Thursday, May 23, 2013

[Book Review] The Stereotypical Freaks

Title: The Stereotypical Freaks
Author: Howard Shapiro
Date Published: November 4, 2012
Publisher: Animal Media Group
Source: ARC
Genre: Young-Adult, Graphic Novels
Rating: ★★★ 


About the Novel:
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?

An uplifting take on the jungle that is high school! A positively heart-warming story about hope, friendships, cliques and teenage problems.

Here are a few admissions on my part: I used to be in a band as a vocalist. I love Paramore, and I'm a fan of Green Day. I read a lot of mangas (Japanese graphic novels) and manhwas (Korean graphic novels). These are just a few of the reasons why I was delighted to be given a copy of The Stereotypical Freaks to read and review.

The story opens up during senior year, the last hurrah for the seniors. Plot-wise, the beginning was nothing remarkable. We meet Dan and Tom, two seemingly ordinary high school students who are both part of the unpopular crowd. They express their situations and even a little hatred for the popular crowd.

Art-wise, all the characters look distinct from each other. Also, I love how neat each pane was. And what I liked best is that the first picture of Tom mirrors the last one, the only difference is that Tom at the beginning is young and the Tom at the end is the adult one looking back on everything they all went through.

What I like about the story is that it was simple and straightforward. There's no dilly-dallying and at the same time, all the bases are covered, such as how the friendship between Tom, Dan, Jacoby and Mark developed. The peer pressure and popularity contest was also smoothly showcased.

My most favorite character out of the bunch is probably Tom's Dad. He's hip and supportive without being overly embarrassing. And he actually rocks! Second to him is Jacoby, because he's an inspiration and a true friend.

I guess it would only be appropriate for me to say that this graphic novel is both heart-warming and bittersweet. I felt like there was a hole in my heart after reading. I don't want to go into details because I might spoil the story.

Also, I appreciate the fact that this graphic novel chose to tell a story that everyone can relate to. Most graphic novels I see nowadays almost always contain a super hero. This one is a nice break from the mainstream.

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