Michelle's Review: Freshman Year and Other Unnatural Disasters by Meredith Zeitlin

book cover ARC: 282 pages
Publisher: G.P. Putnam's Sons
Release Date: March 1, 2011
ISBN: 9780399254239

Source of my copy: author/publisher
Series: none
Synopsis (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…

Michelle's Review:
I was expecting something light and fluffy when I started reading Freshman Year and Other Unnatural Disasters and there were a lot of humor but I was pleasantly surprised that it wasn't just a fluff of a novel. Beneath the shenanigans and the mishaps that had me laughing out loud, there were also some important life lessons. It reminded a lot of the early Alice books by Phillis Reynolds Naylor.

I love Kelsey Finklestein! I really enjoyed her witty/sarcastic voice. She was far from perfect and could be a little selfish at times but she was a great person and friend. She was about to start high school and has decided that she was going to change and finally make a name for herself. Of course, nothing goes to plan. However, Kelsey didn't let anything get her down and her determination and humor throughout her stressful freshman year made me like her all the more. My own freshman year was not as eventful as Kelsey's but there were instances in the book that took me back to my own high school years. I really wish I had this book back then.

My favorite part of the novel was definitely the theater part. Kelsey decided to audition for Fiddler on the Roof and ended up getting the part of Lazar Wolf. From her audition (she unknowingly sang "Defying Gravity" a few octaves lower) to the crazy last performance involving her character's beard had me laughing the whole time. Hilarious!

Freshman Year and Other Unnatural Disasters was charming and fun. It was a very character driven novel, which I really enjoyed. Once I started reading, I couldn't stop--it was quite a roller coaster kind of read with never a dull moment--I read this book in one day! There was a lot of humor, drama, friendships, boys and growing up. It was a fantastic debut novel by Meredith Zeitlin. I cannot wait to read more by her. I highly recommend it!


  1. Aw, this seems like a really cute book but also one that teens can identify with. Great review :) I don't think I would ever have the courage to audition for a musical, haha. Thanks for sharing your review!

    Crystal @ Elegantly Bound Books

  2. I've heard so much about this book! About how wonderful and funny and hilariously overdramatic Kelsey is. I just love the premise behind this. When you mentioned the theater part, I imagined what it would be like to read it and now I'm all stoked :)


  3. Everyone is saying great things about this novel and it does sound really good. I was starting to think it was a fluff novel though and I'm so happy to learn that there is more to it than a cute quick read filled with humor. I'm glad that it went beyond that for you.

    Thanks for the great review, I have to check this one out. :)


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