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Lemonade Mouth by Mark Peter Hughes

Lemonade Mouth ‘Lemonade Mouth,’ by Mark Peter Hughes, is the story of five kids who accidentally form a band. After a rousing performance, the accidental band, Lemonade Mouth, gains huge popularity at the kids’ high school. Their songs become anthems for those kids who don’t fit in. Meanwhile, the five band members are making discoveries about their own lives.

(Yet another terrible, terrible synopsis brought to you, by me.)

When I was considering why I liked this book, I was thinking that it was the thrill of these kids forming a band, and becoming successful. The stories behind them, the bonds they create, and the fun they have with their music is really exciting. And this is part of why I love the book. Once I reread it though, I remembered that what I like the most about this story is how the kids in the band, and the fans they encourage, stand up for what they want, what they believe in. I read a lot of teen books where the final outcome seems to tell kids ‘You won’t get what you want in life, so just grow up and get over it.’ I don’t understand this at all. Why shouldn’t anyone, no matter the age, work for or stand up for what they want? Just because some things don’#8217;t work out for other people, why do they feel the need to oppress the ideas of those that come after? To look down on them?

I love ‘Lemonade Mouth’ because it doesn’t give this impression at all. Instead, it’s a teen book that incites a feeling of power. It tells teens, and anyone else who reads it, that it’s perfectly acceptable to stand up for yourself. To do your own thing. To do whatever you feel is right. Lemonade Mouth, the band, stands up for itself, it’s fans, and it’s school. Meanwhile, each character is learning more about themselves, as well as about their friends. The novel is written in a really mature style- it’s not one of these books masquerading as ‘teen lit’ while really looking down on anybody not yet out of school.

Each new section of the book is told by one of the kids, in an alternating style, so you can really get everybody’s viewpoint, and a feel for each character’s internal emotions. At some of the band’s concerts, other viewpoints are also thrown in. This style seems confusing, but isn’t. There aren’t a million characters you have to keep track of- instead, you’re given all the different viewpoints, without feeling overwhelmed. There’s a lot of emotional drama, as well as inspiring and comic parts that help to balance the feel of the book.

This book makes me feel electrified. It makes you want to jump up and do something important. It makes you want to seek out those who tell you what you can’t do, and shove it in their faces. And it makes you want to listen to some really great music.   -SEL

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