Freshman Year & Other Unnatural Disasters

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4.7
 
4.7 (3)
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Freshman Year & Other Unnatural Disasters
Genre(s)
Age Range
12+
Release Date
March 01, 2012
ISBN
0399254234
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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…

Editor reviews

1 reviews

One Adorable Story
Overall rating 
 
4.7
Plot 
 
4.0
Characters 
 
5.0
Writing Style 
 
5.0
Freshman Year and Other Unnatural Disasters by Meredith Zeitlin was an absolutely delightful read. I had too much fun reading it. While Kelsey and I had very different freshman years, Meredith Zeitlin really manages to capture what its like to be a teen and go through the awkward stage where you really aren’t sure about life.

Freshman Year and Other Unnatural Disasters has so much charm. There was a perfect blend of funny scenes, with the touching moments between friends. It was so much fun to follow Kelsey through her school year, as she was always getting into something. The scenes with Kelsey’s mom were too fun and some of my favorites of the book; poor Kelsey with all the ugly clothes her mom forced upon her and all the odd scenarios.

The characters completely sold this book. Kelsey was such a fab character. She was so snarky and funny, and honestly brought me right back to my freshman year. Now, we definitely had very different experiences. Kelsey lives in New York, and lives a bit more adventurous life than I did, but there was a lot of sameness, the same sameness I think so many people can connect with. I love Newspaper Guy. He was too funny. JoJo, Em, and Cassidy were a fabulous trio and you really can’t ask for better friends.

Freshman Year and Other Unnatural Disasters was a strong debut from Meredith Zeitlin and I am very curious to see what is next for her! Kelsey Finkelstein is one quirky character who had a fabulous tale to tell.
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User reviews

3 reviews

Overall rating 
 
4.7
Plot 
 
4.7  (3)
Characters 
 
5.0  (3)
Writing Style 
 
4.5  (2)
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Hilarious, but with a message!
Overall rating 
 
5.0
Plot 
 
5.0
Characters 
 
5.0
Writing Style 
 
5.0
If you're looking for a sweet and genuinely funny read, Freshman Year & Other Unnatural Disasters is just the ticket! Seriously, I'm kicking myself for not getting to this sooner. It has stolen my heart! Kelsey Finkelstein wants nothing more than to make a mark in her new high school. You know, stand out. What she doesn't realize, is that she'll stand out alright! Just not in the way she was hoping. I loved traveling with Kelsey as she navigated the horrors of high school, complete with evil older girls and unbelievably hot guys. This book was just too cute for words!

Kelsey, Cassidy, JoJo and Em are just so much fun! They really took me back to my high school days. Here is a group of girls who do literally everything together. Kelsey especially stole my heart, and who can blame her? She's funny, sarcastic, and absolutely hilarious! I loved the way that she always seemed to be able to take everything in stride. Sure, there are points where she overreacts just like any normal teen. Still, she always managed to see the lighter side (and cause me to laugh) and things were off and running again. I adore this girl!

Freshman Year & Other Unnatural Disasters is the prefect mix of light-hearted reading and real teen issues. Zeitlin shows that girls Kelsey's age are faced with a lot of issues, but that they still have the power to make good decisions. Kelsey and her friends do drink and party in this book, although they do it in a mostly responsible way. Once in a while they do make the wrong choice in a situation, but they always learn from it and move on. Honestly, Kelsey reminds readers that high school isn't the easiest place to be. However with the right head on your shoulders, and the help of some great friends, it's totally do-able!

Add in the craziest (and cutest) build up to a relationship that I've ever seen, and you have a book that just blew me away. I absolutely loved Freshman Year & Other Unnatural Disasters and I know that you will too! Go get yourself a copy and dive in. You won't regret it!
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Freshman Year and Other Unnatural Disasters (A Room with Books review)
Overall rating 
 
5.0
Plot 
 
5.0
Characters 
 
5.0
Writing Style 
 
N/A
Freshman Year and Other Unnatural Disasters turned out to be a complete win.

I wasn’t really sure how I’d feel about it since contemporaries featuring younger main characters can be a little too silly for me, but this one wasn't like that at all. In fact, it completely reminded me of what I was like at that age. I won’t go so far as to say it reminded me of my freshman year since nothing very exciting ever happened to me, but it was certainly fun to read about.

I loved that Kelsey was so real. She had the same kind of thoughts I did at that age. You know the ones “my parents hate me and they just want me to be a loser forever” and “can he possibly like me? OMG he’s so cute!” I don’t exactly want to revisit that age long-term, but it was fun to feel like I was back there just for a few days.

I like the heavier stuff such as what happened with JoJo along with the kind of silly stuff such as what happened with the “old-fashioned root beer bottle.” Don’t worry, I won’t spoil, so you should totally read it for yourself. I loved that the whole story totally did document like a freshman year, though. There were friend fights and multiple crushes and first kisses.

I only have one teeny tiny complaint and that’s the alcohol use. Maybe I was a sheltered 14-year-old,but I never saw that much alcohol in my freshman year. It just seemed unnecessary is all.

