Book Review: Newtown, An American Tragedy by Matthew Lysiak

Greg O.   May 10, 2017

Newtown: An American Tragedy

By Matthew Lysiak

264 pages $25.99


In this haunting account of the Newtown massacre, journalist Matthew Lysiak encapsulates the devastating shooting at Sandy Hook elementary school.


He begins with the unconventional childhood of Adam Lanza, who had mental health issues early on in his life. His mother, Nancy Lanza, was experiencing marital troubles with her husband, however, she prevailed as the dominant caretaker of Adam. She was constantly concerned about her son, reportedly e-mailing friends and family about her son’s lack of social contact with the outside world.


Though it was true that Adam Lanza was a shut-in, he did not receive much therapy and only relied on the help of his perturbed mother.

“Nancy wasn’t having it and demanded an explanation. She had gone to school counselors, specialists, her family physician, and now an emergency room doctor, and no one could give her an answer- worse, no one seemed to be taking her concerns seriously.”  

Lysiak explains the background of Adam, explaining that Adam was socially alienated as a child, perhaps a result of his autism. In spite of his mother worrying about his demeanor, Lysiak does also find discrepancies in the upbringing of Adam. At the age of 4, Adam received his first gun as a gift from his mother, who would take him to shooting ranges for the purpose of “bonding.”


Newtown is really more of an informative conglomeration of events surrounding the mass murder. The chapters are divided into sections skipping back and forth from Adam Lanza to portrayals of the 20 children and 6 adults, who were all victims of Adam.

While there are some questionable writing choices Lysiak makes when describing the children and Adam’s mother, there are some captivating qualities shown through the event itself. He shows the compelling fear without putting himself in the story, and continues onward giving more philanthropy to an event that seems too unreal.


As a result of the harrowing tragedy, the books seems too limited in terms of passion. Each quote is guaranteed accuracy from the author, who sorts out the hundreds of details encompassing the incident chronologically.

To be fair, the shootings were broadcasted by a large number of journalists who had issues reporting false information about the case (an occurrence that Lysiak also writes about in the book), so for Lysiak to take the conventional approach to delineate the individuals in Newtown is rather understandable. There is something definitely missing in the book, and that is the expression of sympathy- an expression the reader will most likely have to pay.

What do cats do at 3 o'clock am?

Naomi Kellywood May 5, 2017

Well the answer is simple. It’s because they want too. It’s normal for cats, it’s nothing “special” but they are more active in the night time, in the early hours or early morning is time for hunting and playing, just basically doing what they do. Of course we think it isn’t normal for our “babies” to be running around the place at crazy hours in the night and early morning.  There isn’t much you can do; it is something normal for them. If you’re asking, “Can I do anything to make my cat not do it all the time?”

Well what not only do I suggest but many cat people do suggest is:


Play with your cat:

Take time off for you and your cat, play a game that requires lots of energy before bed for an hour that will make them get tired.


Feed your cat:

“Why feed my cat, isn’t going to give my cat more energy?”  Well actually a good meal will help your cat settle down for the night in which will help them fall asleep easily.


In reality there isn’t much you can do to have it go away forever, but you can make it not be a constant thing they do. Most of all make sure your cat feels loved and not unwanted, sometimes they want to play or they just want to have fun with the items in your house or with their best friend. Don’t stress about it a lot because “Cats will be cats”. 

Book Review: A World Without You by Beth Revis

Sunshine Benally    April 24, 2017


“I can think of no better way to meet a girl than to see her through the eyes of the story she loves best.”


Beth Revis’ novel A World Without You is a beautiful and devastating journey through the mind and everyday life of a student struggling with mental illness. Seventeen-year-old Bo has always had “delusions” of different times in history. He believes he can travel through time, and has claimed to have seen the Titanic hit an iceberg when he was younger.


Bo resides at Berkshire Academy, where he, and many other kids, learn to use and control their “superpowers”. Bo spends his time with Gwen, Sofia, Ryan, and Harold, the other kids in his unit. He falls in love with Sofia, but when he accidently leaves her in another time in the past, it becomes his mission to bring her back to the present. What he believes is far from the terrible truth that Sofia committed suicide, which many people try to get through to him.


