Starting high school is never easy. Seniors take your lunch money. Girls you’ve known forever are suddenly beautiful and unattainable. And you can never get enough sleep. Could there be a worse time for Scott’s mother to announce she’s pregnant? Scott decides high school would be a lot less overwhelming if it came with a survival manual, so he begins to write down tips for his new sibling. Meanwhile, he’s trying his best to capture the attention of Julia, the freshman goddess. In the process, Scott manages to become involved in nearly everything the school has to offer. So while he tries to find his place in the confusing world of high school, win Julia’s heart, and keep his sanity, Scott will be recording all the details for his sibling’s knowledge and enjoyment. While navigating his first year of high school and awaiting the birth of his new baby brother, Scott loses old friends and gains some unlikely new ones as he hones his skills as a writer.
So, I’m a girl. Duh. Due to this fact I tend to prefer books with girl main characters. I guess it’s because I like to be able to relate to the main character and its more difficult for me to do so if the character is a guy. This means that I am naturally drawn to books about girls and I have to make myself read books with male main characters/narrators. Which is why I was skeptical when I first decided to listen to Sleeping Freshmen Never Lie by David Lubar. Within the first chapter, however I was completely and absolutely hooked by Scott and his story.
Lubar has created a witty, smart and likeable character so much that Scott quickly became one of my favorite YA male characters ever. The way Scott tells his story is so refreshingly sweet and humorous. His journal entries to his unborn brother are so hilarious I found myself chuckling and pausing my audiobook to tell my husband about them. Additionally, Scott’s unintentional concern for overlooked people (like Mouth) is so heartwarming (but not in a sappy way) that I wished he was someone I knew when I was his age.
Scott’s insecurities (He is not very good with his hands, so feels left out when his brother and dad work on cars together) and struggles (to show his annoyance towards Mouth or swallow it and be friendly instead) make him a very realistic kid. We all have those insecurities and conflicts within us—I know I do! Which brings me to another thing I appreciated about Scott—relatability! I totally related to Scott as a character, even though he is a guy. Multiple times I found myself responding to a situation in the story with feelings of recognition and personal understanding while remembering similar experiences I had as a teenager. Also, I appreciate that Scott matures and grows more confident in himself as the year progresses. You see this exemplified in his developing friendship with Lee, the new girl.
Speaking of Lee, I also enjoyed the supporting characters a lot. Lee, Mouth, Wesley, Mr. Cravutto and Bobby are all huge players in Scott’s life and my only complaint is that I wish I got to know more about each of them (especially Lee). I’d honestly love to see what Scott and Lee’s sophomore year of high school looks like.
I think of this book as a more mature Diary of Wimpy Kid. It has a similar journal style and is equally as funny. Recently, I recommended it to an 8th grade student who was looking for something like the Wimpy Kid books but was worth more AR points. He checked it out over the break so I’m hoping to find out what he thought of it when we return to school.
Sleeping Freshmen Never Lie is recommended for all readers (older middle school and up) looking for a lovable main character and a humorous, touching and overall refreshing read.
Author: David Lubar
Publisher: Full Cast Audio (March 30, 2006)
Format: Audiobook; 6 hours and 55 mins.