Sleeping Freshmen Never Lie
|Cover artist||R. Lawrence Amari|
|Genre||Young adult novel|
|Media type||Print (Hardback & Paperback)|
|Followed by||Sophomores and Other Oxymorons|
Sleeping Freshmen Never Lie is a 2005 young adult novel by David Lubar. It is a story about the high school experiences of a fourteen-year-old boy named Scott Hudson. The book was one of the ALA's book picks for 2006.
Sleeping Freshmen Never Lie follows the character of Scott Hudson as he attempts to survive high school and attract the attention of his crush Julia, a girl who recently became beautiful. If dealing with school activities and growing up isn't stressful enough, Scott's mother has announced that she's going to have a baby. In an attempt to make all of this more manageable, Scott tries to write down tips for getting through daily life and high school for his unborn sibling. The novel follows Scott's journey as he learns what to do and what not to do in high school as well as balancing activities, homework, friendships, and relationships with girls. Sophomores and Other Oxymorons is a sequel to the book and was released on August 18, 2015.
Scott Hudson enters J.P. Zenger High as a freshman, along with his three best friends, Mitch, Patrick, and Kyle, and quickly realizes that it is very different from middle school. Upperclassmen are intimidating and will steal any lunch money along with loose change if you stand in the wrong place. Scott gets put in advanced classes, including an Honors English class which, despite the amount of homework, is his favorite class. His teacher, Mr. Franka, becomes a mentor to him. Scott finds out that he's not in classes with his friends since he's carrying all honors and college prep classes. He tries his best from the very start to get the attention of Julia Baskins, a girl who was in his kindergarten class and has recently become very beautiful over the summer. Because of her beauty she quickly blends in with the popular girls and is attracted to the football players who are often bullying Scott. Scott is also connected to another classmate named Louden, who is better known as Mouth. Scott tries every attempt to get Julia's attention such as joining the school paper, because he thinks that she is part of the staff, only to discover that she has written only a single column for the paper. He then runs for student council, after finding out that Julia is also running as well, and wins a seat, only to find out that she has not won. Because of this, Scott resigns from his position on the student council. It turns out that a lot of other members also resigned including the president meaning Julia who happened to have the 2nd most amount of votes is now president. He also auditions for the school play and is selected as a member of the crew, thinking that Julia is also auditioning for the play. However, Julia has not been selected as a member of the cast or crew. Soon, a new girl named Lee arrives at school, who wears face pins and weird clothes, and has wildly colored hair. Both soon realize that they share the same interests, but he can't get past his crush on Julia. Scott suddenly has another "friend" named Wesley, a high school senior. Though they share some interests, they have little in common. Then to put the cherry on top of all this excitement going on in his life, his mother announces that she is pregnant. He copes with all of this by creating a tip book for his soon-to-be baby sibling to help him, or her, survive high school when they get to it. In his entries to the baby, he often shows disdain by using degrading terms to talk to it such as "Smelly" or "Blob of unformed goo". But he writes it to be a good older brother to this new baby since Scott's own brother was never very present. As time goes by, Scott tries to find his place, but he starts to lose his best friends. Mitch finds a girlfriend and soon forgets the group, Patrick moves to Texas, then to Japan, and Kyle joins the wrestling team and soon puts Scott down for having a crush on Julia. Soon, Julia's boyfriend Vernon beats up Scott after finding out from Kyle (who lost a fight with Scott) that Scott has a crush on his girlfriend. Scott realizes that what a person says and does can affect the life of another after Mouth attempts to commit suicide. Later, he learns that not everything is what it seems once he finds out that his older brother, Bobby, who is struggling to find a job, can barely read. Scott's mother eventually gives birth to a new baby boy, whom they name Sean. Meanwhile, Bobby finds a job through guitar-playing and Julia eventually starts dating a nicer guy, though she is now close to Scott enough to give him a kiss on the cheek.
Scott Hudson: Scott is the main protagonist and narrator. A young boy who starts off in the novel transitioning from middle school to high school. At the start he struggles to keep up with the level of homework, dealing with upperclassmen, and maintaining a relationship with his friends. On top of all that, he also finds himself crushing on a girl who he previously didn't notice. Scott is very well-read and smart. He starts off in high school being in honors classes while his childhood friends are in less advanced classes, becomes involved in many activities in school and ends up making some very interesting friends throughout his freshmen year.
