A journey into the pages

HHS community members share their book recommendations

By Joss Broward

Daphne Garcia – Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor E. Frankl

Junior Daphne Garcia says they enjoyed Man’s Search for Meaning because it provided insight on finding one’s purpose in order to solve common life struggles.


Man’s Search for Meaning is an autobiography about the imprisonment of the author, Viktor E. Frankl, in Nazi concentration camps during WWII, junior Daphne Garcia said.


“The book is about this psychologist who was inside a concentration camp,” Garcia said. “In the book, he recounts his time there and he gives a ton of insightful details. It’s super interesting as just the story itself, but the second part – this philosophy for psychoanalysis [a set of theories relating to the unconscious mind as a method to dealing with mental disorders] – is very insightful and applicable to everyone’s life.”


Garcia said another great part about the book is that, although the subject matter is heavy, it is written in an understandable manner anyone can appreciate.


Garcia said they learned more about psychoanalytical tropes from the book which they had previously seen in movies and found it to be both informative and moving. 


“The main philosophy of the book is that people need purpose in life,” Garcia said. “I think it’s just very inspiring and gave me motivation [in my life].”


Mary Zimmer – The Six Crimson Cranes by Elizabeth Lim 


The Six Crimson Cranes is a fiction book, written by Elizabeth Lim, about a 16-year-old who grew up in a kingdom as the daughter of an emperor. She has six older siblings and a mother who has died. 


“A witch casts a spell on her so that every word she speaks, one brother will die, and her brothers get turned into cranes,” senior Mary Zimmer said. “It’s about her finding her way back home. There’s romance in it and the second book is coming out soon. There’s a love interest who I love with my whole heart, but he didn’t have enough time in the first book.”


Zimmer said she felt as though a sizable amount of the enjoyment she received from the novel stemmed from its structure, containing shorter chapters and consistent pacing.


“Sometimes really long chapters are off-putting, but this book had good, medium-sized chapters,” Zimmer said. “I just read it in five and a half hours.”


Moreover, Zimmer said she unexpectedly learned a few lessons from the novel, including that nothing in life is as it seems to be.


“I learned that you have to trust your instincts and your heart when making decisions that involve other people, and not just yourself,” Zimmer said.


Shawnee Rivera – Mean by Myriam Gurba


Mean is an autobiographical story about a young woman, Myriam Gurba, her life and the struggles she encounters, English and AVID teacher Shawnee Rivera said.


“It’s just so relatable. I love it,” Rivera said. “She talks about things that I have been through in a very real way that makes me feel like, “Oh okay, somebody else has gone through these things and feels similarly about them.”


One of the ways Gurba is able to be honest and connect with her readers is through the way she tells her story, Rivera said.


“I love her voice,” Rivera said. “I love how accessible she and the story is. The book is almost conversational. It’s almost like she is just telling you her story.”


The novel was very validating to people who have had similar experiences pertaining to their identity, the English teacher said. 


“Myriam is half Mexican and half Polish, so she is from two different cultures like I am,” Rivera said. “She’s bisexual, like me, and she’s a teacher in California. So there is just a lot of connection.”


Rivera said the book inspired her to do what the author did for her – help others connect to a story that is not often told. 


Beforehand, Rivera held the misconception that her life experience was too unrelatable. However, Mean showed her she too could help others with similar backgrounds feel validated.


“I read Mean at a time when I started to ramp up this idea of writing my own memoir,” Rivera said. “As I was reading, I was like, ‘I could totally do this, I could write a story that’s accessible and will help people connect.’ I read her story and it speaks to me on so many levels I didn’t think was possible.”