Book Review: Freshman Year & Other Unnatural Disasters by Meredith Zeitlin

Freshman Year & Other Unnatural Disasters
Title: Freshman Year & Other Unnatural Disasters
Author: Meredith Zeitlin
Series: Standalone
Pages: 288
Publisher: Putnam
Date of Publication: 1st March 2012
Source: Publisher*
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.

My Thoughts:
Freshman Year & Other Unnatural Disasters was a really quick, really fun, and super cute read. When I read it, I'd just read a book about cancer, and then a book of some really strange short stories that I'm sure had some kind of meaning to them, and I wanted something that I could get lost in for a day and not have to think about too much. And that's exactly what I got.

Right from the very first chapter, I could tell it was going to be funny. Some of the things that happen to Kelsey are so ridiculous, and so unrealistic, yet I couldn't help but giggle every couple of pages. I don't think anyone's freshman year would be as bad as hers (I'm in the middle of mine right now and mine's nowhere near, fortunately) but that didn't stop me from imagining everything that happened to her happening to some of the girls in my school. It didn't matter to me that all these scenarios took place in an American high school, which is such a different place to an English secondary school, because it was written in such a way that it was easy to imagine, and so easy to relate to! Awesome :)

I really liked Kelsey. A lot of what she did made me cringe, and maybe some of it was really stupid, but I loved her for her flaws. She was just beginning to grow up, and I forgive her for wanting to try out new things, and I completely understood almost everything that went through her head. I could relate to her, and while perhaps I thought she was trying to act older than she was, she was very mature (sometimes (well, a whole lot more mature than me, anyway ;P )) and I felt she dealt with the bad things very well.

The plot was simple, yet fun and exciting. It really was just like if we were following Kelsey around her school during freshman year with a camera, recording every detail. We saw Kelsey make mistakes, and learn from them, and just as any teenager in high school, we went through all her friendship issues, boy troubles and the general difficulties that come with being a teenager as if we were living them right there with her.

Overall, I thought Freshman Year & Other Unnatural Disasters was a great debut. I'd definitely recommend to fans of YA contemporary, as it's just one of those short, delightfully fun and wonderfully silly books that are just so awesome to read for a few hours on a cold and rainy, February day. I'll definitely be looking out for anything else that Meredith Zeitlin writes in the future!


  1. I'm reading this one right now as well! It is a very cute read.

  2. I really like the look of this one - great review, thanks!

  3. I really want to read this now! You know how much I like a cute contemp :) Great review!

  4. Really cant wait to read this one, looks like such a fun read!

  5. I got this and tried stepping out of my comfort zone...Agreed about the unrealism of some things, but it definitely made me laugh at points. Glad you enjoyed this!


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