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Lemonade Mouth by Mark Peter Hughes
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Lemonade Mouth

by Mark Peter Hughes

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This is another book that I’ve looked at in the bookstore, spend three or four weeks waffling on whether or not I should read it, and then when I get to the point that I haven’t bought anything new, I just give in and buy it. I’ll admit, it caught my attention when my Disney-obsessed friend had mentioned the movie, but I picked this one up on my own.

I generally liked this book. It’s not stunning or life-changing, but it’s a decent enough read to check it out. The multiple perspectives are handled fairly well—the main five characters do sound similar to one another, but there’s enough stylistic differences to tell which character is telling what part. I also liked that we got some outsider perspectives from the friends and other kids at this high school. The outsider parts add to the mythic atmosphere behind the band Lemonade Mouth, and it really does feel like one of those high school myths that everyone tells year after year. I also thought it a surprise at the revelation that Lemonade Mouth was actually a fairly successful group. It’s played around enough where it could have been that they were just a small high school band, but I like the fact that they were able to get a larger fanbase.

The main five characters felt pretty realistic to me. Yes, they’re all in search of their own identity, but I liked that they had their own problems that they were dealing with privately. Even the relationship dramas between Mo, Charlie, Wen and Olivia that popped up were actually handled a lot better than I expected. Stella’s a little too “Fight against the oppressive school administration” stereotype, but I liked that a lot of her plot is her frustration at moving and not being as close with her mother. Charlie’s loneliness was one I could have really identified with back in high school, and I like that he’s trying to move away from listening to this imaginary voice in his head. Olivia is the weakest character, easily—we get bits of her storyline and struggles with having a father in prison, but I never really felt like I got to know her. Mo’s and Wen’s stories are pretty standard YA fare—Mo is trying to reconcile her traditional family with her American upbringing; Wen is dealing with the pending marriage of his father to a much younger woman. I do like the sense that all five of these kids are lonely, and that they find something that brings them together. But if there’s any weak points, it’s that a lot of these storylines really don’t go very deep. There is character growth, but the plot moves quickly, and I think Hughes could have explored more to these characters.

So, overall, pretty decent read. I haven’t seen the film version (although judging by the soundtrack, I really don’t think I should try to make comparisons) but as a standalone book, it’s worth checking out.
( )
  princess-starr | Mar 31, 2013 |
Richie's Picks: LEMONADE MOUTH by Mark Peter Hughes, Delacorte, March 2007, ISBN: 0-385-73392-2; Libr. ISBN: 0-385-90404-9.

"Lonely day
After the storm has come and gone
There will never be another tomorrow like today.
In my own way
I wait for the light of dawn
I look for a sign of things to come and change to stay."
--Lemonade Mouth, "Back Among the Walls," from their CD, Live at the Bash.

LEMONADE MOUTH is the story of five socially-struggling high school freshman who come together through a combination of chance and the wisdom of a sorely misused music teacher to form the legendary band, Lemonade Mouth. It all begins on the afternoon when the five students end up in Freshman Detention which is scheduled in the dungeon-like basement classroom of the aforementioned music teacher, Mrs. Reznik.

There is Stella who has begun her freshman year at Opoquonsett High in Rhode Island as the new kid in town. A frustrated student in a family of geniuses and step-geniuses, her mom's new research job has taken Stella unwillingly across the country. She has landed herself in detention for an act of rebellion in response to having previously been sent home for wearing a tee-shirt whose artwork had never been at issue in her old school back in Arizona. But the vice principal has told her, " 'Opoquonsett High doesn't have a dress code, exactly. It's just that we have an unwritten line and that shirt crosses it.' " (As my friend Skeezie Tookis would say, "What kind of stinkin' rule is that?")

There is Wen who is struggling with his feelings regarding his father's buxom twenty-something girlfriend, Sydney. In regard to the humiliating incident in social studies that has landed him in Mrs. Reznik's room, receiving detention as a result of that debacle is the absolute least of Wen's problems.

Mohini must be considered the least likely of the quintet to be in any kind of trouble. The overachieving daughter of immigrants, she has recently exchanged "a lifetime of social obscurity," along with her consistent obedience to her father's strict rules and to her own long-range school and career Plan, for the thrill of being seen around school with an older student who is both a popular soccer star and part of the band Mudslide Crush. It was he who persuaded Mo to skip her Independent Study class; they were subsequently seen and reported.

