Freshman Year & Other Unnatural Disasters

Freshman Year & Other Unnatural Disasters

4.0 15
by Meredith Zeitlin
     
 

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So far this year isn't going the way she planned but it is undeniably memorable.

Kelsey Finkelstein is starting her freshman year of high school and she's determined to begin with a clean slate. Her arch-nemesis moved away this summer, finally giving her the chance to stand out on the soccer team and possibly catch the eye of her long-time crush.

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Overview

So far this year isn't going the way she planned but it is undeniably memorable.

Kelsey Finkelstein is starting her freshman year of high school and she's determined to begin with a clean slate. Her arch-nemesis moved away this summer, finally giving her the chance to stand out on the soccer team and possibly catch the eye of her long-time crush. But things don't go as smoothly as Kelsey hopes and she finds herself navigating a series of increasingly hilarious situations. From mortifying pictures in the school paper to an unconventional lead role in the musical, all while avoiding her soccer captain's bad temper, Kelsey has her work cut out for her if she's going to survive freshman year.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
Freshman Year & Other Unnatural Disasters is a lighter but still accomplished look into adolescent female friendship ... Love triangles, unfortunate photographs, soccer bullies and a mother who thinks she understands ‘Typical Adolescent Behavior’ are just some of the obstacles [Kelsey Finkelstein] runs across in this sitcom-paced, laugh-out-loud book."” —NPR

 
“Zeitlin offers a story that encompasses all the horrors and thrills of starting high school ... A hilarious look at freshman year, this story serves to prep the incoming for the best and the worst high school has to offer.” —Booklist

 
“Kelsey is a funny, likable heroine who experiences realistic school and relationship problems that any teenage girl will be able to relate to…[an] enjoyable diversion.”—Kirkus Reviews

 
“Readers will enjoy this humorous story where friendship, family, and self-acceptance are much more important than plans for greatness. This coming-of-age novel will not only entertain but also educate those transitioning into high school. It is a quick read bound to appeal to a female audience.” —VOYA

 
“As the humorous mishaps mount in this laugh-out-loud coming-of-age novel, Kelsey gains insight and perspective through introspection and dialogue with friends. The values of good friendships are further evidenced in the honesty Kelsey and Cass show when they reconcile. In a sweet reversal, Kelsey finds that one of her many disasters has introduced her to a new guy who is, indeed, worth the wait.”—School Library Journal

 

“Cute and sassy, open-minded and truthful, Kelsey Finkelstein will be your new best friend.”—E. Lockhart, author of The Boyfriend List and The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks

 

“Meredith Zeitlin accurately portrays the rocky road of starting high school with humor and heart. Kelsey's character is realistic and believable, navigating disaster after disaster with strength and her trademark wry commentary. Friends, foes, drama, and love—Freshman Year is full of it!”—Erin Dionne, author of Models Don’t Eat Chocolate Cookies

 
“When I was transitioning into high school I would have been better off had I read Freshman Year & Other Unnatural Disasters. Kelsey and I would definitely have been friends.” —Kristen Schaal, comedian featured on The Daily Show and Flight of the Conchords

various

Publishers Weekly
In voiceover artist Zeitlin’s debut novel, Brooklynite Kelsey Finkelstein—the latest in a long line of self-obsessed protagonists who can’t see past their own problems—hopes to “make a mark” in her freshman year of high school. But from the tacky red blazer her mother forces her wear to school to getting stuck playing goalie on the JV soccer team and landing the role of a fat, middle-aged butcher in the school production of Fiddler on the Roof, nothing is going according to plan. Meanwhile, one of Kelsey’s best friends turns traitor by hooking up with a boy Kelsey has “had the world’s biggest crush since approximately birth.” Kelsey’s travails are entertaining, but it’s hard not to feel like Zeitlin is playing her heroine for a buffoon (perhaps most egregiously when Kelsey decides not to listen to the song “Defying Gravity” before performing it for an audition). And while underage drinking is hardly taboo in YA novels, there’s a surprising amount of it, nearly all consequence-free, other than the chipped tooth Kelsey gets—just one more woe-is-me moment for our girl. Ages 12–up. (Mar.)
various
Freshman Year & Other Unnatural Disasters is a lighter but still accomplished look into adolescent female friendship ... Love triangles, unfortunate photographs, soccer bullies and a mother who thinks she understands ‘Typical Adolescent Behavior’ are just some of the obstacles [Kelsey Finkelstein] runs across in this sitcom-paced, laugh-out-loud book."” —NPR

