LEMONADE MOUTH PUCKERS UP

The continuing, shambolic adventures of Rhode Island’s rockingest trumpet-and-ukelele–based quintet finds plenty of sweet to balance out the sour (Lemonade Mouth, 2007).

It’s summer, and although each of the band’s five members—Olivia, Charlie, Mo, Wen and Stella—have jobs, they compose and record new songs in their friend Lyle’s garage studio. Their performance at Cranston’s Chowder Fest attracts the attention of legendary agent Earl Decker, who tries to mold the group into a chart-topping indie phenom, paying for an expensive, moody photo shoot and studio time. He also secures them an audition on American Pop Sensation, where the gutsy teens stand up to the mean-spirited judges. When video of their judge-scolding incident—sure to inspire the many compulsive watchers of Simon Cowell to punch the air in solidarity—goes viral and combines with their philosophical objections to being Photoshopped in a sponsor’s ad, Lemonade Mouth fires Earl in favor of remaining true to their convictions. The band’s independent, quirky journey is conveyed through the diary entries, letters, transcribed interviews and screenplay excerpts that form the narrative—and that promise at least one more chapter in the band’s imaginary history.

Warmhearted and innocently wild, this stand-alone sequel will find appreciative fans among teen music obsessives and social activists. (Fiction. 12-15)

Pub Date: Nov. 13, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-385-73712-8

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: Sept. 11, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2012

HOW TO ROCK BRACES AND GLASSES

In a morality tale with all the breeziness and exaggeration of a teen movie, an eighth-grade mean girl loses her status and becomes only slightly less mean.

The lead in the school musical and the host of an advice segment on the school's TV channel, Kacey Simon starts at the top. Then a failure to care for her new purple contacts and a fall at her friend Molly's boy-girl birthday party doom Kacey to the ultimate in loser accessories: glasses and braces. Saddled with a braces-related speech impediment along with her geeky new look, Kacey finds herself at the bottom of the pecking order. Molly and other former friends circulate a YouTube video mocking Kacey's lisp, and, somewhat unrealistically, the drama teacher immediately removes her from the school play. Luckily (and, one might argue, undeservedly), two outcasts support the fallen queen of mean. Paige, a student-government enthusiast, helps Kacey with a plan to regain her popularity. Zander, an indie rocker who wears, to Kacey's horror, skinny jeans, grudgingly accepts Kacey as his band's lead singer. Despite the book's ostensible stance against meanness, Kacey regains her social standing largely by bullying and manipulating her old friends, and the notion that glasses and braces must always spell social ruin is left unquestioned.

Pub Date: Oct. 5, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-316-06825-3

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Poppy/Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: July 5, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2011

THE PATH OF NAMES

Despite its potential, though, it’s likely that the book will have limited appeal.

Goelman’s debut novel, part summer-camp tale, part ghost story and part murder mystery, is served with a sprinkling of math and a heavy dose of often-confusing Jewish orthodoxy.

Thirteen-year-old math and magic geek Dahlia reluctantly agrees to three weeks at a Jewish summer camp. There, the ghosts of two little girls visit her, and she begins to dream of David Schank, a young yeshiva student in New York in the 1930s. Soon, she realizes his spirit has possessed her; he is an ibur who needs her help to complete a task he began when alive. The novel alternates between David’s story, in which he first discovers and then fails to hide from the Illuminated Ones the 72nd name of God, and Dahlia’s, as she attempts to figure out what the ghosts and the spirit want and why the creepy caretaker won’t let any children into the camp’s overgrown hedge maze. A substantial cast of characters, multiple plot twists in both narrative storylines, some subplots that go nowhere, a golem, gematria or Jewish numerology, the cabala and more make this novel a challenging read. It’s certainly a refreshing change from the usual focus in middle-grade Jewish fiction on the Holocaust, immigrants and bar/bat mitzvahs, and the inclusion of a girl protagonist who loves math is also welcome.

Despite its potential, though, it’s likely that the book will have limited appeal. (Paranormal mystery. 12-15)

Pub Date: May 1, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-545-47430-6

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Levine/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: March 12, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2013

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