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Monday, 25 February 2013

Review: Freshman Year & Other Unnatural Disasters by Meredith Zeitlin

Release Date: March 1, 2012
Publisher: G.P. Putnam's Sons
Rating: YA 14+
Genre/s: Contemporary, High-School Fiction
Pages: 282


 Kelsey Finkelstein is fourteen and FRUSTRATED. Every time she tries to live up to her awesome potential, her plans are foiled – by her impossible parents, her annoying little sister, and life in general. But with her first day of high school coming up, Kelsey is positive that things are going to change. Enlisting the help of her three best friends — sweet and quiet Em, theatrical Cass, and wild JoJo — Kelsey gets ready to rebrand herself and make the kind of mark she knows is her destiny. 

Things start out great - her arch-nemesis has moved across the country, giving Kelsey the perfect opportunity to stand out on the soccer team and finally catch the eye of her long-time crush. But soon enough, an evil junior’s thirst for revenge, a mysterious photographer, and a series of other catastrophes make it clear that just because KELSEY has a plan for greatness… it doesn’t mean the rest of the world is in on it. 

Kelsey’s hilarious commentary throughout her disastrous freshman year will have you laughing out loud—while being thankful that you’re not in her shoes, of course…

I think we can all remember that moment we set foot in our Freshman Year of high school, complete with big, ridiculously large hopes and dreams, brimming with naivety and excitement. Meredith Zeitlin captures and portrays those feelings and emotions, forgotten and dusty for some, yet to come for others, so well and in such a hilarious, heart-warming manner that, even when it was a little over-the-top and exaggerated, I couldn't help but love every single moment.

Kelsey Finklestein is ready to be recognized for the talented, awesome person that she is! She's just starting her Freshman Year of high school, and what better time to shine and leave a mark than now? Her ambitious plans involve finally catching the attention of her long-time crush Jordan, making the main lead in a school play, and becoming a Soccer star. Of course, nothing goes as planned, and Kelsey finds out that achieving all her arduous objectives might be harder than she initially thought.

My last read (which I may or may not have sneakily left a link to) left me in a serious dump, so boy am I glad I picked up Freshman Year. I'm actually in my Freshman Year of high school, so trust me when I say that Zeitlin captures it all (even if she does tend to dramatize it quite a lot), from the alcohol-infused parties and trashy boys, to the phenomenal longevity of being surrounded by your best friends and those you love most. 

Kelsey Finklestein, our main gal here, is a really endearing character. She's so naive and innocent, full of life and enthusiasm, that I couldn't help but feel like her big sister- even though I'm only a year older than her. I can't think of a better, wittier narrator to guide us through the ride. The supporting characters were also well-formed, especially Kelsey's best friends. I wish the guys would have been a bit nicer and more realistic (not every guy in high school is made of baloney!), but that's just a minor flaw.

Smart, sassy and sweet with a whole lot of spunk, Freshman Year & Other Unnatural Disasters skillfully and authentically captures the highs and lows of high school through the eyes of a quirky and lovable female protagonist.
If you like this, try:

7 Clues to Winning You by Kristin Walker

Teen Idol by Meg Cabot

The Queen of Kentucky by Alecia Whitaker

7 comments:

  1. aw this sounds like such a cute fun read. I remember when it first came out I really wanted to read it but never ended up picking it up. I'm going to have to change that. The MC sounds wonderful and it sounds just like an all around good contemp. Thanks for sharing, Riya!

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  2. OMG! I've been wanting to read this a long time! SOO many good reviews on it. And I sure do remember my Freshman Year which was last year ;) Great review Riya! :D

    Fara @ Tumbling In Books

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  3. I'm glad you liked this one! I have been wanting to read it, but I hadn't heard anything about it so I kept pushing it down my TBR list! I'll definitely have to check it out now!

    Jennifer
    YA Sisterhood

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  4. This is one of my favs!! I loved your review... wasn't Kelsey just adorably funny?? I definitely can't wait to read more by Meredith Zeitlin :)

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  6. That front cover is soooo cute! I want it on my bookshelf!

    This sounds like a lot of fun. I can remember my first day in High crystal clear - I was full of nerves and wanted to turn invisible. I love books about this awkward, scary time. They are always hilarious! Kelsey sounds brilliant, and I always go all 'big-sister' on characters too - even when they're 3 years older than me! I just want to reach into the book and give them a big hug when their life is really crappy...wow, I sound like lunatic going on about hugging fictional people...

    ANYWAY! Lovely review, Riya. The blurb had already drawn me in, but your review has really persuaded me to try this. I can't wait to meet Kelsey and her supportive friends! Even if the boys have been made into annoying idiots by the author! <3

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  7. I haven't read sassy books in so long, I think I have to read something this year- and I want it to be this one! Great review!

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