Julia Baskins: A girl who was in kindergarten with Scott. Scott refers to her at first sight as "an honest-to-goodness goddess". She shares an honors English course with Scott and often says the things he is thinking which only increases his admiration for her. She is extremely intelligent and kind but finds her place with the popular girls and pays no attention to Scott.
Lee: A new girl that comes to school in October. She sports bright green short chopped hair, lots of piercings, some of which are actually safety pins, and wears all black. Her and Scott start to get along after bonding about poetry and literature talked about in their honors English class. She is misunderstood by everyone in school and is often bullied for her appearance. Scott protects her when there is a threat posted on her locker and each time after in the book. She proves to be the best friend Scott has because of their similar interests.
Wesley: A senior who is feared by most of the other students in the school. He often shakes down freshmen for their loose change and lunch money. Befriends Scott after Scott lies to him about why he was in the principal's office. He then bonds with Scott over good books and unexpected food favorites like hot cocoa with little marshmallows. He becomes an older brother figure for Scott.
Bobby Hudson: Scott's older brother. He comes and goes, often looking like he was dragged through the mud whenever he shows up again. He is a good brother to Scott but never very present. Used to be in a band with his friends and has trouble keeping a steady job. Later on Scott finds out that the reason Bobby struggles so much with certain things is because he has trouble reading.
Kyle: One of Scott's three childhood friends. Very athletic and sarcastic towards Scott. He sticks by him the longest but soon gets wrapped up with the friends he makes on the wrestling team and hangs out with them more than Scott.
Patrick: One of Scott's three childhood friends. Often makes fun of Scott for reading all the time, but for the most part, never has too much to say. Halfway through their freshmen year, he has to move away to Texas and then to Japan because of his father's job.
Mouth: A kid who has been in Scott's classes since kindergarten. Louden is his real name, but nobody ever mentions him by anything other than Mouth. He is called Mouth because he never stops talking and often finds himself in sticky situations because of this word vomit. He thinks he is always doing what is best but it often will get someone in trouble because he doesn't know better. Due to stress and rejection, Mouth tries to commit suicide by hanging himself, but survives, and is then transferred to a different school.
Mitch: One of Scott's three childhood friends. He quickly gets a girlfriend coming into high school and ignores his friends from that point on.
Vernon: A member of the school football team and Julia's boyfriend, Vernon is tough and sometimes bullies other people. He gets angry when there is no mention of him in the school paper. He then beats Scott up when he finds out about his crush on Julia. Because of this however, Julia dumps him and starts dating someone else.
Brotherhood: There are several brothers in the book as well as bonds that are like brothers.There is the weak bond between Scott and his older brother Bobby; the hate bond that Scott has with his soon-to-be baby brother or sister; the bond between Scott and his childhood friends that slowly diminishes; the new bond between Scott and Wesley; and the faint bond between Scott and his AP English teacher.
Growing Up: An obvious theme for a book about going from middle school to high school. Scott deals with fitting in, dealing with stress, a new baby on the way to be his sibling, and growing apart from his friends as they find their own space in high school. Scott learns a lot about himself throughout his freshmen year as well. He learns about standing up for himself and what it means to be a good friend.
Actions have Consequences: Another theme is that actions have consequences. Scott has to grow up to be able to make the decisions in life, yet sometimes it can lead to consequences.
Critical reception for Sleeping Freshmen Never Lie was mixed to positive, with TeenReads praising the character of Scott Hudson. Kirkus Reviews wrote that the book was "Fresh, funny and perfectly plausible as a demonstration of various writing exercises for classroom use, but only if you like laughter." AudioFile praised the production values of the audio version. The School Library Journal called Sleeping Freshmen Never Lie "an excellent choice for public and school libraries".
Publishers Weekly wrote that the book "strains too hard to be clever" and that "most readers will breathe a sigh of relief when the gimmicks start to fade". Booklist criticized Sleeping Freshmen Never Lie, stating that it "delivers too many messages as Scott learns one important lesson after another" but that "most readers will find plenty of amusing, accurate observations about freshman life, from the insecurities of first dates to the dangers of walking the hall between classes".
- ALA Book Picks 2006 School Library Journal
- Sleeping Freshmen Never Lie TeenReads
- Sleeping Freshmen Never Lie Kirkus Reviews
- Audiobook Reviews SLEEPING FRESHMEN NEVER LIE AudioFile
- Audio: Sleeping Freshmen Never Lie School Library Journal
- Children's review: Sleeping Freshmen Never Lie Publishers Weekly
- Booklist Review: Sleeping Freshmen Never Lie Booklist