Dutton, 2005. 978-0-525-47311-4
Synopsis: Scott Hudson is nervous about starting high school. As an eighth grader, he was at the top of the food chain, as a freshman he’s back at the bottom. He and his friends are going to try to stay together, but it’s hard when everyone wants to do their own thing. Plus, Scott’s mom just told him that she’s having a baby and he’s realized that the girl he used to share crackers with in kindergarten (Julia) is now so hot she’s completely out of his league. So Scott decides to make the best of high school and find himself wherever Julia is in hopes of getting her to notice him…and maybe try to find a way to survive his freshman year without any sleep.
Why I picked it up: It was the subject of a book talk example I was reading to figure out how to do book talks.
Why I finished it: Scott reads books, uses big words, and tries to make literary illusions in his every day conversations only to have his friends look at him like he’s some sort of freak – and I can totally identify with that. Unlike Scott, I had to start completely over in high school making friends and trying to fit in; but I was in the band so that helped with at least one of the two. Scott’s ‘journal’ that he writes to his unborn sibling is so funny and quirky (I was laughing out loud through most of the book) and most of the advice he offers in the book should definitely be taken. Not all high schools are filled with freshmen-eating upperclassmen, but I will definitely attest to the fact that after freshman year, things do get much easier. I like that Lubar contrasts Scott’s school life with his home life, since most of the time the two are intertwined. I loved that Scott was a writer and decided to hone his craft by being on the school newspaper and that he devours books (very similar to myself), but can understand that some readers won’t quite understand some of the vocabulary words sprinkled throughout nor the draw toward required reading. Really, I think the whole point of the book is to say that one should find something they like and stick with it, since you never know where it will take you.
Other related materials: The Unameables by Ellen Booraem; My Most Excellent Year: A Novel of Love, Mary Poppins, and Fenway Park by Steve Kluger; Elsewhere by Gabrielle Zevin; Knights of the Hill Country by Tim Tharp; The Adoration of Jenna Fox by Mary E. Pearson; The Summer I Turned Pretty by Jenny Han; 13 Little Blue Envelopes by Maureen Johnson; Nation by Terry Prachett; Son of the Mob series by Gordon Korman; I Am a Genius of Unspeakable Evil and I Want to be Your Class President by Josh Lieb; 97 Things to Do Before You Finish High School by Erika Stalder and Steven Jenkins; 101 Things You Gotta Do Before You’re 12! by Joanne O’Sullivan