A Trip Around Lake Erie

Summer has just begun and now that Covid is clearing up many people are taking their long-due vacations. For vacation this summer, my family and I decided to go for a trip around Lake Erie which is one of the 5 great lakes in the northeastern part of the United States. During our time there we drove through 4 different states and a different country.

We decided to start by taking a four hour flight over to Cleveland, Ohio and from there we took a short drive to Cedar Point. Cedar Point is an amusement park in Ohio that my dad has been wanting to go to for years. We spent a couple days there, then went on a ferry to a little island called Put-in-Bay. Put-in-Bay is a village on South Bass Island in the middle of Lake Erie about a mile from Sandusky, Ohio. We spent a day there driving around in a golf cart and exploring the island. While the island is very small, it houses a US National Park called Perry’s Victory and International Peace Memorial which is a memorial to those who fought in the Battle of Lake Erie in the War of 1812.  After we got back to the mainland, we went to another amusement park called Kings Island in Mason, Ohio, and we spent another 2 days there.

After fully exploring these fun places in Ohio, we packed up and took about an 8 hour car ride towards Toronto, Canada. At the US/Canadian border we were stopped by border agents who asked us many questions about where we had come from and where we were going. They also made sure we had properly completed the ArriveCan app information which is an app required to enter Canada now due to COVID. We stayed in a small suburb of Toronto called Vaughan where Canada’ Wonderland is located.

All 3 of these amusement parks are owned by the same company that owns Knott’s Berry Farm here in Orange County. While the idea is the same, ride rides and eat lots of food, the environments and the experiences at each park were quite different. I enjoyed them all in different ways. When we were done with our amusement park thrills we headed over to Niagara Falls where we went on the Maid of the Mist which is a boat that takes you right up to the bottom of the falls. While they do provide you with ponchos our entire family still ended up getting soaked.  After Niagara Falls, we drove all the way back to the Cleveland airport through Pennsylvania and back to Ohio, then flew all the way back to California. It was a great adventure with a lot of new experiences including the theme parks and multiple thunderstorms unlike anything we have in California. While I enjoyed it greatly, it’s nice to be home.

Book vs. Film: The Summer I Turned Pretty

The very talented author Jenny Han’s book, The Summer I Turned Pretty, was recently made into a series that has everyone falling in love with the characters. Han’s book series includes the books, The Summer I Turned Pretty, It’s Not Summer With You, and We’ll Always Have Summer. So far, the series on Amazon, The Summer I Turned Pretty, has one season that covers the first book in the series. The show is confirmed for a season 2 already, and fans are hoping for a 3rd as well. For those that haven’t read or watched it, essentially, the series features a girl, Belly, who visits her mom’s best friend’s summer house at “Cousins Beach” every summer with her older brother, who is best friends with the other two boys, Conrad and Jeremiah, that own the house. All the previous summers, the boys have viewed her as a child, but all of a sudden they finally see her as an actual girl. I won’t spoil it, but the romance that goes between the characters is really interesting to watch, as are the character developments they all make. One of my favorite parts about this show is the soundtrack which features Taylor Swift, Phoebe Bridgers, Jack Harlow, and more.. I would definitely recommend reading the books first, but it is so cool to see what you pictured and imagined come to life and the actors did a great job portraying their roles. If you haven’t read or watched it, this is just a warning that the next paragraph does have spoilers. 

There are plenty of differences between the books and the show, however I don’t think it takes away from reading/watching either. It’s different in a good way and exciting to see how things play out in both. The first general difference I noticed is that in the book, the storyline focuses mainly on the two families, however on the show we are introduced to many more characters in a lot of events like the Debutante Ball, and those characters do affect the chemistry aspect between people a lot. It seems like in the show, they’re building more of a sense of community rather than isolating one group of people. I really like this because it mixes things up. Adding onto that sense of focusing on more people, the two moms are also given more of a storyline and have their own drama going on, unlike in the books where they weren’t highlighted as much. This same thing is seen with Belly’s older brother, Steven. In the books, he left the beach house in the middle of summer, but on the show he is a lot more involved. Speaking of Steven, Belly’s best friend ends up having a crush on Steven, instead of Jeremiah like it was in the books. This adds tension between Taylor and Belly and personally I like Taylor in the show better than in the books.

