tHe crooKed WorD

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Sunday, February 12, 2012

Freshman Year & Other Unnatural Disasters

Freshman Year & Other Unnatural Disasters
by Meredith Zeitlin

288 pates
Published March 2012

This book was provided to us by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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…

* * *

I'm not quite sure what to think of this book.

There were some fun things, like Kelsey getting her picture in the school paper in embarrassing situations, which lead to a great scene where she confronts a guy who works for the paper. There's a great voice to the story, which cracked me up at times.

Then there are things that drove me crazy, like Kelsey's profound self-involvement. There were times it felt like she really didn't care what happened to anyone--including her friends--if it wasn't centered around her. Yes, teens can be this way, but it was kind of annoying to put up with for the whole book.

The biggest thing about this book that stuck with me wasn't the funny awkward moments, or the way Kelsey learned to deal with things she couldn't control. It was the way the book seemed to practically encourage 14-year-olds girls to repeatedly get drunk, and to make out with guys they've never met. I know these things are happening with kids that age, but it doesn't need encouragement. It brought my rating down.

If I ignore that, it was a fun story, with several parts that were absolutely hilarious.

3/5 stars

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