Fifteen-year-old adopted Vietnamese boy, Dixie Nguyen is the sole reporter of his high school’s newspaper. Unfortunately, instead of reporting on controversial stories, Dixie is stuck writing about football heroes. These football “heroes” torment Dixie and like to call him “Pixie Dick.” Then, one day in gym class, Dixie sees a football player doing drugs in the bathroom. This is Dixie’s chance to uncover a scandal that seems to involve the entire football team! That is, if he can survive first…
Sophomore Undercover was a disappointing read for me. Because I’m not a hormonal teenage boy, I’m not really the book’s target audience, but I still thought I would enjoy Sophomore Undercover more. After all I did like King Dork by Frank Portman. After reading Sophomore Undercover, I only had mixed feelings. The situations that Dixie found himself in were just too ridiculous for me. However, my biggest problem was what high school would have a class with only one student. High schools don’t exactly have the largest budget. Having said that, I realize Sophomore Undercover is not the type of book that aims to be 100% accurate or politically correct, for that matter. Instead, it’s the type of book that aims to tell an outrageous story, while making readers laugh the entire ride.
So, was Sophomore Undercover an outrageous story that gives laughs? It’s definitely outrageous, although, for me, that’s not really a good thing. However, others may enjoy the crazy scenes. Now the other question: did Sophomore Undercover make me laugh? To be honest, sometimes. There were several times throughout the novel that literally made me laugh out loud. I rarely laugh out loud reading, so that says a lot. Unfortunately, most of time, I found myself rolling my eyes at the parts that were meant to be funny. The outrageous scenes only made Esch’s writing seem pretentious.
If you are looking for a novel for reluctant male readers, than I would suggest this. I don’t think many female readers would enjoy this.