Freshman Year and Other Unnatural Disasters by Meredith Zeitlin: Book Review

Freshman Year and Other Unnatural DisastersFRESHMAN YEAR AND OTHER UNNATURAL DISASTERS by Meredith Zeitlin Book Review
Publication Date: March 1st 2012 by G.P. Putnam’s Sons
Rating: – Acceptable |

Book 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…

Freshman Year and Other Unnatural Disasters by Meredith Zeitlin Book Review Overview:

  • I had a difficult time warming up to Kelsey since I found her to be a little immature
  • Her friends were hard to tell apart at first but eventually they developed into solid secondary characters
  • The romance was adorable; I love banter

FRESHMAN YEAR AND OTHER UNNATURAL DISASTERS by Meredith Zeitlin follows Kelsey Finkelstein’s first year of high school. Kelsey is determined to make this year the best – the one where she finally becomes a star soccer athlete and captures the attention of her long-time crush. Unfortunately for Kelsey, things do not always go as planned as one thing after another goes wrong. FRESHMAN YEAR is a humorous, quick read that is bound to appeal young teen readers.

FRESHMAN YEAR AND OTHER UNNATURAL DISASTERS is set in the course of her entire first year, so the transitions through time are a bit weird. It is not unusual for the novel to jump from a few days or a few weeks in between chapters.

At first, I was not sure that I was going to like FRESHMAN YEAR AND OTHER UNNATURAL DISASTERS by Meredith Zeitlin because of my initial dislike for the main character Kelsey. From the beginning of the novel, she struck me as immature and a bit mean (especially to her mother). I had to keep reminding myself to give Kelsey time to grow and mature in the span of the novel. Furthermore, I thought Kelsey’s voice was a bit much initially, but after a while, I grew accustomed to her sense of humor and I found myself smiling as I read. Kelsey does get a bit overdramatic at times, but I had to give her a break because I know I was probably like her when I was a freshman in high school: overwhelmed and overanalyzing just about everything. Despite my initial qualms about Kelsey, I grew to like her in FRESHMAN YEAR AND OTHER UNNATURAL DISASTERS by Meredith Zeitlin.

After the first fifty pages, I could not tell apart any of Kelsey’s friends. Their personalities were different, but their voices were pretty similar. It was only after some best friend conflict that I was finally able to pick them apart from each other. Eventually, they became really solid secondary characters that are pivotal to Kelsey’s own growth as a character.

Okay, the romance was cute in FRESHMAN YEAR AND OTHER UNNATURAL DISASTERS by Meredith Zeitlin. Like any other teenage girl, Kelsey falls into a few bad decisions, but she finally gets the romance she deserves by the end of the book. I love Lexi despite at first wanting to hate her because she is tall, friendly, and beautiful but she’s got such a great head on her shoulders. She gives the best advice to Kelsey and steers her into the right direction and away from the jerks. When Kelsey finally runs into the cutest guy at school ever, I became such a puddle of mess. This guy was utterly charming and I loved the banter that went on between him and Kelsey.

I would definitely recommend FRESHMAN YEAR AND OTHER UNNATURAL DISASTERS to young teen readers who are just beginning to discover young adult books. I think fans of Colleen Murtagh Paratore and Wendy Mass will enjoy this book.

Other Book Reviews:
The Cheap Reader
Lauren Gets Literal
Words Like Silver

About the Author

Meredith Zeitlin is a writer and voiceover artist who lives in Brooklyn with two adorable feline roommates. She also writes a column for Ladygunn Magazine, changes her hair color every few months, and has many fancy pairs of spectacles.

In case you’re wondering whether any of Kelsey’s experiences are based on Meredith’s own, the answer is NO WAY. When she was fourteen, Meredith looked and behaved perfectly at all times, was never in a single embarrassing situation, and always rode to school on her very own unicorn.

Find the Author

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