The Student News Site of Middle College High School @ Santa Ana College

The Spellbinder

The Student News Site of Middle College High School @ Santa Ana College

The Spellbinder

The Student News Site of Middle College High School @ Santa Ana College

The Spellbinder

Book recommendations: What are MCHS students and staff reading?

Vanessa Natera (made with Canva)
Students and staff share their favorite books with you!

Fantasy, horror, fiction, romance, dystopian, science fiction, and the list goes on. With many book genres to choose from, it is easy to have multiple favorite books ranging from all types of genres.

Picking up and reading books is an exciting hobby to have. Books can leave you heartbroken, make you feel suspenseful, or fill you with laughter. If you are searching for a book that may do one of these for you, this is the right place for you! Generous MCHS students and staff will share with you books that have caught their attention and hopefully can do the same for you. Before seeing the recommended books, check out the most popular genre.

A huge factor for some is seeing the genre of the book. The article, The Most Popular Book Genre in Every U.S. State said, “The analysis revealed that fantasy had the highest number of states searching for this book genre, with eleven states loving this genre, including Hawaii, Alaska, Massachusetts, Arizona, and North Carolina.”

People living in California however tend to search for horror books more, the third most popular genre that eight other states also search for. Now that that most popular genre has been shown amongst a larger population, let’s narrow it down to MCHS students.

Senior Ashley Andrade states her favorite types of books to read.

“I like fictional books. Maybe a bit of romance here and there. I kind of read everything really,” Andrade said.

Senior Bethany Alvarez shares what she looks for in a book.

“I kind of like psychology books in a sense where it’s like you sort of get to see how people live their daily lives but you look more into their minds. It’s pretty cool,” Alvarez said.

English and journalism teacher Tamara Storms is conflicted between two genres.

“It’s kind of a tie right now between historical fiction and what you would just call realistic fiction,” Storms said.

Senior Gabriel Cortes shares his favorite genres.

“My favorite genre would have to be between thriller and dystopian,” Cortes said.

Now that book genres were discussed, let’s dive into the book recommendations given by MCHS students and staff.

Beautiful Boy: A Father’s Journey Through His Son’s Addiction by David Sherriff

“The book is about a father and he talks about how his son struggles with a meth addiction and how he saw it through how his son grew up and how, basically, it could happen to anyone regardless of the family you come from,” Alvarez said.

This book is a memoir of the author and his experiences in having a teenage son who has a meth addiction. Throughout the book, it shows the recovery journey ranging from drug rehabilitation centers to relapsing over and over.

“I would definitely recommend this one. I would say it is pretty sad so, again, if you’re into lighthearted stuff, then probably not, but it is a really good book and I feel like it does carry a really good message. Also the way it’s written is really beautiful as well,” Alvarez said.

Crying in H Mart by Michelle Zauner

“Michelle is Korean-American and so she wrote about her relationship with her mom. She also happens to be the lead singer of an indie band called Japanese Breakfast which some students may have heard of,” Storms said.

This book is a memoir that deals with mother-daughter relationships and also finding appreciation within one’s culture.

“Part of the appeal of that book was not just about her relationship with her mom, but also the exploration of that relationship through food. So, her mom, you know, cooks for her and then her learning to cook those same foods and her getting in touch with her identity as Korean,” Storms said.

The author not only felt more connected to her culture, but also saw how learning to cook the same foods would make her mother proud, which was something she sought throughout her whole childhood. Other than her identity and the rebuilding of a connection with her mother, the memoir showed the author dealing with grief.

“Part of the book is about her grief journey, taking care of her mom, and seeing her mom through her illness,” Storms said.

This autobiography really touched Storms, and showed her the importance of having empathy with people, especially with her mother.

“Everybody is trying their best with what they have to work with and I think that’s what I learned about my own mom too. She was trying her best,” Storms said.

Lessons in Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus

“It’s about this lady, her name is Elizabeth Zott and she is a chemist. It’s set in the 1950s so there is a lot of stigma around whether or not women should be in the will of science and them being taken seriously in general. It’s basically on her struggles of being a woman in STEM and also dealing with her own personal problems just in life in general,” Andrade said.

This historical fiction deals with misogyny in the STEM field, and so Andrade recommends it to women or anyone who is interested in going into the STEM field to see the parallels, how society has progressed, but also the struggles that people still face today.

“It’s really good. It has some romance but it also has really sad parts,” Andrade said.

This novel also contains explicit content like descriptions of sexual assault, so don’t read this if it isn’t for you.

My Year of Rest and Relaxation by Ottessa Moshfegh

“One of my favorites is my year of rest and relaxation just because I also like the way the author wrote it. She’s very realistic in a sense. I don’t know but the writing is really good. It also kind of makes you hate the main character which I feel like is also the point of the story,” Alvarez said.

The award winning novel follows a young woman who seems to have it all, yet is unhappy with her life. As days pass by, she is progressively taking more and more medication in order to stay awake for as little time as possible.

“It is kind of dark in a way where it’s like you kind of see a girl [and] how she sort of takes grief but she doesn’t really heal from it, she just does a lot of weird stuff with it,” Alvarez said.

Before reading this book, it is important to note that it contains descriptions of substance abuse, eating disorders, suicide, and sexually abusive behavior.

“I would recommend it to others. I would just say that the book is kind of a heavy read so if you’re more into the lighter sides of things, I probably wouldn’t recommend it. But if you’re more into heavier stuff, then yeah, it’s pretty good,” Alvarez said.

Three Days of Happiness by Sugaru Miaki

“It’s about a person who has lost all reason to live. He sells all his stuff to make ends meet. The store clerks tell him that he could possibly make some quick money selling his life span in years. He sold everything but one month of his life. He was assigned a supervisor to make sure he tried not to escape his fate. They fall in love and he uses the rest of his money to buy her freedom. The woman in return sells her entire lifespan,” Cortes said.

This novel deals with romance in an unusual society, later leading both main characters to see value in their lives.

“I recommend it for those people who like thought provoking questions. The idea of selling one’s lifespan for money is so interesting. Like someone’s year would be worth more if they are destined to become important or make something of themselves,” Cortes said.

Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow by Gabrielle Zevin

Interested in gaming? This might be the book for you.

“It’s about this group of friends who design games and its totally not something that I would think I would be interested in because I am not a gamer, like at all, but it was really fascinating to just see how people design games for the purpose of not just entertainment, but for seeking meaning in life,” Storms said.

Storms, who was not interested in the gaming community before, was surprised by the book.

“It took me into a world that was completely unfamiliar to me and made it so that I wanted to be in it. That is, I think, the sign of a good author,” Storms said.

If these books sound interesting to you, open them up and enjoy!

“If you would really like to get into reading, I would have to say, coming as a psych major and someone who has been reading all my life, it really is like a stress reliever. It kind of takes you out of reality and into someone else’s world,” Alvarez said.

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About the Contributor
Vanessa Natera
Vanessa Natera, Staff Writer
I like doing arts and crafts, my favorite fruit is oranges, and I have two dogs named Luna and Pluto.