Source: I received a copy to facilitate my review. The opinions expressed here are my own.
Four disparate high school seniors come together to compete in their school's battle of the bands. Sharing a love for playing rock and roll, the members name the band "The Stereotypical Freaks" because they feel stereotyped by their classmates - smart kid, geek, star athlete and quiet weirdo… when in fact they know they are much more than those labels that have been placed on them.
When one member reveals life altering news, winning the competition takes on more of a meaning to each member. Scared and angry, upset and yet still with a lot of resolve they set out to win one for the good guys… will they?
Howard Shapiro has made me a lover of graphic novels. At least I can say I love his graphic novels. I don't read a lot of graphic novels. I would read his non-stop. My students keep them circulating. In The Stereotypical Freaks we meet four teens who seem to be so different, but are really more alike than they know. Music is what brings them all together and shows them how similar they are. Tom is the nerdy one. He tutors his former best friend Mark. Dan is his newest best friend. Dan has issues with his dad. Dan and Tom have a band. Dan wants them to enter the Battle of the Bands. the problem is that they need a drummer and a guitar player. This is where Mark and Jacoby enter. Jacoby is fairly new at the school. They end up forming the band The Stereotypical Freaks. Jacoby is the motivator in this group. When you read the story you learn that he is the person who you would expect to have legitimate reasons for being depressed. The story is about true friendship and healing relationships. The lessons are those that teens need to hear. It is not preachy at all. I would say it is very real. That is why my students like his books. They can relate to them. One thing I found extremely cool was at the introduction of each chapter there was a list of songs to listen to while reading that particular chapter. My students were shocked that I knew some of them. Definitely one of my favorite books of the year. I had just finished it in the class when a student said, "Can I check it out now?" There are now three others in line for it. They know a good book when they see it.