High school seniors Tom and Dan consider themselves a "basement band," but when their school puts on a battle of the bands, they decide to rise to the challenge and invite two more students to join them. As they tentatively welcome Mark and Jacoby into the group, they get to know one another and start to see past their differences. They decide to call the band The Stereotypical Freaks because they feel that when people look at them, they see a "smart kid, geek, star athlete, and quiet weirdo." This sweet, brief graphic novel features humor, authentic dialogue, and a great, heartwarming story that touches on bullying, identity, loyalty, and friendship.
The book includes a playlist of recommended songs for each chapter by such varied musical performers as Bob Dylan, Rush, the Who, Bruce Springsteen, Green Day, and the Beatles.
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The Stereotypical Freaks
By Howard Shapiro
Animal Media GroupCopyright © 2016 Howard Shapiro
All rights reserved.
When It Began
"WHEN IT BEGAN" THE REPLACEMENTS
"LIFE AFTER EIGHTEEN SUCKS" ... DENNIS LEARY ONCE SAID THAT, AND I'D AMEND THAT SLIGHTLY TO ALSO INCLUDE "LIFE BEFORE EIGHTEEN AS WELL." BEING SEVENTEEN, I THINK I CAN SPEAK FOR THE MAJORITY OF US (ESPECIALLY MY OVER-SIZED BEST FRIEND AND MUSICAL COHORT DAN ROBERTS) BY ECHOING THAT STATEMENT. AS I SIT HERE, THE NIGHT BEFORE THE FIRST DAY OF MY SENIOR YEAR AT EAST SLADE HIGH, THE QUESTIONS OF WOULD I FIT IN SOMEWHERE AT SCHOOL, WOULD I FINALLY ASK OUT MY DREAM GIRL (JAELITHE) AND WHAT DID I WANT TO DO WITH MY LIFE SPUN THROUGH MY BRAIN.
AT THIS POINT I COULDN'T ANSWER ANY OF THEM. ALL I WANTED TO DO NOW WAS PLAY BABA O'RILEY AND RUBY SOHO ON MY GUITAR, FORGET ABOUT MY FEELINGS OF ISOLATION, CONFORMITY TO THE UNSPOKEN RULES OF HIGH SCHOOL, AND FIGURE OUT WHAT I WAS GOING TO DO WITH THE REST OF MY LIFE.
YOU KNOW, FIRST DAYS REALLY BLOW.
YEAH, THE PICTURES MAY CHANGE, BUT THE STORY REMAINS THE SAME.
WHAT DO YOU MEAN?
IT'S JUST THAT NOTHING CHANGES AROUND HERE EXCEPT THE SHOES AND THE HAIR STYLES.
CHECK IT OUT. I HAVE HOMEROOM WITH JAELITHE, AND SHE ALSO SITS ACROSS FROM ME IN SOCIOLOGY.
SHE SAID SHE WAS HAPPY TO SEE ME.
NICE, THAT MAKES ONE OF US ... HEY, HERE COMES YOUR OLD BUDDY MARK BENNETT.
DID I EVER TELL YOU ABOUT THE TIME I SAVED HIM--
GEEZ, YOU'VE TOLD ME A HUNDRED TIMES!!! WHEN YOU WERE EIGHT YOU SAVED HIM FROM YOUR TWO NEIGHBORS WHO SHOVED HIM WHILE YOU GUYS WERE PLAYING FOOTBALL IN YOUR BACK YARD AND BLAH, BLAH, BLAH ...
EXACTAMENTE, MY MAN! I GRABBED JACK CHEEVERS AND JOHN ESPOSITO, PULLED THEM OFF THE ONE YOU CALL MARK, BUT HE'LL ALWAYS BE MARCELL TO ME, AND THOSE TWO RAN HOME LIKE THE RATS THEY WERE!
THESE DAYS ... WELL, NOW HE WOULDN'T GIVE ME THE TIME OF DAY OR EVEN ACKNOWLEDGE THAT I WAS HIS BEST FRIEND.
... BEST FRIEND? WHEN WAS THE LAST TIME HE EVEN TALKED TO YOU?
LET'S SEE ... ABOUT TWO YEARS AGO I HELD THE DOOR OPEN FOR HIM ON THE SECOND FLOOR, AND I THINK HE MUMBLED "THANKS" ...
YOUR REPLY SHOULD HAVE BEEN "YOU'RE WELCOME, AND OH, HERE'S A TIP, USE BOTH HANDS TO HOLD ONTO THE FOOTBALL ..." LOUSY CHOKE ARTIST.
WHAT DO YOU CARE ABOUT THE FOOTBALL TEAM? YOU HATE ALL THE SPORTS TEAMS HERE.
BUT I RESERVE MOST OF MY HATRED FOR THE FOOTBALL TEAM. AND ONCE AGAIN ... THAT WAS TWO--TWO-- CHAMPIONSHIPS HE FUMBLED AWAY.
AND BELIEVE ME, I'M ECSTATIC THAT THEY LOST. I REVEL IN THEIR DEFEAT AND IN EVERYONE WALKING AROUND HERE AS IF SOMEONE DIED.