The Nutshell: This is an absolute fantastic contemporary. Don’t be afraid of a younger main character because Zeitlin really knows how to make it work. If you’re a freshman (or somewhere around the age) you’ll probably be able to relate to this book and if freshman year has long since passed then Freshman Year and Other Unnatural Disasters will totally transport you back there. There’s cute boys, zany “disasters”, some girl fights, and even an arch-nemesis with caterpillars for eyebrows. If you’re looking for a fun, cute, and light read you should definitely pick this one up :]
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I don’t think I’ve laughed quite so much in one sitting!
Overall rating 
 
4.3
Plot 
 
4.0
Characters 
 
5.0
Writing Style 
 
4.0
~Kelsey sure has a way with words~

Oh, Kelsey. From the very moment you introduce the people closest to you in your life, the moment when you diss your momz for being uncool, I just knew there was something about you. Kelsey is sass personified, and I applauded her for her sheer and outstanding wit, whether in her head or aloud. She’s sooo crushing on the star soccer player but refuses to admit that her efforts of pursuit are actual efforts in that direction. Making new enemies and absorbing one of the ultimate forms of friendship betrayals and ugly first kisses that make the most civilized want to *VOM* in someone’s lap, Kelsey struggles with a whole shizzload of interesting, and hilarious, dilemmas brought on by her crazy freshman year. However, what really makes Freshman Year and Other Unnatural Disasters by Meredith Zeitlin unique is the way Kelsey tackles all of it. Kelsey doesn’t just merely deal with things, she gets all disgruntled and exasperated and either works around it or rams right through it.

Immaturity, irresponsible or irrational decisions, all of that factors into Kelsey’s expansive personality, which experiences a slow growth by the end of Freshman Year and Other Unnatural Disasters by Meredith Zeitlin, but not so much that she’s suddenly shifted into this perfect, Do Everything Properly Because I Learned Things kind of person. She’s still a teenager, and a teen in flux she shall remain, which made this book even more appreciatively true-to-life genuine. Kelsey’s backhand will always be her incomparable snark, and her impulsiveness may get her into more than a little serious trouble someday, but that’s what makes her beautifully young and plain human.

~Kelsey’s friends are circular not triangular~

One of the best parts of Freshman Year and Other Unnatural Disasters by Meredith Zeitlin are the friendships. They aren’t all the typical We’ve Been Best Friends Since We Were Lil’ Gs In Diapers, Yo kind of friends. Sure, half may fall under that category, but the other friendships just sort of blossomed as they progressed to high school. And I also love how that band of friends don’t just stick to the bffs that start the novel, but stretch out and latch onto a couple new additions along the way.

Kelsey’s constant juggling act between friends is funny and sad and real. Some friendships last, others don’t, and Kelsey struggles with this lesson, and the impossible success of forgiveness when other friendships hit the fan on their way out the door. Perfecting the art of spending equal amounts of time between bffs is extremely difficult, and there are tears and heartbreak as a result of this daunting and stressful task.

Despite everything that goes down, though, Kelsey’s friends stick together, being there for each other no matter what, knowing when to get in the middle of things and when to back away so that things can mend on their own. Kelsey’s relationships with her friends may not be perfect, but she can count on them to support her when guys bring her down, when bullies smack her around with sticks and stones. Whenever she’s weak, her friends help her replete, and that’s the way it should be. Zeitlin’s portrayal is… enviable in it’s wonderful imperfection and closeness to reality.

~WHERE IS THE ROMANCE?~

Like with every high school experience, there are a multitude of guys instead of just that perfect guy. There are going to be pitfalls and crushes and horrendous shades of relationships in between. Kelsey and her friends may not be boy-crazy but they like feeling their way, figuring them out, and it certainly doesn’t stop each of them from drooling over someone.

Bad crush who gets stolen, bad date with personal stalker, and Kelsey is starting to feel like the biggest loser. How impossible is it really to find the right guy to hang with? She doesn’t start wading through rivers of them to find the answer, but she does go through some… rather interesting, and sometimes, disgusting experiences. Needless to say, her boy drama levels are covered this year.

So I’m waiting patiently for that one cute kid to sweep her off her feet, when, THANKFULLY, a cute boy does come along. Though, Kelsey is anything but amused or swoony toward him. In fact, she’s pretty darn sure that he’s an arrogant prick with something up his sleeve. She, naturally, can’t help but admit how attractive he is, but refuses to acknowledge how attracted she is. Zeitlin proves by the end, however, that not every romance has to begin with sunshine, rainbows, and hot electric kisses—though they are wonderful ways to get going—and sometimes a simpler, slower start means more. Surprisingly, I was satisfied.

~Overall~

Freshman Year and Other Unnatural Disasters by Meredith Zeitlin is so enjoyable. Kelsey compounds the laughter and smiles with all the ridiculous things she does, all the clever quips and jibes, internal or otherwise, and that’s what makes her whole disastrous adventure into her first year of high school so hilarious and memorable. In a way, her tale is familiar, too.

Freshman Year and Other Unnatural Disasters by Meredith Zeitlin is half a Been There, Done That situation in which the experiences are not very new and half totally refreshing because of Zeitlin’s spin, Kelsey’s humor. It makes all your awesome insults at your school seem pathetic and unimaginative and definitely unfunny. Kelsey charms the laughter out, without even meaning to. And that’s what gives her, and this story, that certain engrossing pull.

Originally posted at Paranormal Indulgence, 5/30/12
Good Points
When I first heard about Kelsey in Freshman Year & Other Unnatural Disasters by Meredith Zeitlin, I totally suspected her voice to be too juvenile for me, and I had decided, despite the book’s appeal, that I had to brace myself because I was probably too cool for her childish antics. Turns out? Kelsey is MUCH COOLER than me. She’s impulsive, sarcastic, and very… world-weary in tone and just generally dramatic. Her thoughts are so legit and relatable, like ironic questions about the mechanics of sex, attitude toward the parental unit, and a driving need to stand out among her peers. She does a lot of stupid shizz and is the epitome of the mood-swinging teenager, but that’s just what makes Kelsey all the more tangible, makes her more than JUST another character.
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