Title: Lemonade MouthPoets. Geniuses. Revolutionaries.
Author: Mark Peter Hughes
Genre: Young Adult, Music, Contemporary
Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers
Release date: March 13, 2007
The members of the legendary band Lemonade Mouth have been called all of these things. But until now, nobody's known the inside story of how this powerhouse band came to be. How five outcasts in Opoquonsett High School's freshman class found each other, found the music, and went on to change both rock and roll and high school as we know it. Wen, Stella, Charlie, Olivia, and Mo take us back to that fateful detention where a dentist's jingle, a teacher's coughing fit, and a beat-up ukelele gave birth to Rhode Island's most influential band. Told in each of their five voices and compiled by Opoquonsett's "scene queen," freshman Naomi Fishmeier, this anthology is their definitive history.
This is the story of how the band, Lemonade Mouth, came to be. Stella, Wen, Mo, Charlie, and Olivia met one fateful day in detention. They discovered their mutual love for music and slowly, the idea of starting a band formulated, thus turning them into a sensation. Even still, nothing ever comes easy. Individually, they weren't popular; every other student like them who took part in activities and clubs that weren't considered "popular" got demoted to the high school's basement. They're labelled as the freaks of the school, and it's up to Lemonade Mouth to use their newfound popularity to change things.
The characters that made up Lemonade Mouth were so odd and easily classified as misfits. There's a freakishly tall green-haired girl and a guy who's really insecure and hears the voice of his dead twin brother in his head, to name a few. But when they were together, it was magic. It was interesting to read how they formed, as it wasn't a sudden thing where all five kids completely went for it. It took time, and it was realistic. After all, they weren't really friends; they only really got together through detention, and they barely knew each other beforehand. They each had their own stories and struggles, which were touched upon equally and made their story as a band more believable. Hughes never gave one character more importance over another.
The core of the book is about five strangers who never really fit in anywhere, coming together and making something out of nothing. They became influences to their fellow classmates, and even though their journey wasn't an easy one, they never gave up. They were able to cope with the insanity known as high school through their growing friendship, all the while, touching the lives of their fellow classmates with their music and their message.
The overall concept isn't original by any means, but the way the author wrote it really puts it in a class of its own. The book was offbeat and funny; definitely had its own unique brand of humour, which I found totally refreshing. It's original in the sense that when you think of a high school band-- or any band, your mind immediately goes to a guitarist, singer, bassist, and a drummer. Lemonade Mouth throws all conventions out the window. Here, you have stuff like a ukulele, trumpet, bongos, and congas. In other words, this book is not full of your typical high school characterizations.
I picked up the book because I watched the Disney Channel movie that was adapted from it. I loved the movie, I'm not even going to lie. Even bought the soundtrack and everything. I'm such a sucker for feel-good teenybopper DCOMs. So sue me. I was curious to see how the book compared to the film; what they left out and kept in, what they changed, etc. I was surprised at how different a lot of things were in the book, but I enjoyed it more than I thought I would. It's a fun and interesting read, filled with quirky characters that I'm sure all of us can relate to, one way or another. The book is definitely more mature than the movie if you've ever seen it; I'd say it's appropriate enough for teens 14 and over. There is, however, now an age-appropriate edition for middle-grade readers as a movie tie-in, with content slightly adapted by the author. Just look for the blue dot on the cover!
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