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. 12, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2012

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An insightful look at unintentional pressures placed upon children.

TURNING POINT

Two 13-year-old girls figure out what’s really important to them during a transitional summer.

Best friends Monique Jenkins and Rasheeda Tate are facing unfamiliar situations without each other to lean on over the last summer before freshman year. Monique is attending a competitive three-week summer intensive at Ballet America—where she hopes to land a full-year scholarship. Upon arrival, she’s quickly faced with her differences: She and her friend from home, Mila, are the only Black people there. Unlike Mila and the White girls, Monique isn’t tall and thin, and she doesn’t know the nuances of ballet culture. Monique navigates microaggressions as she tries to fit in, with hopes of her talent’s being recognized. Meanwhile, Rasheeda is facing a lonely summer at home, afraid Mo will forget about her. Thrust into nonstop church activities by her pious aunt, Rasheeda spends her time wallowing, feeling the pressure to be a “good girl,” and being consoled by a flirtatious Lennie, Monique’s brother. Rasheeda starts to give church a chance and deepens her relationship with Lennie, which leads to a deeply upsetting event. Writing from the girls’ alternating third-person viewpoints, Chase lends authenticity to the characters’ distinct voices. She delves into the unique pressures of ballet and church cultures with empathetic understanding while also referencing difficulties faced by the Black working-class communities to which the main characters belong.

An insightful look at unintentional pressures placed upon children. (Fiction. 12-15)

Pub Date: Sept. 15, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-06-296566-0

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Greenwillow Books

Review Posted Online: July 14, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2020

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Harrowing and realistic but slanted toward sensationalism.

THE PROPHET CALLS

Thirteen-year-old Gentry feels trapped in a polygamous walled community ruled by the words of a prophet incarcerated in Texas.

Gentry and her older brother Tanner are excited to receive an invitation to play their violins at a local music festival, but when the Prophet calls to forbid women from leaving the compound, Gentry’s hopes are dashed. Tanner decides to sneak Gentry out to perform, but defying the Prophet carries consequences. Restrictions, harsh physical punishment, and ejection from the community are meted out at the whims of the leadership. Tanner and Gentry’s disobedience forces her family to make desperate decisions. Lifted straight from the headlines, Gentry’s tale is a harrowing reality for splinter groups of the LDS Church. Unfortunately, while the details are horrific, there is no attempt to qualify the judgment leveled against all Mormons. The story is compelling, but the use of stereotypes undercuts its power. The sadistic Prophet’s son, the pedophilic leader, and complicit women are predictable place holders for real characters. Gentry’s naiveté about the reality of the outside world is understandable, but she seems equally clueless about her own, all-white community. Violence against animals and children as well as sadistic treatment of a girl with Down syndrome might further make this a difficult read for younger children despite the publisher’s designation of a middle-grade audience for it.

Harrowing and realistic but slanted toward sensationalism. (Fiction. 12-14)

Pub Date: Nov. 6, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-4998-0755-4

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Little Bee

Review Posted Online: Sept. 2, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2018

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