Teen Review: Freshman Year and Other Unnatural Disasters

Freshman Year & Other Unnatural Disasters by Meredith Zeitlin
Release Date ~ March 1, 2012
G.P. Putnam's Sons ~ Penguin
ISBN13: 9780399254239
E-galley received from publisher for review

Goodreads Synopsis:
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...

‘Wow’.  That is the best word I can use to describe the way I felt after reading this book.  That turned into a ‘Whaaaat????!!!!!’ when I learned that this novel was written for younger teens/middle graders.  This book did have a few lines that made me laugh, and a couple of the characters I did like, but mostly this novel felt like it went on and on and on.

  1. Uncommon Main Character:
    When I say, ‘main character’, I don’t mean the protagonist of the book.  I mean one of the characters that interacts a lot with the protagonist.  I’ve read a lot of YA, and I have never really found a lot of openly homosexual characters.  I can only think of two series’ where the main plot was not the homosexuality of the characters, but it was open and out there.  Every time I do run into it, the characters are 90% of the time male. (slight spoiler ahead)  In this book though, she was female.  It is heavily hinted at the entire novel, until the end where everything is thrust out into the open.  If you like having different unique characters like that, you just might enjoy this book.

But overall, this book didn’t really impress me.  A ton of the things that were in the book were very questionable things that I don’t even usually read about such as: drugs, drinking, sex, etc...  I do not think that this novel is really that appropriate for really youger teens. 

The writing I found was a bit awkward, and the author seemed to quickly start a scene and then just end it just as fast.  I’m not quite sure I understood what the plot was, but maybe that’s because I don’t really connect with books like this.  Also, it felt like every time it got to be an appropriate ending for the novel, something else would happen.  The last 80 pages felt like forever.  In the end, this novel just didn’t do it for me.

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