I agreed to review Meredith Zeitlin’s debut book simply because it seemed so adorably hysterical. Freshman Year & Other Unnatural Disasters is an entire year of embarrassing and awkward moments for Kelsey Finkelstein. This book read like a television show that I would religiously DVR every week. Do you remember your freshman year at high school? The most important task of the day was to blend in without risking any of the humiliation that could follow you forever. I remember my first day in high school and the moment I touched a staircase handle and was grossed out to find something greasy on the bar. Come to find out that the upperclassman would slather Vaseline on the bars so that they could decipher who all of the freshman were. Of course Kelsey has to go through far more worse than a class prank her freshman year.
Kelsey Finkelstein has big plans for her freshman year. She sees an opportunity to make her mark and is determined to make it happen. Her to do list includes acquiring a first string position on her soccer team, and dating her middle school crush. Of course the universe screams back with a big fat NO by putting a bully in her path, embarrassing photos in the school newspaper and an unexpected role in the school play. With Kelsey’s plans now crushed she will face the unexpected and have you laughing out loud as she tries to finish her first year of high school without further humiliation.
Kelsey is undeniably a target for disaster that just happens to be funny. Her naïve nature never hinders her as a character. It only makes her youthfully realistic. Kelsey is a girl who has to learn things the hard way. I cringed whenever she would talk with her crush Jordan because I was getting all the signals that poor Kelsey wasn’t. Then her first kiss was so incredibly bad that I had to laugh at the sloppy detail of it. Kelsey has this way of setting her mind up for this fantastic build up of what she wants to only suffer a huge let down. Lets face it that happens a lot in high school. What I admire most in Kelsey is her ability to just get through it. When she’s cast in the school musical she just does it. Even though it’s not quite the part she wanted she doesn’t act bratty about it. She knows she needs to finish what she started. The best thing about Kelsey is that she doesn’t run away, she finishes what she started.
What I was most surprised about while reading Zeitlin’s debut book was the amount of content she covered in an entire school year. It had such a great flow that I never doubted all the endless hysterics that Kelsey goes through. Zeitlin made this a fun read that I was able to escape into. I don’t know if there are any plans for a sequel but there are so many possibilities for Kelsey’s entire time in high school.
I recommend Freshman Year & Other Disaster’s to anyone who wants a fun escape. I think readers will identify with Kelsey and find her delightfully different than the teen characters that are trying to save the world. Kelsey is just a girl trying to get through the freshman year that didn’t quite go as planned and will satisfy your funny bone. Take a look at the trailer below.