Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Freshman Year & Other Unnatural Disasters by Meredith Zeitlin

Freshman Year & Other Unnatural Disasters
By Meredith Zeitlin
Published by G. P. Putnam’s Sons, 2012
282 pages (hardcover)

Let's say you're fourteen and live in New York City. You'd think your life would be like a glamorous TV show, right? And yet . . . You don't have a checking account, much less a personal Black American Express card. You've never been to a club, and the only couture in your closet is a Halloween costume your mom made from an old laundry bag.

In other words? You're Kelsey Finkelstein - fourteen and frustrated. Every time she tries to live up to her awesome potential, her plans are foiled. Kelsey wants to rebrand herself for high school to make the kind of mark she knows is her destiny. But 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 and sardonic narration of her freshman year will have readers laughing out loud - while being thankful that they're not in her shoes, of course.

There is now just over a month until the school year is over and the lovely 8th graders move up to the high school. Going to a new place, no matter what it is, can be scary. And, above all, becoming a freshman can be one of the scariest experiences of all. No longer are you separated from the other grades, have lunch at the same time as most of your friends, or know your way around school. As a freshman you are thrown in with older and more experienced teenagers in the crazy world that is high school.

I lucked out. My high school was small and I knew quite a few upperclassmen so starting high school wasn’t so horrible. Yes, some senior girls made me go late from volleyball practice to play practice so they wouldn’t get in trouble too and, not so shockingly, the senior cheerleaders were none-too-nice to the girl athletes. But whatever. No one really cares now.

Freshman Year & Other Unnatural Disasters is a great book for anyone who has hopes and dreams of doing great things in high school. Especially when your hopes and dreams have other plans and seem to want to sabotage your reputation. Kelsey and her friends are funny and entertaining, but they are real. They fight, have crushes, get embarrassed, and don’t always get their way.

And that is what I liked about this book. Sometimes novels can get so outlandish/drama-filled I roll my eyes and think “yeah, like THAT would ever happen.” Meredith Zeitlin did a great job of making Freshman Year & Other Unnatural Disasters believable, silly, hopeful, and a book whose characters you would want to be friends with.

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