Freshman Year & Other Unnatural Disasters by Meredeith Zeitlin
It is Kelsey’s freshman year and she is ready to start over and stand out. Her goals for the year include:
- Not being embarrassed by her parents, who are positively annoying and frequently frustrated by her “Typical Adolescent Behavior”
- Finally going out with Mr. Hottie McHoterson, Jordan Rothman, who she has been crushing on forever and ever
- Becoming a soccer star now that her arch-nemesis, Jemma, has moved to Arizona
- Hanging out with her bffs Em, Cassidy, and JoJo
Naturally, things don’t go as smoothly as planned. Kelsey has no problem making a name for herself in high school, but she certainly doesn’t do it the way she intended.
Meredith Zietlin’s Freshman Year & Other Unnatural Disasters is a humorous look at fourteen-year-old Kelsey’s family and friendships. Sarcasm and slapstick combine to make up some of the book’s funniest scenes (fake beard disaster and chipped tooth, anyone?), and those were the moments that kept me reading. Zeitlin’s novel is light and fun, making it a quick, casual read.
Outside of that, I have to admit that I found the voice a bit young and whiny for my taste. Plus, after reading book after book about dystopian worlds, teen suicide, and cancer, I had a bit of a hard time developing as much sympathy as I would’ve liked for Kelsey’s boy problems and embarrassingly involved parents. I mean, the girl has it pretty good. I can accept that her struggles are far more mainstream than those of most YA protagonists, and I would highly recommend this book to younger readers, but it didn’t exactly make me scream, “Goaaalll!”
Kelsey Finkelstein is a fairly lovable narrator with whom many teens will relate, but she has an attitude that may make some older readers say, “I’ll give you something to complain about!” Those who prefer a dose of reality that is harsher than a few humiliating incidents might find this contemp a bit too cotton candy for their liking.