YEAH, IT IS GREAT WHEN THAT HAPPENS. BUT WHEN THE HOCKEY TEAM WINS THE CITY CHAMPIONSHIP AND FINISHES THIRD IN THE STATE OF PENNSYLVANIA ...
... NO ONE NOTICES.
YOUTH SPORTS ... A COMPLETE WASTE OF TIME IF YOU ASK ME ...
NO ONE REALLY ASKED YOU ...
AND BY THE WAY YOU'RE NOT USUALLY THIS BITTER UNTIL DAY THREE OF SCHOOL.
GETTING AN EARLY START THIS YEAR ... WE'RE SENIORS.
DUDE, THE BEVERAGE ... I WANT IT. I'M PARCHED.
AND THERE HE GOES, EAST SIDE HIGH'S HEAD THUG NUMBER ONE, FRANK WRIGHT.
YEAH, 55 IS NOT ONLY HIS JERSEY NUMBER BUT HIS TOTAL VOCABULARY AND IQ SCORE COMBINED.
YOU DO REALIZE, AS PER USUAL, THAT WE'RE ALL ALONE HERE.
YEAH, I KNOW WE REALLY NEED TO IMPORT SOME FRIENDS ... PREFERABLY SOME GOOD LOOKING FEMALES, BUT REALLY ANYONE WILL DO.
HEY, MAN, YOU GONNA DRINK THAT? I;M STILL THIRSTY, HA, HA, HA.
Excerpted from The Stereotypical Freaks by Howard Shapiro. Copyright © 2016 Howard Shapiro. Excerpted by permission of Animal Media Group.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
I remember, when I requested The Stereotypical Freaks, thinking that it sounded really cool. Music has been essential to some tough time in my life, in a lot of people's lives I'm sure, and it brings the characters in this story together. There was just a lot lacking in the book that the music theme couldn't bring back up from down low, little things that added up to one big thing: I didn't care for the book as much as I thought I would. The Bad *The scene breaks that happened between chapters were jarring and didn't make sense, like two mini-chapters got jammed together accidentally. *The characters didn't flesh out more than their, well, stereotypes. Granted we were given insight into what their characters ought to have been, like the "quiet weirdo" who just wants to experience as much life as possible before the end, but that's all these moments were: glimpses, brief interludes into what might have been. *I was never really sure what kind of music the kids were playing, which seemed weird given how big a part that was supposed to play in their story. Was their style meant to be like the musical recommendations at the beginning of the chapters or not? No indication either way. The Good *At the beginning of each chapter there were musical recommendations that were fun to search out on Spotify. It gave a little life to the book. *The art was a clean style that I liked, not too much fussiness. *It was a fast, easy read. Summary There was a lot of potential for this to be fun, but I didn't get that sense from reading it. There are two more books in the series, but I don't think I'll be continuing on. As dull as I found it, I both don't really want to continue and I also felt like this story was done, so I'm fine with where I left things. I received a copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
I have not read a lot of graphic novels but this one was very good. I really think reluctant readers, especially those interested in reading would enjoy this book as well as just about anyone else. The story is about 4 highschool boys who are trying to fit in. One is the jock (Mark/Marko/Marcel), one is the "exchange" student from Nunavut Iqaluit (Jacoby), one new to the school from Oshawa (Dan) and the last the smart kid (Tom). The school they attend is having a Battle of the Bands. Circumstances end up putting these four boys together and they begin to practice. They enter the contest and name themselves "The Stereoptypical Freaks". As the contest nears, Jacoby finally tells the boys he has terminal cancer, but he will be around to play. He manages a couple of situations to help the boys become the best they can be. It is a real tear jerker at the end, but a great story. The illustrations are Pen and Ink Drawings that some kids might have preferred a little colour but it works. Thank you Netgalley and Animal Media Group for the opportunity to read and reveiw this book.
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. I received a copy to facilitate my review. The opinions expressed here are my own.
Four high school guys come together out of school to make music with their band practicing for The Battle Of The Bands. During school some of guys are in different social groups that do not necessarily mix well with each other. As the guys play together they also learn that their social group status may not be as important as the friendships they have made with each other. Each chapter has a list of rock songs to listen to giving you more insight into the guys and their music. They each have their own baggage to deal with but they come together as a band. I like the suggested music in beginning of each chapter. I have to say that the dynamics between Mark and his jock friends and Mark and the band reminded me of the beginning episodes of Glee. The band really comes together in the end. Although I am curious what happens to the band now after their loss. I like the title Stereotypical Freak and it seems to fit they although I would not call them all stereotypical and every teenager thinks they are a freak. Other than that I have no bad issues with the graphic novel. It was enjoyable, funny, sad and moving. Probably will read again and find the songs to listen as I read.
This is one of my more difficult reviews to write as I don't wish to give any spoilers. To put it simply, the graphics and story are well done. Yet that is too simplistic. Some have said this is not the typical graphic novel, yet it is thematically. We all have to find our place in this world. However, this story takes an experience most of us have gone through to make it more easily relatable. Overall an enjoyable read with good graphics.