Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Lemonade Mouth: Pucker Up by Mark Peter Hughes

This book is a sequel to Lemonade Mouth (made into a Disney Channel movie - no, I did not see it). It has been a long time since I read the first one, and I had forgotten much of the story. I remembered liking the tale of some high school students who make an unlikely music group. I know there was something about a protest involving drinks allowed in school, too.

We pick up the group's story as the band members (and others involved) recount the eventful summer after the previous book. The band is made up of some unusual instruments (trumpet and ukelele, to name two). Following a local concert, the group is approached by the manager of several successful rock performers and are told he wants to make them superstars. It's a rocky road for our group who are new to the world of big time entertainment. As much as they want to be successful and have their music heard, they do not always agree with the decisions made for their career. Being true to themselves is important, so they are often at odds with what they are being asked to  do.

In addition to all the band activities, the members are also dealing with typical teen issues: relationships, parents, summer jobs. Generally, the issues are not too serious (compared to other teen books). These young people are always striving to do the right thing and stand up for what they believe. It is nice to read a book that is lighter in tone and does not get graphic and too serious.

If you are going to read this, you should start with the first one.

For more info on this book check out the Evergreen library catalog and the author's site.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson

Speak is a solemn, yet hopeful, story of a freshman girl named Melinda withdrawing into herself. Speaking is just too difficult sometimes. Remaining silent puzzles and frustrates her parents and teachers, but it is easier for Melinda than telling the truth.

She has never told anyone what happened at the end of the summer party. All that anyone remembers is that Melinda called the police and busted up the party. Now, even her former friends hate her.

Melinda finds some companionship in a new girl who knows nothing about the summer party, but Melinda just cannot be excited about the same things. She really finds school a bore. The only thing that interests her is art class and even it is sometimes an exercise in frustration.

There are moments of terror, too - when he is around (the one she calls IT). Just the sight of him would be bad enough, but when he speaks to her and even touches her it is too much to bear.

Her grades are awful and getting worse; she starts skipping classes; her parents do not understand what is happening and she can't tell them. She could just coast through her life, but when her ex-best friend starts dating IT can she really remain silent? It is one of many tough situations for Melinda.

I'm still asking myself why it took me so long to read this book. It is one of those landmark books that I have known about for a long time, but I never picked up. I'm glad I finally did.

For more info about this book, check out the Westfield Washington Public Library catalog and the author's site.