Beth Revis gives the reader a new perspective on mental illness through Bo, and does it in such a captivating way that I felt connected to the characters and their thoughts in a way I’ve never felt before. Although I feel that it can be difficult for some readers to grasp onto the complex idea, this book gives a broader view of mental illness and simply pulls the reader into Bo’s shoes.



A story of love, heartbreak, and tragedy, A World Without You gives more than a visualization of illness, but also a new way of thinking that you usually do not get when reading a fiction story. 

Netflix Review: 13 Reasons Why

Avery B.   April 17, 2017

The new series on Netflix, “Thirteen Reasons Why”, is based on a novel written by Jay Asher back in 2007. It caught a lot of interest to young viewers and young adults. This book reflects on the idea of teenagers life-style without adults who can’t come to their help. Viewers have found this show a combination of thriller and excitement. But this show mature themes such as rape and suicide.


The novel is mostly about how a girl, Hannah Baker (played by Katherine Langford), decides to commit suicide and make tapes of the people who caused her to do this. The box of tapes are mailed out to every victim with a map of the locations where the event took place along with instructions that the box must be passed from one victim to another. The main character, Clay Jensen (played by Dylan Minnette), who has a crush on her, is trying to figure out why she decided to choose that path.


In the first episode of the Netflix series, the viewers start to learn that Hannah kills herself weeks earlier and Clay still can’t understand why she did that. Different than the book, the first chapter starts with Clay mailing the tapes to another person, just like what he was told in the note. Before Clay receives the tapes, Hannah’s ex Justin (played by Brandon Flynn) accuses Clay of being “not so innocent,” Clay receives a package in the mail from Hannah herself.


Inside the package are tapes that tell the story of Hannah’s life, or, more importantly, why she felt it had to end -- 13 sides for each person responsible for her suicide. Listen to everything and pass it on, Hannah warns, or else a “trusted individual” will make the tapes go public. And that, well, that would be bad for everyone.


After watching a couple of episodes, this show has viewers anxious on what’s going to happen next. Honestly, some articles are concerned for teenagers relating to these type of situations but they mentioned and recommend that it is worth watching. In my perspective, finished reading the book and watching a bit of the shows, it’s very interesting and also worth watching because it relates to every teenager.

TV Show Review: The Foster's

Kendra Kitts    April 12, 2017

The Foster’s is an American drama series that was created by Peter Paige and Bradley Bredeweg, It’s on ABC Family and is also on Netflix. There is 4 seasons and its about a foster family which is Lena Adams Foster (Sherri Saum), “Stef” Adams Foster, Mom (Teri Polo), Brandon Foster, Steff’s biological son (David Lambert), Jesus Adams Foster, adopted son (Jake T. Austion and Noah Centineo), Mariana Adam Foster, adopted daughter (Cierra Ramirez), Callie Adams Foster , foster daughter(Maia Mitchell), Jude Adams Foster, foster/adopted son (Hayden Byerly) and Mike Foster, Ex-husband (Danny Nucci).  The Lesbian couple Steff and Lena with foster children and Steff’s and Mike’s son. Steff works a s a cop with Mike and Lena works at the same school the kids go to in San Diego California. The genre is teen and family drama and each episode is about a hour long


            The show was original released on June 3, 2013. The Fosters received a Metacritic score of 70 out of 100 in its first seasons. Gail Pennington critic said “Intelligent enough for adults, accessible enough for younger viewers and entertaining enough for both.” It’s also earned two GLAAD media awards and one Teen Choice Award. In the first season received favorable reviews for its LGBT themes from critics. Their lives has been called in is a challenge (in the show). When Callie and Jude first arrive at Steff and Lena’s house they were not sure about adopting Callie and Jude but later on make their decision.


            Even in the beginning the show was very eventful and has lots of drama with Marianas lingering secret that Jesus is involved with that could get them kicked out of school. Brandon’s and Callie’s secret that could possibly change everything for Jude and Callie. Later Jude finds out about the secret and causes problems between Callie and Jude that they soon get over. While going to school Brandon’s girlfriend gets jealous and tells some personal information about Callie to Brandon. To know more about the show your just going to have to watch it.

