park 2 makes very little sense and is extremely predictable.

Overall the movie was just OK. It is nothing to go out of your way to see. I enjoyed watching it for the special effects but everything else was repetitive and nothing special.  But, if you want to watch a movie to see a lot of action without having to really pay attention to what is going on, it is the perfect movie.

-Ava G.

Film Review: Solo: A Star Wars Story

I have been a fan of  Star Wars ever since I was little and was super excited when Disney picked up Star Wars and started making more movies. But, I was just disappointed in them and I was hoping this movie would be better. It was. It wasn’t great and I’m sure I didn’t completely dislike because it was Disney.

It was really interesting getting to learn Han Solo’s backstory. But there was so much more room for a more creative story. It in some ways filled in the gaps of who Han Solo is in ways that I didn’t really like. I didn’t really like the way they portrayed all the characters it made some of them seem different than who they were in the original movies. Some of Han’s backstory did also seem like it was a bit similar to Darth Vaders because Disney characterized them in similar ways .

Also, even though it is Han Solo, it bugged me that Disney had to put in yet another one of their cliche love stories into the movie. It in a way it reminded me of the Padme and Anakin relationship.

I did like the fighting scenes though. There was some classic Star Wars style fighting scenes and special effects that I really enjoyed watching. It helped the movie seem like a Star Wars movie.

I still enjoyed watching the movie and would totally recommend any Star Wars fan to watch it. But it isn’t really about the storyline, it’s more about the special effects and fighting.

-Ava G.

The Fog Diver by Joel Ross

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The Fog Diver, written by Joel Ross, is a great book full of suspense and twists. It has a wonderful plot and intriguing characters.

What if the whole earth was engulfed in deadly fog? What if a great treasure was said to be hidden beneath the clouds? And what if you were the only one who could survive in that fog?  The main character, Chess, finds himself in such a dilemma. An orphan with special power, he is part of a ragtag scrapper crew. They hunt for items from old Earth to sell on the mountaintops while avoiding sky pirates and monsters.

Meanwhile, a tyrant named Kodoc hunts for Chess so he can use him to find the Compass, an ancient artifact said to  control the Fog. The team thinks that Port Oro, a legendary mountaintop, will be a safe haven for them, and attempt a journey. Along the way, they team up with pirates and gang kids. This book is full of friendship and action. I would strongly recommend it to anyone looking for a summer read.

-Joshua M, 6th grade

The Fog Diver by Joel Ross is available for checkout from the Mission Viejo Library