In the books, Belly had her first kiss with Jeremiah and he kissed her with the intentions of making Taylor jealous (because she liked him in the books), but since the show version of Taylor had a different love interest, Belly has her first kiss with an old friend, Cam. Their relationship doesn’t last too long as Belly ended things with Cam. In the books, it’s the other way around, but either way Cam knew where Belly’s heart truly was. Cam being there is a great asset to the plot because it allows the viewers to be empathetic as he was such a sweet boy. These are all somewhat minor differences, but some of the bigger ones include the fact that Belly actually had more chemistry with Jeremiah than she did in the book, creating so much more tension between the two brothers. Belly also doesn’t get a visit in the winter from Conrad, the scene is completely different. In my opinion, the biggest difference was the kids’ knowledge about Susannah’s (Conrad and Jeremiah’s mom) cancer. In the books, the kids all know about Susannah’s cancer. However, in the show, Conrad is the only one who knew about his mom’s disease. This is a huge explanation into why he acted the way he did. In the final episode, Jeremiah found out about the cancer which led to everyone knowing. This made everything serious and real, because Susannah didn’t want to go through chemo this time. Overall, the show and books were amazing and I truly think that since the author was involved with making the show, it had a great impact on the overall quality and vision of the show. I would highly recommend this series to anyone who likes rom-coms and tension. 

  • Kaitlyn Y.

The Summer I Turned Pretty by Jenny Han is available to checkout from the Mission Viejo Library. It is also available to download for free from Libby.

The Summer of Broken Rules by K.L. Walther

Eighteen months ago, when Meredith Fox lost her older sister Claire, she locked everyone out and retreated within. This summer, on her family’s annual vacation to Martha’s Vineyard, she makes it her goal to reconnect with her old friends, find herself, and finally rejoin her world.

Meredith believes that winning her family’s yearly game of Assassin, this year at her cousin’s big summer wedding, is her perfect opportunity to honor Claire and move on from her depressive state. But everything changes for Meredith when she crosses paths with a charming groomsman, and a secret alliance is formed.

Meredith’s summer is flipped around when her heart—and her chances of winning the game—are suddenly put on the line. Weddings are perfect for flings, her friends tell her. But what if Meredith wants it to be more?

The Summer of Broken Rules by K.L. Walther was one of the most amazing romance novels I’ve ever read. It was so beautifully written, and each intricately crafted scene made me clutch at my heart and sigh with relief, gasp with shock, or jump for joy. This book made me feel a rollercoaster of emotions, and it was like the sparks had been sprinkled into the pages themselves.

I also loved this book (and came to read it) because it was inspired by the songs of Taylor Swift. I’m a huge Swiftie, so I couldn’t resist reading it, and every Taylor Swift reference was so perfectly placed, so I just loved it. The book itself was based on one Taylor Swift song in particular, which I will not give away, because the plot will be spoiled! Definitely give The Summer of Broken Rules a try if you’re a fan of romance novels, Taylor Swift; or, like me, a lover of both! Happy reading!

-Lam T.

List of Video Games to try!

NBA2K21: With the NBA Playoffs in action, if you are a basketball fan, you might want to get on NBA2K21 and play with the real matchups a little bit. With the different game modes from MyCareer where you build a player or the Play Now game mode where you can play with all of the current NBA teams. This is my favorite video game and I suggest you try it. 

Madden NFL 2021: If you enjoy watching or playing football, I suggest you play this game because it is based off of the NFL. You can buy the latest version of the game which is Madden NFL 2021 at the moment, but you can also play the older versions like Madden NFL 2020 or Madden NFL 2019. If you want the current NFL rosters, you might want to play the newest edition, but if you are just looking for the Madden experience, I recommend Madden NFL 19 or Madden NFL 20. You can purchase them at a more reasonable price. 

Minecraft: Building, creativity, and survival are all different elements in this game. You can use your creativity to build different structures and homes, but you need to make sure to survive. I love to play Minecraft, especially with my sister. Playing solo is fun, but playing with friends is awesome! You can play in Survival mode, where you have to collect materials and craft tools, or you can also play in Creative mode, where the game is mainly based off of building. You have unlimited supplies, and can do anything you want without worrying about dying in the game. 

Tennis World Tour 2: If you are a fan of tennis or play the sport yourself, you might want to try this game. With Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal headlining the players you can use in this game, there are many great options for you if you are interested in using your favorite tennis players. I recommend playing this game against your friends or family, but you can also play against the computer. Also, it is a fun way of learning the rules of the sport. 

Rocket League: This is definitely one of my favorite video games. You can customize your dream car and use it during matches. My sister and I also enjoy bringing home the championship trophy after a long season filled with competitive matches against the computer. It doesn’t end there though, because you can play online against others or you can play exhibition matches in your favorite Rocket League stadiums. 

