Monday, May 05, 2008

Sleeping freshmen never lie by David Lubar

Being a freshman (or fresh meat as I remember from my days in high school) is never easy. Usually freshmen year means a new school, new students, new teachers, and definitely new rules. Scott Hudson takes on this new journey head on, mapping out his course of success for future generations.

Scott starts out freshman year eager for the new adventure, figuring that with close friends, anything is possible. Then he meets his teachers, encounters the typical high school bully, is weighed down with homework, and learns that his mother is pregnant. In an effort to deal with these new stresses, he starts a journal for his future sibling, figuring that he could have benefited from this advice when he started school. Aside from dealing with the educational hazards, Scott finds himself in love with Julia, a girl he shared cookies with in Kindergarten. Soon he's doing everything and anything to get her attention, from running for student council, joining the newspaper, and auditioning for the school play all because that's what she was doing. In the chaos that is high school, Scott finds out what it means to be a true friend and that everyone's interpretation of a great and ideal life is different.

This book blew my mind. One of the great things about this book is how realistic it is. True it indulges in the stereotypical football player and bully, not to mention freak and geek, but that makes the story even more endearing. Scott was a very relateable character. I'm sure that everyone has had that girl/guy that they've pined after and drooled over. I found it nice to see a guy doing it rather than a girl. At the same time, many of his high school experiences are typical to life, at least from my high school days. Scott's experiences also included comedy that made this novel stand out from the average "my struggle through life/school" book. One thing that I loved about the novel is how Scott got creative in his story telling. There are moments when he incorporates what he's learning in his narrative. For example, he illustrates the different narrative points of view as the teacher teaches the subject. In another situation, he used multiple similes to describe something after he learned about similes in class. The fluid way that Lubar wrote these in was beyond creative. At first I didn't notice it, but when I caught on, I went looking for the tricks later on. On top of that, though, the book isn't just about comedy or creative writing, or even surviving. It's about finding what matters in life and loyalty and friendship. It's about making a mark in life even if you're just trying to survive it.

This is overall just a great, fun book. I don't know that it sets out to be all insightful and to have this big powerful message, but in a subtle way it did, especially since teens sometimes need to be reminded that everyone struggles in life and it's not always over big things. I don't see this being the next Of Mice and Men but, nonetheless, it's an enjoyable book that many teens, and even older people, will relate to. Sometimes it's nice to read a fluffy book with depth.

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