A glimpse at the National Hockey League playoffs

Brittany Wilson  April 11, 2017

It's that time of the year for all the hockey fans in New Mexico to come out from under their rocks and cheer on their team in the NHL playoffs. For all of you who just don’t know, the playoffs is the fight for the Stanley Cup. The battle for the Cup is the Superbowl for hockey, therefore, making it the most exciting time of the year for hockey fans.

The Stanley Cup playoffs begin by them choosing the top three teams in each division which are Central, Atlantic, Metropolitan, and Pacific. They choose 12 teams and afterwards they choose another four teams from the wildcard section. In total, the playoffs should have 16 teams competing, the teams are then matched up and play a total of seven games to determine the winner of that match, then they move onto the next round.

Last year the last final match up for the Stanley Cup 2016 was the Pittsburgh Penguins against the San Jose Sharks, with the win the Pittsburgh Penguins became the champions of the Stanley Cup 2016.

Hockey is the sport that would most definitely put other sports to shame. Mr. Wojo tells me that hockey is a “unique type of sport that uses a lot of predetermined muscle memory.” In the game of hockey the players are the ones who get to control the game. They can speed it up, slow it down, and make it even more interesting with fights. In this game the referees leave all the decisions to the players. The players could be considered as warriors, they have to stand on two steel blades and still make their way around the ice at a fast speed chasing a small puck with a stick in their hand. Their physical toughness tops off any athlete, hockey players can get hit in the face with a puck and still play.  They can break bones on the ice, but still continue to play with no problem. You could say, nothing will stop them to finish the game, especially Rich Peverley, who practically died on the ice and after being revived he asked to be put back onto the ice.

The second best thing about hockey is being a hockey fan. The fans are known to be the loudest and passionate fans out there. With every score into the net you can hear the cheers and screams from young kids to the elderly. You can see all the fans give their dedication by painting their face or even their whole body. 

Although around this area it’s not surprising to not find fans since hockey isn’t popular and the fact that all we have is dirt, wind, football, and basketball. As I like to say “finding hockey fans in New Mexico is like playing the game of Finding Waldo.” When I do actually find fans in New Mexico they’re usually ones that are influenced by their family or the ones who move in from another place that has hockey. For example, I was influenced by my grandparents, we would watch it as a way of “bonding.” At first I didn’t really like the idea of not understanding it but as I watched it more and more I fell in love with it.

Thanks to this article I was able to find people here at the school who shared the same passion and love for hockey as I do.  I found fans of the Detroit Red Wings, Colorado Avalanches, Pittsburgh Penguins, Chicago Blackhawks, and the New York Rangers. I asked some fans how it’s like to be a fan in New Mexico, Mr. Pinky, who’s a fan of the Avalanches tells me that “It’s really awkward because you can only talk to a small amount of people who just get what you’re saying and it becomes even more awkward when you can’t find someone who likes the same team as you.” Another fan, Mr. Natonabah, also tells me that it can be “depressing at times” which is a true fact that we all can agree on.

Next time when people question ask me why hockey? I’ll be honest and reply “Why not? Hockey guys are hotter, the fans are more exciting and passionate, it’s more challenging, and IT DOESN’T STOP EVERY 10 SECONDS FOR A PLAY.” Truth *mic drop*

Music Review: DJ Beeso, "Shandiin"

Chuntay Hatten,   March 28, 2017

DJ Beeso is an electronic producer and DJ from Shiprock. He’s been signed to several labels, such as Seattle’s Hush Hush Records and Washington D.C.’s Car Crash Set. On Valentine’s Day, he released his most recent EP, Shandiin. His music style seems to come from Acid, Acid Bass, and IDM (Intelligent Dance Music). The EP consists of eight tracks, some only a little over two minutes no longer than four. His opening track, "Lovely", acts a poly-rhythmic overture and sets the mood and style for the entire EP. The music resembles a lot of vaperwave as well, which is both an art form and music genre. In most tracks, they feature soft synths, and generic sounds that seem to come from vaperwave music.


