Authors: Mark Peter Hughes
Tags: #General Fiction
I Am the Wallpaper
A Crack in the Sky
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.
Text copyright © 2012 by Mark Peter Hughes
Jacket art copyright © 2012 by Ericka O’Rourke
All rights reserved. Published in the United States by Delacorte Press, an imprint of Random House Children’s Books, a division of Random House, Inc., New York.
Delacorte Press is a registered trademark and the colophon is a trademark of Random House, Inc.
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For my sisters, Carolyn and Jennifer, with love
Most Esteemed Pursuers of the Great and Wondrous, You hold in your eager hands the second volume in the bewildering history of the late great Lemonade Mouth
As anyone not living under a rock can attest, much has been said and written about the fab five and their extraordinary rise from high school nothingness. But so much mystery surrounds the band that a lot of what has been reported as fact is actually based on mere rumor and guesswork. Let me tell you, it doesn’t even brush the surface of the truth. What really took place was even more astonishing than the rumors
I should know. I was there
I witnessed a lot of this stuff firsthand
Due in part to my role as senior music editor for our school newspaper, the
but mostly because of my close friendship with the band, I remain the only reporter with exclusive permission to tell the whole sordid tale—sour notes
and all. As in the previous go-round, getting the full details of this next part of the story from each of the band members was no walk in the park. I’m still bleary-eyed from working through the stack of photocopied letters Olivia gave me, squinting at her faint handwriting to try to decipher what she said. Wen, on the other hand, agreed to be interviewed, but despite what everyone thinks, he can be as chatty as a brick wall sometimes, especially when he’s hungry. I had to keep feeding him brownies to get him to open up. Charlie was perhaps the most frustrating of all. After making me wait ages for him to complete his English Comp paper so I could include it in the previous volume, this time he got the idea of continuing his own written account. It seems he took out a library book on screenwriting and it inspired him “to get creative with the written form.” When he told me this, I knew it would mean only one thing: more grammar errors
But take heart, Dear Reader, because the result was worth all the trouble. Let me set the stage for where this second act of our story picks up:
With their freshman year at Opequonsett High School behind them, our five misunderstood revolutionaries—Wen, Olivia, Charlie, Stella and Mo—were starting out their summer vacation still reeling from all the local media attention they’d received after their appearance at the Catch A RI-Zing Star competition and the return of the Mel’s Organic Frozen Lemonade machine to their school. A short video clip from the event became an online sensation, and for a week or two afterward they started to receive messages from all over the country in support of their crusade for the unheard
As each of them settled into their summer activities, none had any idea that their strange rocket ride into history was just beginning
Scene Queen & Official Biographer of Lemonade Mouth
*A brief note about Charlie’s contributions: In the interest of authenticity I previously let Charlie’s many punctuation and grammatical mistakes slide (the boy is about as careful a grammarian as a sea slug) but, Dear Reader, I confess I could stand it no longer. This time around I have liberally applied my editor’s correcting pen to help the boy along. You’re welcome
When opportunity knocks, grab it by the shirt, pull it the heck into the house, and offer it something to eat.
Come on, guys! This ain’t brain surgery!
Looking back, I can honestly say that I felt the trouble coming before it even arrived. As you know, I sometimes get feelings about these things, and I guess a part of me realized that summer vacation was starting off too well
Things were far too good to stay that way
I’d just finished my chaotic freshman year at Opequonsett High School and was looking forward
to two quiet, predictable months of reading in my backyard, gathering shells on the beach and relaxing with my grandmother and our thirteen cats. My only real responsibility was to help out with my grandmother’s mail-order printing and graphics business, which she runs from our house, but I knew that would actually be kind of fun
Most of all, I was looking forward to hanging out with my Lemonade Mouth friends
For a couple of weeks the five of us had been meeting in Lyle Dwarkin’s garage, trying to record some new songs Wen and I had written. Lyle is so good with that techie stuff, and his mother makes amazing orange meringue tarts. But you remember all this as well as I do, Naomi, because you were there too, hanging out with us and helping Lyle arrange the microphones and all the other gear. Remember how long it took to set up Wen’s trumpet mike that first session? How Lyle kept switching the angle and trying out different effects on his laptop until it sounded just right? Stella didn’t say a word, but it was obvious she was about to burst with impatience, because as she gripped the neck of her new ukulele, her jaw was clenched and her face was turning red. Mo and Charlie nearly fell over themselves trying not to laugh
But Lyle is a perfectionist. That’s part of the
reason why those recordings turned out the way they did. Even Stella finally admits it now
I now recognize those were special days, a brief period of happy calm like the still surface of a pond just before someone throws a pebble into the water. In a way, it was my own fault that everything changed. Stella and the others had been trying to get me to agree to perform live again, but even though I’d tried to overcome my fears, the idea of singing in front of a crowd of strangers made me so anxious that I often threw up before going onstage
If I hadn’t relented, maybe everything would have turned out differently. If I’d said no and Lemonade Mouth hadn’t shown up to perform an hour-long outdoor set at the Seventeenth Annual Rhode Island Chowder Fest in Cranston, my tranquil summer plans might have remained undisturbed
But of course, that’s not what happened
As everyone knows, it was at the Chowder Fest, immediately after we played our set, that our lives were forever altered
It was a beautiful afternoon on a June Sunday. A pretty big crowd showed up to hear us, and I remember my lunch rising at the sight of so many people. But after a discreet visit to the bathroom my stomach calmed a little, and it ended up being an especially fun show. We opened with “Monster
Maker,” and right away the audience was getting into it, jumping around, dancing and singing along. During the chorus of “Bring It Back!” I was amazed at how many people joined in