“Zeitlin offers a story that encompasses all the horrors and thrills of starting high school ... A hilarious look at freshman year, this story serves to prep the incoming for the best and the worst high school has to offer.” —Booklist

“Kelsey is a funny, likable heroine who experiences realistic school and relationship problems that any teenage girl will be able to relate to…[an] enjoyable diversion.”—Kirkus Reviews

“Readers will enjoy this humorous story where friendship, family, and self-acceptance are much more important than plans for greatness. This coming-of-age novel will not only entertain but also educate those transitioning into high school. It is a quick read bound to appeal to a female audience.” —VOYA

“As the humorous mishaps mount in this laugh-out-loud coming-of-age novel, Kelsey gains insight and perspective through introspection and dialogue with friends. The values of good friendships are further evidenced in the honesty Kelsey and Cass show when they reconcile. In a sweet reversal, Kelsey finds that one of her many disasters has introduced her to a new guy who is, indeed, worth the wait.”—School Library Journal

“Cute and sassy, open-minded and truthful, Kelsey Finkelstein will be your new best friend.”—E. Lockhart, author of The Boyfriend List and The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks


“Meredith Zeitlin accurately portrays the rocky road of starting high school with humor and heart. Kelsey's character is realistic and believable, navigating disaster after disaster with strength and her trademark wry commentary. Friends, foes, drama, and love—Freshman Year is full of it!”—Erin Dionne, author of Models Don’t Eat Chocolate Cookies

“When I was transitioning into high school I would have been better off had I read Freshman Year & Other Unnatural Disasters. Kelsey and I would definitely have been friends.” —Kristen Schaal, comedian featured on The Daily Show and Flight of the Conchords

