This is for an English project for my summer reading this year. It doesn’t really relate to modern YA and this was more of a discussion essay than anything else but I thought y’all might enjoy it. I had to take a stance on whether or not I thought Sleeping Freshmen Never Lie. I enjoyed the book, but I had to pinpoint my reasons for not thinking it might become a classic so I just was really picky. If you read it, I hope you enjoy and it is great to read before going into freshman year, but it just didn’t come up to my standards. I liked it, but I don’t think I would read it again.
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- and your- enjoyment.
Sleeping Freshmen Never Lie: Classic?
by Grace S.
I don’t believe that Sleeping Freshmen Never Lie will be a classic, or even read in a hundred years. There are a few qualities that absolutely must be present for a book to become a classic. It has to be well-written, with the type of writing that spans years and manages to describe feelings and thoughts that seem nearly impossible to articulate. The book has to have a theme that can be applied to many people and situations. Lastly, it has to have a character that most people can empathize and relate to throughout the book. If one quality is particularly great in a book, the others have a little more slack. If one section of a book sags, the others have to make up for it. There has to be a balance. Sleeping Freshmen Never Lie had potential to be a great book, but none of the qualities quite balanced out well enough for the book to be considered classics materials. Sleeping Freshmen Never Lie lacks these qualities that make a book remembered hundreds of years after it has been written.
There’s no better feeling than stumbling upon the perfect combinations of words that describe a feeling that seems impossible to capture. In order for a book to become a classic, it needs to be able to capture those emotions, passions, and confusions of everyday life and turn it into real life, something that Sleeping Freshmen Never Lie falls short on doing. The book had a few descriptions that filled this criterion but they came few and far between. In the wake of phenomenal books such as The Perks of Being a Wallflower and others that seem to completely understand the chaos of feelings and politics and confusion that is freshmen year, Sleeping Freshmen Never Lie’s reliance on cliché high school experiences and weak writing didn’t make it a standout. The only time that I was really touched by David Lubar’s writing and Scott’s character was when he heard about Mouth’s attempted suicide and came to terms with himself as a person. While Lubar’s play with writing techniques was fun (like describing the thoughts of others in the classroom while talking about omniscient narrators and third person), it doesn’t make for a book to last more than a few years in the eyes of the reader. The truly memorable books are the ones that make you feel something and are not just a struggle to get through reading.
The theme of Sleeping Freshmen Never Lie wasn’t anything unique. It was something that was great for incoming freshmen: self-discovery during freshmen year. The problem with this theme was that there are so many other similar books. Scott’s advice was riddled with cliché statements such as “big kids will steal your lunch money” and more. Other classics have been read even though other books with similar themes exist but this is because the writing or the characters is extraordinary. If the characters or writing makes up for a common theme, a book can still become a classic. A common theme can even be made extraordinary if handled in the right way. Even if there’s weak writing or whiny characters, an original and unique theme can make up for those handicaps in a novel. Sleeping Freshmen Never Lie doesn’t have characters or writing that make up for the common theme, so it doesn’t have much hope of becoming a classic.
The character of Scott was pretty relatable, even if he was slightly immature. He didn’t have an extra passion or viewpoint on life that made him different from other similar characters out there. Flawed characters, wicked characters, or sassy characters can be memorable by the way they view people and how they live their life. Quiet characters can be strong and thoughtful, with dreamy prose throughout the book. Either way, a book has to be about the characters. Scott was quirky, with his love for clever writing and his scrawny nature. Unfortunately, his maturity wasn’t quite up to the level of most young adult narrators. He called his soon-to-be younger sibling “Smelly” and called upperclassmen “the big kids”. His description of school dances, classes, and friendships were all ideas that have already been used in other novels. Almost every person going into high school has seen at least one of those scenes regurgitated in a movie or book. Scott as a character was very simple – he was thoughtful, but he didn’t think deeply past the surface of many things other than Mouth’s attempted suicide and a few high school experiences. The only time that Scott was really that endearing of a character was when he found out that Bobby couldn’t read and stood up for himself. In a self-discovery book like this, plot doesn’t even matter that much if there aren’t characters that the reader can relate to and see themselves in his or her shoes. Scott’s voice didn’t differ much from every other young-adult book narrator. He didn’t have that something special to bring to the table. Scott was likable and realistic, but in order for a classic to be a classic, the character has to be able to withstand the test of time and be memorable.
If compared to other young adult books that could potentially become classics, Sleeping Freshmen Never Lie wouldn’t make the shortlist. Scott wasn’t memorable enough, and it wasn’t just because he was quiet.Even Charlie from The Perks of Being a Wallflower faded into the background but it was his sad and attentive view on life that made him a standout. Scott’s character development wasn’t well pronounced in the beginning, but towards the end, a lot of subtle storylines were brought to the surface again and contributed to him. It was the little things that made Scott develop and I did see him as a different person than the gawky freshman from the first chapter. The only problem was that it didn’t feel like he was the type of character who would be remembered. Plenty of people change through freshmen year, but there wasn’t anything that made Scott different from them.
In order to have the potential to be a classic, Sleeping Freshmen Never Lie would have had to be memorable using strong writing, developed characters, and a unique take on a theme. Unfortunately, the book didn’t meet many standards and doesn’t seem like it would withstand the test of time to be read by readers many years from now. While Scott and his writing did shine at certain moments, each element was weak enough to drag the book down and sink it in the barrage of other young adult stories about incoming freshmen. Sleeping Freshmen Never Lie is much too similar to other novels out there and won’t be seen as a standout from the crowd. While there are plenty things that make this book wonderful, I don’t think that it will be read in years to come.