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

The Body Finder by Kimberly Derting

Have you ever thought of having a special ability to find bodies? Well, the first book in the series called The Body Finder by Kimberly Derting is an intense mystery thriller about a 16 year old named Violet Ambrose. Violet and her best friend Jay Heaton are both juniors in high school and she has fallen for him. Jay knows about Violet’s special ability to find bodies and “echoes” ever since they were little. When Violet was a little girl, she had the ability to find and sense dead animals near her and also figure out who killed them. When she senses someone who killed someone she calls them echos, which are sounds or visions that grab her attention.

During the summer, Violet and Jay went to a party at the lake and she discovered a human body for the first time. Later on, she found more missing girls and she tracks down the murder with the help of  Jay. Jay and Violet’s family are both worried about Violet meeting the man who has been killing the missing girls and it’s very shocking and suspenseful. But, you have to read the book to find out what happens next.

I think this book was a good read because it was entertaining to read with the suspense and thriller plot. It is an interesting book and I liked how the book involves solving a mystery with a character with special abilities and a bit romance included. Also, I liked how the chapters included the serial killers point of view. I recommend this book for teens who like mystery books and wants a good book that’s entertaining. The next book in this series is called Desires of the Dead and you can find out what happens next.

The Body Finder series by Kimberly Derting is available for checkout from the Mission Viejo Library

Film Review: Light’s Out

I saw Lights Out with some of my friends thinking it would be quite scary, and I mentally prepared myself for the worst. But, after the movie, I was quite surprised on how it was a joke to call Lights Out a ‘horror movie.’

Lights Out is based on David Sandberg’s original short story film from 2013. The story of the movie was quite like a thriller novel. Which leads me to say that I think Lights Out would have been even better, if there was a novel along with it! The film contained many moments where the characters just screams. If this where a novel, the author could show what the character was actually felt on the inside. I think that if there was a book to go along with the movie, that would be even better.

Now, to give my movie review. As I said before, I think it would be a joke to call Lights Out a horror movie, because to me, there wasn’t anything scary! After watching the movie, I happened to catch the trailer again on T.V. and realized a big fact: that all the scary scenes shown in the trailer are all that was in the movie! Another big point: to advertise their movie, if you notice the trailer close enough, the studio suggests that you shouldn’t sit with anyone who would judge you. This makes you think, “Wow! I need to go with my friends because it is so scary!” In my opinion, that is a very clever advertising scheme applied.

Overall, if the movie were a little scarier and a thrilling book to go along with it, that would have made the Lights Out experience a little more scarier to me.

-Satej B.

Tokyo Ghoul by Sui Ishida

Could you become the very object you hate, without knowing how it really feels to be this kind of person?

Kaneki Ken is a college aged book loving student, and ghouls, the ones who eat human flesh both for necessity and fun, are just stories put up by the media, and he and his friend try to guess what a ghoul really looks like, not really caring. After all, ghouls aren’t human.

That was before he fell for Rize, a ghoul who tries to eat him right before finding himself falling to a lethal accident. At the the hospital, Kaneki needs an organ replacement… and the doctors use Rize because she was near him at the scene. Thus Kaneki turns into a one-eyed ghoul. And because of this, he meets a variety of characters that he both loves and hates. Kaneki also realizes that he needs to eat human flesh because human food tastes disgusting. But at times, he wishes he died when Rize attacked him.

This manga, as readers find out in chapter one, is a tragedy. There is no happy ending–so far. The characters one roots for either die, get tortured, or both. On a happier note, there is a lot of unexpected humor throughout the peaceful times. Also, it is interesting on how the author shows the sides of both the ghouls and the human investigators who want to hunt them down. Finally, Tokyo Ghoul has an excellent plot with twists and turns that one won’t expect. Any reader who likes a good plot and cares for gruesome tragedies would like this manga.

-Megan V., 10th Grade