Okay. I'd been meaning to read this since even BEFORE it came out last July, but somehow I didn't get around to it until now. Seeing as how I loved Dunk with a passion and I'd heard nothing but rave reviews, I wasn't too surprised at the fantastic-osity of Sleeping Freshmen Never Lie.
The book is a chronicle of Scott Hudson's first year of high school:
A hush fell over our cluster of freshmen, cloaking us with that same sense of dread that ancient civilizations must have felt during the solar eclipse. But we weren't awestruck by a dragon eating the sun. We were facing a much less mythical danger.
Older kids. An army of giants. I'd just spent a year in eighth grade, towering over the sixth and seventh graders. Okay-- that was an exaggeration. I only towered over the short ones. But I wasn't used to being at the bottom of the food chain. Or the wrong end of a growth spurt. I felt like the towel boy for the Sixers.
His mom is pregnant, he's in love with a girl that doesn't know he exists, he's bringing home boatloads of homework every night, he's stuck covering sports for the school newspaper which leads to the need to hide from the school's humor-deprived quarterback, the weird pierced girl seems to want to be friends with him, the school tough guy keeps "borrowing" his lunch money, his Spanish teacher is completely unintelligible, his gym teacher is a maniacal gorilla-man that forces them to do calisthenics in sub-zero temperatures and his happy group of friends is slowly drifting apart. On the other hand, he has Mr. Franka -- who might actually be the best English teacher ever, real or imagined.
As the book progresses, the style bounces around as Scott tries out different forms that he studies in class. Lists are also interspersed as he compiles a Survival Guide for his new sibling. Scott is also a reader after my own heart:
It's always great to find out that a favorite author has a book you didn't know about. It's like thinking you finished your soda but then you grab the can and there's still some left. Only it's a thousand times better.
Also, he's just funny:
Maybe I should have asked him if he was okay. This had to be a huge shock for him. But he would probably have lied, too. That's what guys do. If someone cut my head off, the last words whistling through my throat as my face plunged toward the floor would be, "I'm fine."
Scott is thoughtful, smart and genuine. Highly recommended. (I really am on a streak right now. I hope it sticks around for a while.)