DJ Beeso’s early music also mainly pertains to IDM and vaperwave, more so IDM. Intelligent Dance Music implements abstractions and experimentation. It’s break beat style in prominent in DJ Beeso’s music. His track "[=.=]" includes samples of cat meows etched into another poly-rhythmic drive. His music overall is good if you enjoy artists such as Aphex Twin, Attlas, or Flume in his early days. DJ Beeso’s technique mostly consists of repeated hooks and melodic phrases, which work in the style he showcases. Beeso’s EP also features the tracks – "Rise Up//Make Waves", "Fresh/Swag", "Vibezzz", "(n.n)", "Daylight", and "h=(_0^^~)". Overall, I enjoyed Beeso’s texture through the sounds he used and the percussion’s poly-rhythmic engine featured in every piece. It was a subtle listening experience from some of the tracks catchy bass riffs or flanger heavy leads empowered by concise hooks.

Movie Review: Logan

Brittany Wilson   March 20, 2017

Logan is a science-fiction/drama film directed by James Mangold that was released on March 3rd, 2017. Of course most of you know that this movie is a part of the X-Men Origins: Wolverine films and that it will be the last one for Hugh Jackman to portray as Wolverine.


The main characters are Logan (Hugh Jackman), Professor X (Patrick Stewart), Laura (Dafne Keen), and Pierce (Boyd Holbrook).  The movie starts off with Logan in struggling in an alcoholic state where he is taking care of Professor X to his last days near the Mexican border. Thinking he was about to live up his time by doing this, a young mutant enters his life unexpectedly sending him on a violent adventure for freedom.


This past weekend I got the chance to watch Logan in the comfort of Regal Cinemas in Albuquerque with my brother and his wife. From basically, growing up with the Wolverine films I would like to say that this movie was a great way to send off Hugh Jackman as Wolverine. Although the movie is rated R for the vulgar language and bloody violence, the movie put me in a roller coaster of emotions. At the end I had to recover with some comfort food.  Marvel fan or not this movie is a must-see!

Beauty & the Beast Movie Review

Brittany Wilson  March 17, 2017

Beauty and the Beast is a musical romantic fantasy film directed by Bill Condon released on March 17th, 2017. The live film is based on the Disney’s animated version by Jeanne-Marie Leprince de Beaumont.

The main characters are Belle (Emma Watson), The Beast (Dan Stevens), Gaston (Luke Evans), and Lefou (Josh Grad). The movie starts with Belle being taken as a prisoner by the Beast and is forced to live in his castle. Despite from being taken as a prisoner, Belle befriends the castle’s enchanted staff that helps her look past the Beast’s hideous looks and anger issues, showing her the caring heart and selfless soul of a handsome prince who was cursed.

What caught my eye was the costume designs, it wasn't just like any other fairy tale movie. They really brought the poof into the dresses and the colors mostly used for the outfits were different shades of blue and yellow. In the beginning they used makeup as a masquerade masks hiding the characters faces. Of course the highlight of the film is how they bring the Beast to life. Now it wasn't only the Beast but also the servants of the castle. What I really liked is how they made every detail realistic and showing the personality of each character through the type of furniture they were. As in all Disney movies of course this one is a musical. The music was slightly different but either way it was still great music to sing along to.

I was lucky enough to catch the last showing of this movie the day it was released. While watching this movie it brought out my inner “little girl who wanted to be a princess” out screaming. I must admit even though i knew how the plot was going to go i still managed to tear up. The movie is great for both adults and kids. My favorite parts of the movie is obviously all the singing. I do recommend this movie to all those Disney lovers out there.

Book Review: Milk and Honey by Rupi Kaur

S.R. Lewis   March 9, 2017

This is a poetic book of survival, it doesn’t seem like it but it actually is. This novel consists of four chapters each about hurting, loving, breaking, and healing. Kaur leads her readers through a journey of her own experiences and offers help through these experiences in short entries and small poems. Each poem and entry is complemented with simple, yet intricate illustrations.


 “The Hurting” is hard to read, especially if you have experienced the same abuse that Kaur describes in this chapter. However, there is understanding and sympathy that readers begin to realize with these words. It’s a new perspective.


