“Freshman Year and Other Unnatural Disasters” by Meredith Zeitlin
Genre: Young Adult Fiction, Contemporary
Source: The Publisher/Agent [Thank you!]
Summary from Goodreads:
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…
This title will be released March 1, 2012.
Contemporary YA books can be fun to read even when you’re not a young adult anymore. The problem with many of those books is they’re hard to relate to. I’ve noticed a trend of books that focuses on the ‘wealthy’ kids. Most people don’t come from very well off families. Both of parents have to work. We don’t have credit cards. We have to shop at some less than desirable stores. You get the picture but that’s normal for many, many people.
Freshman Year emphasizes that point of normalcy and therefore Kelsey is very easy to relate to. Zeitlin makes Kelsey “every girl” without going the Twilight route and making her nondescript. In many respects, I knew exactly how Kelsey felt because I too had been there. Trying to figure out how to make your mark a few days before freshman year begins? Oh yeah, I definitely had that conversation with my friends. Mom buying you a hideous piece of clothing that she thinks is “cute”? Check. Acting like a bumbling idiot in front of your new classmates? Double check. If you aren’t able to identify with Kelsey just a little bit, you probably aren’t being honest with your self.
Kelsey is a fabulous protagonist. She keeps going and trying to make things better. No matter how much crap life dumped on her, she kept going because things have to get better eventually, right? I know I would have probably given up and turned into a hermit if all that happened to me.
Freshman Year is absolutely hilarious. It’s also one of those books that’s only hilarious because it’s not you living through the embarrassment. I can’t even tell you how many times I laughed while reading. The author was able to capture Kelsey’s voice perfectly. She absolutely sounded like a 14 year old girl. I know I had friends that sounded just like her. It really didn’t feel like an adult trying to speak like how she thinks a 14 year old would (or should) sound.
The bottom line? It’s a hilarious story and perfect for brightening your day. Highly recommended.