Age Range
Release Date
August 03, 2021
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A hilarious and vulnerable coming-of-age story about the thrilling new experience--and missteps--of a girl's freshman year of college Some students enter their freshman year of college knowing exactly what they want to do with their lives. Elliot McHugh is not one of those people. But picking a major is the last thing on Elliot's mind when she's too busy experiencing all that college has to offer--from dancing all night at off-campus parties, to testing her RA Rose's patience, to making new friends, to having the best sex one can have on a twin-sized dorm room bed. But she may not be ready for the fallout when reality hits. When the sex she's having isn't that great. When finals creep up and smack her right in the face. Or when her roommate's boyfriend turns out to be the biggest a-hole. Elliot may make epic mistakes, but if she's honest with herself (and with you, dear reader), she may just find the person she wants to be. And maybe even fall in love in the process . . . Well, maybe.

Editor review

1 review
charming and comedic coming-of-age story
Overall rating
Writing Style
FRESH is an entertaining and thought-provoking coming-of-age story. Elliott is a middle child, heading to college far from home at Emerson, a liberal arts college in Boston. She is undeclared and not really sure what she wants to do with her life, but she knows Emerson is the place where she'll figure it out. Delighted with her new roommate and dismayed by her RA, Elliott begins her year with so many ideas. As she sets off on her own, she is experiencing life to the fullest of her independence - defining much of her year by eschewing relationships and experiencing new sexual encounters.

Things don't always go as planned, and the project that she thought would land her a great grade may not be everything she thought it would be. After something horrible occurs, her world feels like it is falling apart. As she heads back for her second semester, things are sure to be different, and Elliott must learn from her mistakes as she forges new paths forward.

What I loved: This was a humorous and entertaining look at the college experience, newfound independence, and the stumbles we make along the way. Major themes around sexuality, shaming, and relationships were really intriguing, and I appreciated the lessons that Elliott learns along the way, as well as the way she maintains her confidence and understands her own worth and where to place blame. This would be a really fun book for discussion because of all the humor, topics around college, and thought-provoking themes.

Elliott was a really compelling main character, and I loved how her voice shines through the text. The book is written as if she is talking directly to the reader, complete with charming footnotes. Other characters, including her roommate, the gossipy guy on their hall, and their tough RA, were also really well-developed and made this story one that is easy to devour.

Final verdict: Charming, compelling, and full of good humor, FRESH is a YA coming-of-age contemporary about finding your way, friendship, and the power of mistakes. Recommend for fans of Christine Riccio, Morgan Matson, and Maurene Goo.
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