Monday, June 11, 2012

My Thoughts: Freshman Year & Other Unnatural Disasters by Meredith Zietlin

Published: March 1, 2012
G.P Putnam's Sons
Hardcover, 288 pages
Source: eARC from publisher
GR Summary: 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 normally opt out of reading books about 14 year old girls. Why? Well, they're half my age. Seriously, I haven't been 14 for a long time and barely remember what it was like. And unfortunately, I think I've become jaded in my adultness. Seriously, people have bigger problems than acne or "oh my goodness, DOES HE LIKE ME?!" So I struggle in relating to the younger crowd these days. But Meredith Zeitlin's title grabbed me.

Kelsey's voice was, as expected, very young. That being said, I think the author did a fabulous job of portraying a 14-year-old. Though I found myself shaking my head saying "oh, Kelsey. You just don't KNOW," more often than I can count, I did well to remind myself that this is not supposed to be someone with plenty of life experience and lessons learned. The fact that she was so annoyed by her parents is something that I could relate to as a teenager, but I found myself thinking that she really needs to be more appreciative of the figures that will eventually be her best friends someday. I am 100% Team "Listen To Your Parents, They Know WTF They're Talking About and You Will Regret Being So Resistant to Their Advice and Love," but I do think that younger readers may have more of an appreciation for Kelsey's attitude.

I'm not normally a fan of over-the-top humor and embarrassing situations like Kelsey encountered, but I did crack a smile or two reading about the messy and ridiculous situations in which our little protagonist found herself. No one likes to be humiliated in front of their crush and/or popular people they're trying to impress, but it was fun to read about!

Overall, I have developed a bit of a thing for Zeitlin's writing style, which is addictive, so I'd love to see a book with a more mature protagonist. However, if you're a younger reader or looking for something light and fluffy with no serious subject matter, then check out Freshman Year & Other Unnatural Disasters! And if you're looking for something a little more mature, check out protags like Ruby Oliver or Jessica Darling, who could be Kelsey Finklestein's awesome older sisters.


  1. I've been thinking about reading this book, but haven't because of the main character's age. I'm glad the writing was might give me more of a reason to read the book. I just think I would be happier reading something with a character closer to my age. Fourteen does feel like forever

  2. "I have developed a bit of a thing for Zeitlin's writing style"

    PRECISELY. I'm so happy to see you've given this one a shot and it's not just a WHATEVS sort of novel. It makes you laugh and it's pretty genuine to what you do when you were fourteen. SHEESH, and speaking of age differences I was worried that because she's a freshman and I'm on my way out of HS that I had problems to worry about going into this book. Looks like I didn't know the half. Still, I cracked the hell up with this book. Glad it made you smile ;D

  3. Yes! I went into this one with such a "whatever" attitude and I ended up laughing my butt off. The writing is totally funny and addictive and I thought Kelsey, despite some of her over the top situations, was very real. That being said, I'm so glad I'm not 14 anymore!

  4. Are we really half the age of Kelsey? Really? Say it ain't so...

    Even though this book was a bit young for me as well, I loved Zeitlin's writing style and will definitely read more of her books.

  5. I have this one in my TBR pile. I think I keep passing it by because it is for a younger audience. I hope to get to it soon and I will keep your review in mind and remember that it's written for younger teens. :) THANKS FOR THE REVIEW! I love reading what you have to say.