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
From School Library Journal
Grade 6 Up–Five freshmen meet in detention one afternoon and begin to sing along with a radio jingle. Thus begins the story of Lemonade Mouth as told by the bandmates and friends in first-person diary/journal entries. No one likes to be known as the fat kid, the new kid, the nerd, or the freak, but these teens are empowered by their newly formed friendships and empower others as well. Rival band Mudslide Crush is no match for the funky style of Mo on bass, Charlie on the congas and timbales, Stella on ukelele, Wen on trumpet, and Olivia's vocals. School, family, and romance are all pressures building in these teens' lives, and forming the band helps them to cope with the world. They meet in the school basement, where other geek clubs have also been relegated, and their mascot is the Mel's Frozen Lemonade machine in the hallway. One day, it is removed, and Stella and her friends protest when they find out that a soda company has signed an exclusive deal with the administration to sell only their company's products in exchange for a new sports scoreboard. When Lemonade Mouth plays the school Halloween bash, they bring up the lemonade-machine issue, causing a student riot and ending with the musicians back in detention. When they are told that they cannot play in the talent show as punishment, other students call for their reinstatement. Lemonade Mouth
tells a tale of underdogs getting a break in the world.–Corinda J. Humphrey, Los Angeles Public Library
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