By: Danielle Dadig –
Starting high school is never easy, especially for freshmen. Your best friends change. You’re in a new place with new teachers. You have a ton of homework. You have to look out for the mighty seniors as well.
Scott Hudson doesn’t know what to expect on his first day of high school. When Scott waits for the bus, he notices Julia, a girl he shared peanut butter crackers with in kindergarten. She is now beautiful with long brown hair and in Scott’s eyes she is a goddess. Scott has no one to talk to at the bus stop other than Louden also known as Mouth. Mouth liked to talk a lot and no liked him so a lot of the students tried to avoid him. However, Mouth approaches Scott and starts talking to him. Scott slowly befriends Mouth even though he doesn’t really want to. Scott has no idea where to sit on the bus and Mouth sits near him continuing to talk. As all the upperclassmen board the bus they hit Scott on the head. Scott decides he needs to find a new seat immediately.
When Scott arrives to school he sees people everywhere. He is approached by a senior, Wesley, he asks for his lunch money. Scott hands over his lunch money and realizes he shouldn’t carry change in his pockets. Scott finally arrives to his homeroom where he received his schedule. He doesn’t have classes with any of his friends other than Patrick. After Scott finished all of his homework he goes down stairs to eat dinner with his mom and dad. Scott notices his mom has been acting very strange recently and then he finds out why. His mom announces that she is pregnant! Scott is shocked by this news and doesn’t know what to do. Scott tries to call his brother, Bobby, to get advice about high school but he doesn’t answer. Scott has many questions he wants to ask his brother, but since he didn’t pick up Scott is disappointed and comes up with an idea. He decides he doesn’t want to let his soon to be brother or sister down, so he starts a journal. He fills the journal with rules and advice about high school.
Scott decides to join the newspaper because he overhears Julia and her friend talking about it. Scott goes to the first meeting and sees that Julia isn’t even there. She was only writing a guest column for the paper. Scott also gets dragged into writing the sports column when what he really wanted to do was write book reviews. Scott also overheard Julia talking about the school play, so Scott decides to audition. While waiting to try out he notices everyone sings a song. Scott didn’t know it was a musical and its too late, he gets called up for his audition. Scott doesn’t make it, however he is asked to help out with stage crew and accepts the invitation. The next day the cast list goes up and Julia isn’t on it. Once again Scott does something to get closer to Julia, but his plans don’t work out. While working on stage crew Scott is bossed around by the upperclassmen and doesn’t like how long the practices are.
While Scott is off following Julia, his friends went in different directions. Mitch got a girlfriend, Patrick moved to Texas due to his father’s work and Kyle is busy with sports. However Scott thought that he would always be friends with Mitch, Patrick and Kyle. It was a shock to him when they no longer wanted to hangout. Scott befriends the new girl at J. P. Zenger High School, Lee. Lee is nothing like Scott’s crush Julia, she is described as being goth or punk. Lee and Scott have a common interest in poetry and books which help their friendship grow. Lee isn’t afraid to be herself even when she is made fun of and called names. Scott also befriends Wesley who was the senior that took his lunch money on the first day of school. Wesley drives Scott to school everyday and they eventually become very good friends. Scott looks up to Wesley and Wesley looks out for Scott in the halls. Scott is still friends with Mouth, who tried to commit suicide. Scott feels that he should have been nicer to Mouth and is upset. Scott goes to visit Mouth at the hospital and they talk about different books.
As Scott’s freshman year comes to close, he is doing very well writing articles for the school newspaper and enjoys stage crew. Scott is finally getting the hang of the whole high school thing and is getting adjusted to the idea of a little brother or sister. There is an upcoming school dance and Scott ends up going with Lee, although he would have liked to go with Julia. Wesley offers to drive Scott and Lee to the dance, Wesley shows up in a limo since his father owns a limo service. Whenever Scott went to the door to get Lee she was a completely different girl, she no longer had any of her piercings and Scott didn’t even recognize her. They are on their way to the dance when suddenly there is a problem. Scott notices his family’s van on the side of road, where his mom and dad are trying to get to the hospital. Scott tells his parents to get into the limo to take them to the hospital even though it will delay him and Lee getting to the dance. During the dance Scott gets a chance to dance with Julia since she just broke up with her boyfriend, Vernon. Vernon comes to fight Scott since he is dancing with Julia but all of Scott’s friends come to back him up. Here in that moment Scott realizes that he can stand up for himself and shouldn’t let any upperclassmen scare him.
At the end of the book, Scott has a little brother named Sean, his journal is finished and he has survived his freshman year of high school. Throughout the whole book Scott fights to get closer to Julia, however his plans never work out. Even though his plans fail Scott grows as a person, makes new friends and finds activites and clubs he never would have otherwise.
I would suggest this book to anyone, especially those about to enter high school. This book was a great read and I even laughed at all the jokes. I feel that it was very realistic and many readers could relate to Scott’s problems as a freshman. Even though Scott is constantly facing problems, he finds ways to be positive and make the best out of a bad situation.