Inferno by Dan Brown

You have probably read or watched the Da Vinci Code by the famous author Dan Brown, who created an extraordinary character mirroring himself. But, here comes the greatest escapist read ever! If you are chomping at the bit for some crossover action reads with amazing intellectual cliffhangers, definitely check out his Inferno!

Featuring the well-known Harvard professor Robert Langdon, an incredibly intelligent and adventurous expert in the study of symbols, Inferno sets its scenes in Florence, the city of renaissance and mystery. Lying in the local hospital, the professor was half-conscious with no recollection of the past events. A series of accidents lead him to a resourceful doctor of the hospital — maybe a little too resourceful. Sienna Brooks is the new “Sophie Neveu”, only that she is a more intelligent female with a great many secrets. Together, the two goes on a treacherous journey in order uncover the hidden messages revealed in arts, details, and hints from Dante Alighieri’s Divine Comedy. Through the adventure, the team meets various characters that makes them doubt the true purpose and direction of this mission, including the meddling of the Consortium, the World Health Organization, as well as a female assassin’s relentless pursuit. But in the end, we find out that everything is but a pre-planned “coincidence.” Protagonists become antagonists, and the antagonists are not what we think who they are…

Nobody is more skilled in plot twist and global conspiracies than Dan Brown. I am mesmerized by his usage of symbols, analogies, and innuendos. He is able to incorporate such a massive amount of historical knowledge into a science-related thriller that reflects his distinct view of current crises and schemes 

“Nothing is more creative…nor destructive…than a brilliant mind with purpose.”

-Kate L.

Inferno by Dan Brown is available for checkout form the Mission Viejo Library

Expelled by James Patterson and Emily Raymond

Image result for expelled by james pattersonFor anyone, whether or not you are a James Patterson fan, Expelled is not a disappointment. When four students are expelled over a posted picture, they must team up, whether they like it or not. They have to make decisions on who they can trust, in a world of guilty and innocents. But who are the true guilty and innocent people? You can’t make your decisions  on looks and past events. Theo Foster  was expelled for a posted photo on his Twitter account. He wants to find out who framed him, but where can he start, the people in the photo? His friends? Every single person in the school?

Theo goes on throughout the book, trying to figure who framed him. After all, he is expelled, and now he has a large amount of time on his hands. People in public give him nasty looks. A 7-Eleven refuses to hire him. But that doesn’t stop him. With a  group of four expelled kids, a video camera, and a small strip of property, nothing can go wrong, right?

I would recommend this book to anyone that’s looking for a new mystery or James Patterson book. There’s beautifully written plot twists, and the real guilty person didn’t turn out to be who I expected. I personally don’t read many mysteries, so this wasn’t the best Patterson book I have read, but I still like it, and it wasn’t the worst either. This book has some mature themes and it for high school readers.

-Rebecca V, 9th grade

Expelled by James Patterson and Emily Raymond is available for checkout from the Mission Viejo Library

The Third Twin by C.J. Omololu

Ever done something wrong, but then just totally put the blame on your sibling, or maybe an imaginary one? Of COURSE not, right? Just put that one out of your mind…

But what if that imaginary sibling became real?

Answer: Some really, really bad stuff would happen.

In C.J. Omololu’s thriller and mystery combined in one, The Third Twin is sure to leave you flipping the pages like there’s no tomorrow. If you’ve ever read Pretty Little Liars, or maybe you’re a fan of the TV series, this book is pretty similar, but with more of a haunting twist. Even the cover looks cool!

But anyways, everything started out as a joke. The main characters, identical twins named Lexi (Alexa) and Ava (they’re seriously identical, because you really can’t tell the difference between them at all), make up a third twin, Alicia, just for fun. Who forgot to take out the trash? Who totally smashed that new iPhone? Alicia! Duh. Lexi and Ava decided that that was a total no-brainer.

As they grew up, they used Alicia as a cover-up for doing things that they wouldn’t normally do in real life. Nobody needed to know about this secret Alicia. She only existed when they wanted her too.

Until Alicia becomes real. Now Ava and Lexi are up to their necks in hot water, and it may not seem like they can get away without some pretty hard consequences. Because a boy is found murdered, and all traces point directly at Alicia.

The girl who never existed.

Either Lexi’s sister, Ava, is the one responsible for this tragic accident…

Or perhaps Alicia is real.

-Katharine L.

The Third Twin by C. J. Omololu is available for checkout from the Mission Viejo Library

Expensive People by Joyce Carol Oates

Image result for expensive peopleRichard is a 10-year-old kid with a 40-year-old brain. It’s was very astonishing to see how mature he was. His mom looks like a 3-year-old kid to him all the time. And yet, his mom Nada goes away.

But Richard never felt really down until his family moved into a suburban area and he was sent to private school with many other rich but neglected boys to support his dad’s business. His mom Nada is a very pretty woman with a Russian accent and was a writer, though she never let Richard call her “mom” nor allowing him to take a glance at his story.

Life must be really hard for Richard because both of his parents don’t really love him like normal parents are. It was such a shock to me when his dad ended up marrying the neighbor after his mom went away. Richard’s life was tragic, and this book embellished a veil of society on the tragedy.

-April L.

Expensive People by Joyce Carol Oates 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.

Film Review: Gattaca

What if people had the ability of selecting the genes that their child would inherit? Of choosing only the best for their child, the genes that would produce the highest IQ or the longest lifespan? How would you feel if you, someone whose genes are random, were surrounded by people who are…”perfect”?

Vincent’s family didn’t program or alter his genes in any way. After testing his blood when he was first born, they knew that he would die early and had a very high risk of heart disease. Nevertheless, he pursued a career of studying space and the planets, despite his parent’s protests. He realized though, that he’d never be able to get a job with his own DNA. This is why he pretended to be Jerome: the perfect man, by “purchasing” Jerome’s DNA to use as his own.

Jerome’s parents did select his genes. He was “created” so that he’d have an exceptionally long lifespan, and so that he’d be very intelligent. But just because you choose the perfect genes for your child, it doesn’t mean they will be successful in life- it just means they have a better chance at success. In the movie, he said he’d walked in front of a car while he was sober. He must have done that purposefully- he was probably fed up with everyone and how they expected so much of him and chose, with a clear mind, to become crippled.

In the society of this movie, your success is based on your genetics- your DNA. If you don’t have what is considered the “ideal” DNA, you won’t even be considered as someone who is capable of working. On the other hand, if you possess what is considered “perfect” DNA, you wouldn’t even have to interview for a job, they’d hire you on the spot.

In my opinion, I think that this is very unjust. People should be viewed and assessed based on their talent and drive, not their DNA. DNA isn’t really something you can change- it’s what you’re born with. But people’s motivation and drive are things that they themselves control.

I’m also very skeptical on the idea of parents choosing their children’s genes. I think that however the child turns out, that’s how they were meant to be. Part of what makes us human is our mistakes, and by choosing only the most appealing genes for your child, the chance that they’ll make any mistakes will become nearly obsolete. Additionally, I think that if more and more people were to start hand-picking the genes that their children receive, people would become more and more similar. If people were to choose the genes for their children, they’d all probably choose the best possible ones, and if everyone did that, all children would be near perfect. There would be no more variety, and I think that our individuality is definitely something we should try to preserve.

Despite my uncertainty relating to some of the ethics that this movie brings up, I think that it’s very fascinating and thought-provoking, and definitely worth watching.

-Elina T.

Gattaca is available for checkout from the Mission Viejo Library