 “The Loving” is a gentle pick up from the traumatic experiences in the first chapter. These words provide the all too familiar bubbly emotions within you and occasionally ignite a smirk as you interpret Kaur’s writing. The words are guaranteed to remind you of that one person or perhaps of your significant other, it’s almost as if an immediate “awwwwwww” is spoken after each page.


 “The Breaking” is another difficult one to read, it hurts to read the truth about breaking but it’s good to know the truth and to learn from it as the author would like you to.


 “The Healing” can only be described as a revival from the emotions that have built up from the previous chapters. This final chapter provides reassurance and leaves readers with knowledge and advice that promotes a healthy relationship with yourself. I personally loved this, it took less than an hour to read and appreciate because Kaur pours her heart and soul into this novel, she states it herself, “this is my heart in your hands”.


Here is a small piece of the novel itself in the “The Loving” chapter:

what am i to you he asks

i put my hands in his lap

and whisper you

are every hope

i’ve ever had

in human form

Movie Review: Split

Shania S.   Mar. 5, 2017

The movie “Split” is an American psychological, thriller-horror film written and directed by M. Night Shyamalan. The film stars James McAvoy (Kevin), Betty Buckley (Dr. Fletcher), Hailey L. Richardson (Claire), Jessica Sula (Marcia), and Anya Taylor-Joy (Casey).


Kevin, has dissociative identity disorder (DID) giving him 23 different personalities. Who kidnapped three teenage girls and held them hostage as prisoners by Kevin and creates these three girls worst nightmare. In the movie, Kevin shows multiple personalities but not necessarily all 23, he has Patricia, Denis, Barry, Hedwig, etc. Patricia being a women he becomes, Denis a guy that has severe OCD, Barry suppose Kevin fashion designer/stylist, and Hedwig being a 9 year old boy.


In my opinion, at first I didn’t want to watch it at all, but I was convinced so I watched it. Walking out of the theater I was satisfied with the movie I liked it a lot actually. It was definitely tense and horrific, but it also had a sense of humor. The ending was outrageous! It was such a twist, I loved it, the moral of this story and the purpose of it was so engaging to me. I do plan to watch it again. The actors did a  phenomenal job, especially James McCoy. He played his role so good, I hope he’s considered an Oscar for this movie. Overall, I loved the movie, it’s definitely my favorite. I recommend everyone to go and watch it if you want your mind to be blown.

Book Review: The Stranger Game by Cylin Busby

Greg L.   Feb. 28, 2017

The Stranger Game

By Cylin Busby

281 pp. Balzer+Bray/HarperCollins Publishers. $17.99


Cylin Busby gives her readers an entirely new view of how a family reacts when their daughter, Sarah Morris, returns home after four years of being missing. Nico Morris is Sarah’s younger sister, who knows that something just doesn’t feel right, but she is given the difficult question of whether or not she should say or do anything. Could Sarah really change that much over the years of torment and suffrage she endured?


Busby’s novel makes the reader question Sarah’s legitimacy while also questioning their own morality. It emphasizes the disregard the public has for a missing person- who also happens to be a terrible person. Sarah was no exception. Her younger sister Nico doesn’t seem to remember this wounded version of Sarah, charming a kind, instead she catches herself reflecting on how rude and awful the old Sarah was towards her, Sarah’s friends, even their parents.


Now, she’s back with brittle hair instead of the silky honey-blond hair she used to flaunt. She sports scars from cigarette burns down her back. Nobody dares ask what happened to Sarah- and she insists that she simply doesn’t remember. The rest of the world is celebrating her return, even their parents are content with this Sarah, but Nico can’t help but wonder, is this truly Sarah?


This multi-viewpoint novel explores the underlying question most seem to want to ask- but never do. The author brilliantly bases her book off of the mystery of Nicholas Barclay, a young Texas boy who disappeared in 1994 at the age of thirteen.


Busby expands Barclay’s real-life mystery by using Sarah Morris as a in-depth perspective to cover the daunting task of ethics. For readers who wish to completely understand what happened, Busby makes a point of certain pieces of the plot that most would brush over. “The Stranger Game” is dark, and covers a touchy subject- however it also gives the reader a mystery that reflects a real-life case.