Meanwhile, Charlie is struggling with his obsession over how fate chose him to be born fine while his identical twin Aaron was stillborn as the result of being strangled by the umbilical cord. Charlie perceives Aaron as a harsh voice in his head who constantly points out what a failure Charlie is. In this instance, he has ended up in Mrs. Reznik's room through his failure to properly aim the spitball that was meant to retaliate for the one with which a renowned school bully had just nailed him in the face.

Finally, Olivia has spent most of her life living with her grandmother after her mother abandoned the family and her struggling father was convicted of murder in a failed store robbery. She finds herself in detention with Stella, Wen, Mo, and Charlie for skipping American lit, where she was facing another in the series of chapter quizzes that "strip away the fun of a good book." Instead of going to class, she gets caught hiding out reading the rest of the book.

Together, as a result of an incident in detention and the subsequent encouragement of Mrs. Reznik, the five pool their hidden talents -- musical and otherwise -- to become the pride of the unsung average and oft-picked on kids at their high school and far beyond it. And, as might be said, the rest is musical history.

"HOLD IT HIGH! RAISE IT UP!"

My heart is singing every time my mind pulls me back to what I just experienced. Count me in as a the #1 charter member of the Lemonade Mouth Fan Club.

Richie Partington
http://richiespicks.com
http://www.myspace.com/richiespicks
BudNotBuddy@aol.com ( )
  richiespicks | May 26, 2009 |
If you liked The Misfits by James Howe, you'll like Lemonade Mouth. ( )
  cliddie | May 29, 2007 |
a bunch of mis-fits come together to create a band with a very out of the box style of music. as they come together create their music, they start to realize just how much talent they have ( )
  chocolatechip | Mar 19, 2007 |
Showing 4 of 4
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For Evan, Lucía and Zoe - mi tiburón, mi mariposa y mi frijol
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Dear reader, 
As anyone can tell you, the facts surrounding the rise and fall of the late great Lemonade Mouth are steeped in legend and shrouded in mystery.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0385733925, Hardcover)

A Letter from Author Mark Peter Hughes
Not long after my second novel, Lemonade Mouth, was published in 2007, I got a strange and unexpected phone call at home from a Hollywood producer named Debra Martin Chase. Debra is the producer who made the movies The Princess Diaries, The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, and The Cheetah Girls, among many others. As I stood there with the phone to my ear and my jaw hanging open, she told me that she’d read and loved Lemonade Mouth, and that even though she didn’t yet have a deal in place, she was determined to make a movie out of my book.

I couldn’t have been more astonished if it had started raining lemons.

I wrote Lemonade Mouth, the story of five high-school freshman outsiders who meet in detention, form an unlikely band, and start a revolution destined to change the world, because I’ve played in bands and know something about what it’s like. Each member of the band called Lemonade Mouth--Stella, Olivia, Mo (Mohini), Charlie, and Wen--are different parts of me. Stella is a shout-through-a-megaphone rule-breaker who wants to make a positive difference but doesn’t always get it right. That’s me. Olivia is shy and quiet and sometimes has a hard time talking about the important things. That’s me too, sometimes. What Mohini and I share is that we both straddle two different cultures. Mo’s family moved to the U.S. from India, while I was born in England, grew up here in America, and have often felt the crosscurrent like a hot dog floating in a cup of tea.

In the summer of 2010, the Disney Channel started filming its adaptation of my novel (turned out, Debra’s promise of “Determinate”-tion was more than just words), and my family and I were lucky enough to get to visit the set. The filmmakers and cast were warm and welcoming, and I have wonderful memories of those days.

What a surreal experience it was to stand among three hundred extras and watch talented actors perform a concert as characters I had created in my kitchen. At one point, when Hayley Kiyoko (who plays Stella) started calling out to the crowd about how everyone should be nice to each other--a speech that uses my own words and heartfelt convictions--I had a lump in my throat the size of Rhode Island. My wife actually burst into tears. Out of anyone on this planet, she knew best what this meant to me--to all of us.

I’m actually in the movie. I’m an extra in the Halloween Bash scene. Pretty much whenever you see the principal standing in the audience, look over his shoulder and you might notice a guy dressed like a bee. That’s me. It’s just a little thing, but it sure does make me happy.

To all the Lemonheads out there: Be heard! Be strong! Be proud! And keep doing what you love, as I have. You never know what Destiny has in store for you.

--Mark Peter Hughes

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:27:15 -0400)

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A disparate group of high school students thrown together in detention form a band to play at a school talent show and end up competing with a wildly popular local rock band.

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