VOYA - Angi Barnard
Hold on tight because this book will take you on a roller-coaster ride of broken friendships, love, and life as a high school girl in New York City. This tale of drama will leave you with a smile on your face and a new outlook on being teen. It paints a true picture filled with party escapades and the consequences of poor choices. Reviewer: Angi Barnard, Teen Reviewer
VOYA - Madelene Rathbun Barnard
Welcome to Brooklyn. There is the bridge. There is great pizza. There are the wonderful neighborhoods. Of course, there is the wonderful Brooklyn Public Library. Last but not least, there is high school and the not-so-wonderful world of Kelsey Finklestein. It is Kelsey's freshman year, and she hopes it can be her year to shine. Soccer champion, leading actress, and popular girl with cute senior boyfriend are just a few of her goals. Unfortunately, through a series of sports mishaps, queen bee archenemy attacks, and frenemy boy snatching, freshman year is full of unnatural disasters. Mix in a little drama, family dynamics, hideous school paper photographs, and school assignments, and freshman author Zeitlan has created a laugh-out-loud novel. Zeitlan sprinkles in a few realistic situations that bring Kelsey to life. Remember being fourteen and one minute an opportunity seems so promising and then the next minute it becomes an embarrassing situation? Readers will enjoy this humorous story where friendship, family, and self-acceptance are much more important than plans for greatness. This coming-of-age novel will not only entertain but also educate those transitioning into high school. It is a quick read bound to appeal to a female audience. Reviewer: Madelene Rathbun Barnard
Children's Literature - Krisan Murphy
Kelsey Finkelstein hopes that teenage angst will be a thing of the past when she starts her Freshman year of high school with her close friends, Em, Cassidy, and JoJo. When she is inadvertently photographed wearing a gaudy red blazer picked out by her mother, and the photo is published in the school newspaper on the first day of the school year, her hopes are not only obliterated, but this mishap begins a long string of unending disasters. Her easy friendships crumble in the face of boy crushes and other challenges. This novel portrays fourteen-year-olds drinking liquor at parties and in homes, being high on pot, and a supporting character's coming of age same-sex relationship. Adults are portrayed as dorky and generally clueless, except for one glimpse of hope for Kelsey's mom—however fleeting the moment. Despite the obstacles she faces, Kelsey reaches beyond her insecurities. By the end of the book all of the conflicts and relationships Kelsey experiences are brought to a satisfying conclusion—with the hope that her next school year will be better than the last. Reviewer: Krisan Murphy
School Library Journal
Gr 8–10—Just before entering the ninth grade in New York City, Kelsey Finkelstein, 14, tells her friends Em, Cass, and JoJo that she wants to make their freshman year the best one yet. However, on her road to "defying expectations," she encounters some setbacks. Part of her plan is to attract the eye of a cute classmate Jordan, but, to Kelsey's dismay, Cass hooks up with him instead. She earns a spot on the soccer team, yet the surly captain assigns her the hazardous role of goalie. Then her photo is published in the school newspaper with a full shot of her broken front tooth. When she tries out for the school's production of Fiddler on the Roof, true to form, she lands the role of a fat male butcher with a pasted-on beard. As the humorous mishaps mount in this laugh-out-loud coming-of-age novel, Kelsey gains insight and perspective through introspection and dialogue with friends. The values of good friendships are further evidenced in the honesty Kelsey and Cass show when they reconcile and how the group of friends supports JoJo when she admits her attraction to another girl. Alcohol and marijuana appear in the novel, but are not glamorized, as the users either get nauseated or arrested. In a sweet reversal, Kelsey finds that one of her many disasters has introduced her to a new guy who is, indeed, worth the wait.——Susan W. Hunter, Riverside Middle School, Springfield, VT
Kirkus Reviews
Another goofy, sweet teenage girl pratfalls through her first year of high school in this winsome, if predictable debut. Kelsey Finkelstein may live in New York City, but her life is far from that of Gossip Girl. Instead of high-stakes social politics and steamy hook-ups, Kelsey's life consists of evading the nosy clutches of her interfering mother while trying to maintain strong ties with her three besties: Em, JoJo and Cassidy. Determined to "[r]evamp myself for a new era. You know, like Lady Gaga," Kelsey boldly tries out for JV soccer and the high-school production of Fiddler on the Roof, with decidedly mixed and humorous results. Her friends are a reliable support system, until Kelsey discovers that Cassidy is making out with her crush object Jordan, which causes the group to splinter. Luckily a cute school-newspaper reporter is waiting in the wings to heal Kelsey's broken heart. While Zeitlin breaks no new ground here, Kelsey is a funny, likable heroine who experiences realistic school and relationship problems that any teenage girl will be able to relate to. The dialogue-heavy novel moves breezily from one disaster to the next, but because of its similarity to so many other chick-lit titles, is unlikely to linger longer in readers' minds than the latest pop song before being replaced by something just as pleasantly appealing. An undemanding and enjoyable diversion. (Fiction. 12-16)

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780142424216
Publisher:
Penguin Young Readers Group
Publication date:
03/07/2013
Edition description:
Reprint
Pages:
288
Sales rank:
425,661
Product dimensions:
5.74(w) x 8.04(h) x 0.78(d)
Age Range:
12 Years

Meet the Author

Meredith Zeitlin is a writer and voice-over artist who lives in Brooklyn with two adorable feline roommates. She also writes a column for Ladygunn Magazine, changes her hair color every few months, and has many fancy pairs of spectacles.

In case you're wondering whether any of Kelsey's experiences are based on Meredith's own, the answer is NO WAY. When she was fourteen, Meredith looked and behaved perfectly at all times, was never in a single embarrassing situation, and always rode to school on her very own unicorn.

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