The Golf Club 2019: If you have been looking for an incredible golf game, look no further than The Golf Club 2019. In this game, you can customize your character and you can choose if you want to start a career in golf. You can also just play a competitive exhibition match against your friends.  

These games are very enjoyable and fun to play. It might take some time  to learn the controls at first, but later, I am sure you will enjoy these games as much as I have. 

-Mert A.

The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants by Ann Brashares

On a day which did not seem particularly special at first, something extraordinarily special happened to occur—but none knew it until later on. In a thrift shop on the outskirts of town, Carmen Lowell stumbled upon a seemingly ordinary pair of pants and decided to buy them. When she got home, she tossed them in her closet and forgot about them.

Later on, Carmen and her best friends, Lena, Tibby, and Bridget, get together before spending their first summer apart. They discover the forgotten pants and each takes a turn in trying them on. Though the girls have very different body shapes, the pants fit them all in quite a magical way.

The pants are christened the Traveling Pants, and the girls decide that they will share the Pants throughout the summer to stay in touch. The Pants pass from Lena, in Santorini, Greece; to Tibby, stuck at home; to Carmen, in South Carolina with her divorced father; to Bridget, at a soccer camp in Baja California.

Throughout the four girls’ exciting adventures and incredible experiences, the Pants crisscross the globe, witnessing it all. This is the story of four girls and their first summer apart as a pair of magical pants comes into their lives.

The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants by Ann Brashares is an unpredictable novel which takes readers into the lives of four girls and their issues and triumphs. This book was one I absolutely loved—I couldn’t even put the book down until I’d finished, and afterward, I thought about it for a long time. Venturing into the stories of the relatable characters, readers will follow them through their ups and downs with excitement and anticipation. I promise you, after reading about the Sisterhood, you will never forget about Lena, Tibby, Bridget, and Carmen and what they represent.

“Bridget called for a moment of silence. ‘To honor the Pants,’ she said.

‘And the Sisterhood,’ Lena added.

Carmen felt tiny bumps rising along her arms. ‘ And this moment. And this summer. And the rest of our lives.’

‘Together and apart,’ Tibby finished.”

-Ann Brashares, The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants

-Lam T.

The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants by Ann Brashares is available for checkout from the Mission Viejo Library. It can also be downloaded for free from Overdrive.

Summer is here, now what?

Everyone is still adjusting from the pandemic controlled world to a slightly less restricted lifestyle. Now that summer is here, every teens has more freedom, but many are questioning how they used to live their old pre-covid lives. In this post I will give some suggestions of fun activities to do with your friends, family, or even yourself.

I would first like to start off this list with going on hikes. Hikes are an activity that is enjoyable both by yourself and with company. Find a fun trail that fits how difficult you would like to experience. If you are by yourself, pop in an earbud and play your uplifting songs while staying active. For those in the Mission Viejo area, some trails are the Oso Creek Trail, Alicia Trail, and the Nellie Gail Trails. Going on hikes can take up your time while keeping you active. The only thing to be cautious of is the weather, make sure to check the weather for the day you plan to make sure you do not accidentally hike on an extremely hot day, which I am guilty of, not fun. 

If you are planning a hangout with friends and have no idea what to do, like many of us, I would recommend having a picnic at a park. Choose any centrally located park or beautiful one near the beach. Each person can bring their own food to fit what they like while still enjoying the company of others with them. Make sure to bring a blanket and maybe a speaker to play some fun music. Besides eating, I love to bring other activities to do at a picnic. Some fun ideas are to bring cards or a board game. Or bringing canvases and paint to have a painting/art contest with your friends. 

Here is an example of a fun picnic setup you have have with friends!

Another idea I would recommend is to take a day trip. Whether you choose Los Angeles, San Diego, or any other location that is outside of your daily circle of travel, a day trip can be super fun. The night before, plan your stops. This way you have a roadmap of approximately which areas you will be in. Especially for L.A, it is a huge area so planning which part of it you will be in is a great idea. On day trips to areas in the city, I find it very fun to find trendy food places I see online and actually get to try it. Some ideas are getting mochi donuts, korean hot dogs, or bubble waffles that have been circulating across the internet but are mainly located in areas like Los Angeles. Also if going on a day trip, find cool activities you can only do in that area. For example, if going to LA find a swap meet like the Melrose Trading Place. Or go to famous spots like the Santa Monica pier, which is far enough away from home that it seems more exciting. 

Summer is the time where people can finally enjoy themselves after months of stress. Find an activity you personally enjoy. Your goal is to make yourselves miss summer as much as possible!

-Lilly G.