Endearing, sympathetic, and clever (without being too clever), Scott narrates the ins and outs of his first year of high school—the loss of his three childhood friends (to girls, wrestlers, and Texas), the pursuit of his kindergarten chum (who’s become the cutest girl in ninth grade), the awkward dances in which all the guys stand to one side waiting for the painful ordeal to end, and his accidental friendships with a senior bully and a girl everyone calls a freak. The movement through the novel is spot on. We cover an entire school year in 280 pages, breezing through when we can, slowing when we need to focus on important moments. Scott is reflective, but not distractingly so. We understand Scott in the way that he speaks to and interacts with others, NOT by him TELLING us who he thinks he is.
|Sleeping Freshmen Never Lie |
by David Lubar
Finally, Lubar does a fine job with the classroom scenes—especially English class. Not only does he authentically depict interactions between students in class (when the teacher’s not looking), but he presents a teacher that all book lovers dream about having. Also, Lubar cleverly works discussions about the elements of craft into his text. For example, Scott narrates the beginning of chapter twenty-six from first-, second-, and third-person during the class’s discussion of viewpoint. This sequence is a perfect example of how Scott (and Lubar) manages to be quite clever without being gimmicky or over-the-top.
Recommended for boys, ages 13-15.