I would never have picked this book up except that it was on my Back to School Challenge list, but I am really glad I did! Super cute.
Scott Hudson is a new freshman at a slightly stereotypical high school — the upperclassmen are bullies and lunch money thieves, the gym teacher is brutal, the Spanish teacher doesn’t speak English. That’s fine, because Scott is a pretty actual-typical guy. He’s moderately into sports, he has a few close guy friends, and he loves to read lots of wonderful books. I like him already! The story follows Scott’s escapades through freshman year, starting with a failed attempt or two or three at getting close to his crush, Julia, and also includes some diary entries written to Scott’s unborn new sibling, Smelly (not its real name), on how to survive high school.
While it’s true that Scott gets into a few more weird situations during his first year in high school than most people get into in four years, I liked that he kept a level head about all of them and dealt with them in a very adult manner. A few times that he acts like an idiot about things, but he figures that out pretty quickly. This is the kind of book I might get for my little brother in the future to keep him from getting in trouble. 🙂
And, of course, the best part of the book is all the English stuff! Scott’s got a very “O Captain, my Captain” English teacher who is awesome and whom Scott also enjoys, so Scott gets into writing newspaper articles in various styles, from Tom Swifties to a diary entry, and Lubar works a lot of book references and name-dropping (The Princess Bride, anyone?) into the story.
I feel like this is one of those books that even people that don’t like to read would get into as well, which is probably why it’s on my high school’s 9th-grade reading list. Perhaps we should experiment on a few non-readers… anyone know a fourteen-year-old with too much time on his hands?
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Pass me yours, if you’ve got ’em.