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.
Description taken from Goodreads.
FRESHMAN YEAR AND OTHER UNNATURAL DISASTERS was a fun read. I liked how light and fluffy it was, but I also really disliked the main character for most of the book. I hated the way Kelsey was so frustrating, mean to other people and in a perpetual state of self-pity.
The thing is–not every teenager is constantly a brat. I do think that at the heart of 99% of all stereotypes, there’s a gem of truth, but that’s not to say that everyone of that demographic is like that and I’m sick of seeing the always ungrateful, constantly idiotic, never sees past their own two feet, teen stereotype. Yes, I do admit there’s a gem of truth here as well, and I spent the majority of FRESHMAN YEAR AND OTHER UNNATURAL DISASTERS cringing, sighing and rolling my eyes at Kelsey.
She never learns, that is–until the end of the book. She does get better, however, and even though I wished she’d maybe turned out a little bit more like Cricket in Summer on the Short Bus by Bethany Crandell but in the end, I had come to have a certain peace with her.
Other than Kelsey, I enjoyed FRESHMAN YEAR AND OTHER UNNATURAL DISASTERS quite a bit. There was some drama that was a little bit annoying, but also added to the realistic nature of it all. I also loved the funny voice behind Kelsey. At times, her jokes and banter tested my patience, but I loved the way she was able to face situations that really suck and make them more lighthearted. It brought a better pace to the story.
One thing that was really weird to me was Kelsey’s mom. She constantly nags after Kelsey and is always in her life. She’s the normal version of the mom in Mean Girls.
I also enjoyed the plot here. Zeitlin does a good job of keeping the reader occupied and I enjoyed seeing Kelsey face ups and downs. I enjoyed her triumph and throughout the whole book, Zeitlin makes sure that there’s a steady contemporary pace to the story.
Overall, FRESHMAN YEAR AND OTHER UNNATURAL DISASTERS was a satisfying read. I had a lot of fun with it and I think it’ll be a great read for freshman and sophmores as they see themselves in Kelsey’s place or remember how they were when they first started high school. 3 stars.