Friday, March 2, 2012

Review-My Freshman Year & Other Unnatural Disasters by Meredith Zeitlin

Freshman Year & Other Unnatural Disasters
by Meredith Zeitlin
Available NOW

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…

Do Not, I repeat, Do Not drink or eat while reading this book. You are subject to snorting your beverage out of your nose or needing the Heimlich  maneuver.  This is a laugh out loud, rolling on the floor, pee in your pants funny book.  For those of you that worry about what others will think of you if you laugh in public, read it at home. I was literally choking and crying I was laughing so hard. So you've been warned.

Now that that's done, this is a hard review to write. I want to tell all the funny parts! But I won't do that to you or Kelsey.  Kelsey's plan for freshman year is to be the new best Kelsey she can be. She's finally going to be left wing on the JV soccer team. She's going to get a boyfriend, not Keith Mayhew, the guy that's been following her around forever. She's going after Jordan Rothman, her crush "since birth."  Of course, she does have to worry about his girlfriend of three years, the same girl that always beats her out at the position of left wing, but good things happen on the first day of school, this same girl Jemma, the  bane of every girl's existence has moved!! To Arizona! So things are looking up, sort of. Except Kelsey might have ticked off the wrong girl at tryouts.  And Jemma's cousin moves to town! And these unflattering pictures of her keep showing up in the school paper.  But through all this, she has her besties, Em, Cassidy, and JoJo. Maybe.

Kelsey's voice tells the story and her voice is strong and sarcastic and trying to figure things out. She is the best teen voice I've read.  She reasons things out, she's strong, she takes the bad things, looks at them and then tries her best to take them with a grain of salt. Even the most mortifying things. She's always able to laugh at herself.  Even at the worst of times. And the ability to laugh at herself gets her through a really tough year. From being kicked in the back, to being stabbed in the back, Kelsey uses her friends to help her and her sense of humor to handle everything thrown at her. 

Kelsey also has a mom and dad that are present in her life. Her mom especially who is up on the Typical Adolescent Behavior and is always passing her behavior off as such.  But she's super supportive of her kids and when Kelsey needs her, her mom is there for her.  Still makes her do her chores, but listens when she needs someone to cry to and unload on. And she has a little sister who is typical as a little sister, annoying and always busting in the door when her friends are there in her room. (Probably read her diary, too!)

The writing is witty and has a lot of dialogue. Good dialogue. Whether it's internal or out loud, it's crisp and laced with attitude. The chapters flow together and the book is spread out over the school year. I like that not too much time was spent on any one part of the year. I absolutely connected with Kelsey. I was experiencing every trauma and triumph with her. I was thinking right along with her trying to figure things  out. 

I am so hoping that this is going to be a series because this was such a great book! It has something a little extra that a lot of books in this genre don't.  It hits on the peer pressure and what girls think all the other girls think other girls are doing. Kelsey gets into a difficult situation and she's afraid of being the only girl in her grade not doing what the other girls are doing.  There are really good lessons about all of that in the novel, but it doesn't feel like a lesson at all.

Okay so if I had a rating system, I'd give it a ten. The writing is easy and fun. The main character is well developed and she knows what to expect from each friend. The secondary characters might have been developed a little more, but really, they were perfect just as they were.  The plot was unique. I mean, the play scene, I could not have imagined it if I had tried! The dialogue was engaging and fun. I wouldn't change a thing in the novel.

This is for the freshman and up as it does mention sex and there is teen drinking. I don't remember a lot of bad language, but there was a little. None of the above was excessive.



  1. Wow - sounds like you loved this book. I do love it what a book make me almost literally sing....its praises. :) I love the title and the cover's not bad.

    Cover - *groan* I have to really start thinking of my cover and I'm not loving that!


  2. I got this one from the publisher to review. Glad you enjoyed it and now I'm excited to read it.

  3. Wonderful review...and I mean WONDERFUL. This goes on the top of my to-read list. I promise I won't drink or eat while reading ;-)
    _yay_ @

  4. Shah- I think choosing a cover is the fun part!

    Rummanah- If you need a laugh, read it!

    Book That Thing! Thanks for listening to my advice. You will appreciate it!

  5. ACK! You are so mean! Now I must read it so I can snort things out my nose. Wait... I didn't mean it like that. :)

    This really sounds like a fun book. I love books that make you laugh! Plus, Kelsey sounds like a great heroine.

  6. You are so right, it is such a fun book. Easy to fly through when you are having fun!
    - Jessica @ Book Sake


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