Monday, February 4, 2013

Audiobook Review: Sleeping Freshmen Never Lie by David Lubar

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Title: Sleeping Freshmen Never Lie
Author: David Lubar
Narrators: Ryan MacConnell, Daniel Bostick, Bruce Coville, and others
Publisher: Full Cast Audio
Edition: Unabridged
Duration: 6 hours, 57 minutes
Summary: (taken from Goodreads)
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.
Overall Rating: 3 out of 5

Scott is a high school freshman who has just learned his mother is pregnant. He's also a high school freshman, and he details his life in a sort of how-to-survive-life narrative aimed at his future sibling. Dealing with moving past old friendships, making new friends, and romantic relationships, Sleeping Freshmen Never Lie covers a lot of ground.
I enjoyed this book and think it has something nice to offer teens. It's not anything particularly original, but it's entertaining and interesting. Scott, the main character, is definitely unique, however, in that he loves books and reading and tries hard to share that passion with his friends and family.

As an English language nerd, I loved the wordplay threaded throughout the narrative. I thought that it was clever and interesting, and definitely added to Scott's character. As someone who loves English, it makes sense that Scott would play with point of view, puns, metaphors, etc. when writing these letters/diary entries, and it's obvious that Lubar had a lot of fun with it. Sometimes, it's the little details that count, and this aspect of the story really helped me connect with Scott and envision him as a real person instead of a character.

There were a few problems I had with this novel. For one, it was way too simplistic. I didn't at all agree with the way that suicide is handled here. As a real issue, I think that when it's brought up in a novel, it should be taken seriously. I don't mean that it should be the sole focus of the novel, but it should be handled with care and with full knowledge of the issue. Instead, it was more of a passing thing that I felt was only done to give Scott yet another conflict to deal with, and something less serious could have worked just as well. I don't think that it was handled realistically at all.

Also, this is nitpicky, but why does Scott just give the seniors his lunch money? Because they're bigger? I didn't get this at all, and maybe my high school experience was vastly different from other people's, but this definitely wasn't a problem at my school.

The narration is fantastic, as is to be expected in a Full Cast Audio production. (Seriously, I've never listened to Full Cast Audio that I haven't liked.) Ryan MacConnell does an excellent job in portraying the somewhat-dorky Scott and I loved the rest of the characters. Some of the music seems out of place -- I'm not sure why they picked jazz soundtracks to pair with this novel -- but the voice actors themselves are excellent.

In the end, I liked the overall message against stereotyping. Scott is a hilarious, down-to-earth character who will charm readers, and the book has a hopeful view of high school life that will both entertain teens and teach them valuable lessons.