Freshman Year & Other Unnatural Disasters [NOOK Book]

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 ...
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Freshman Year & Other Unnatural Disasters

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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.

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Editorial Reviews

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: 9781101560501
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA)
  • Publication date: 3/1/2012
  • Sold by: Penguin Group
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 288
  • Sales rank: 472,826
  • Age range: 12 years
  • File size: 917 KB

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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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 15 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(4)

4 Star

(9)

3 Star

(1)

2 Star

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1 Star

(1)

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Sort by: Showing all of 15 Customer Reviews
  • Posted July 5, 2012

    Recommend

    I got this book because I just finished freshman year. So I was like a book about freshman year I have to read it so I got it.

    1 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 23, 2012

    I recommend Freshman Year & Other Unnatural Disaster’s

    I recommend Freshman Year & Other Unnatural 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.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 20, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Freshman Year and Other Unnatural Disasters

    I remember freshman year like it was yesterday. I thought that it was the beginning of something big. I had some of the greatest friends in the world and we were about embark on a pretty awesome time....well that is what we thought. What did we know we were freshman. My freshman year was not as bad as Kelsey's. She had it pretty bad. I can relate to her on somethings but not much. And I am okay with that.

    Kelsey is starting what she thinks is going to be one of the best years of her life. She is entering her freshman year with her best friends. This is going to be epic! But it turns out to be far from it. Everything that you can imagine that could be bad happened to her. From being mad fun of in the school newspaper, to having a the popular girl in school make fun of her. This could really make or break someone in high school. But also during this time she finds out who her true friends are and also she finds out that she is not the only one having a rough year.

    During my high school years you really find out who your true friends are. I thought that these friends are just going to be around until the friends you are going to be friends with for the rest of your life come around. Boy was I wrong. I am still best friends with the same girls that I have been friends with since freshman year. They understand me and they get everything that I am about. That is a true friendship and this is how Kelsey and her friends are.

    This book was so good that I could not put it down. Now I am not going to lie it took me awhile to read it just because my life has been crazy lately. But this book helped me laugh during the rough times I have been having lately in my laugh. And that is what makes a book great!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 29, 2014

    Great book

    Amazing and wonderfully written! :)

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 21, 2014

    Imma freshman

    Next year haha XD

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 28, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Hilarious and Witty - Totally Worthy of Some Serious LOL-ing!!

    Are you looking to add a little hilarity to your life? Then run to the bookstore and pick up Freshman Year & Other Unnatural Disasters because it will have you LOL-ing like there’s no tomorrow. I mean, I was sitting all alone, laughing uncontrollably at certain points. Kelsey Finkelstein’s sense of humor and the crazy things that happen to her will make you laugh like that.

    Most of us remember what our freshman year of high school was like: overwhelming, exciting, and a time to start over and reinvent ourselves. That’s what Kelsey wants to do, but her big plan to make her mark at high school spirals out of control. Bad things ensue and Kelsey winds up hating her life on the soccer team, fighting with one of her besties, and being crazy over all the wrong boys.

    The wonderful thing about Meredith Zeitlin’s writing is that it’s honest. Kelsey’s voice screams I AM A TEENAGE GIRL. *Note: big, bold letters were absolutely necessary* She’s funny and blunt and sarcastic. She gets overly frustrated with her mom, is boy-crazy, and completely oblivious to some way obvious things. But that’s the thing about teenagers – they act exactly like that. Every emotion is heightened and every experience is 1000x more emotional than it really is. Zeitlin gets that and writes that incredibly well.

    The supporting characters all feel real too. Em, JoJo, Cass, Lexi, even the evil Julie Nelson all have personality. It’s quite easy to get caught up in the lives of these kids and find yourself spending a few hours flying through the book, unable to put it down. I know I did.

    Freshman Year & Other Unnatural Disasters is fun, fresh, and full of delightfully witty humor. It’s the perfect read for any day and something anyone who has gone to high school can relate to. Meredith Zeitlin took me by surprise and will surely be an author to look out for in the future!

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  • Posted March 18, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    I absolutely loved this! Kelsey is about to start high school as

    I absolutely loved this! Kelsey is about to start high school as a freshman and she's hoping to stand out and make it her year. She has big hopes on getting a good position on the school's soccer team and maybe going for that guy she's been crushing on forever. Of course, things don't always go as planned, but especially not in Kelsey's case... a lot of the time.

    Kelsey and her three best friends - Em, JoJo, and Cass - are hilarious! I loved the banter between them all and Kelsey's train of thought as the narrator had me laughing my ass off. Even the short interactions with her annoying little sister were cracking me up. I loved Kelsey's sarcasm, neurosis, and resiliency. It was super-easy to relate to her. I also loved JoJo who was quick-witted, funny, and easy-going. I kinda wished I was part of the BFF crew! I loved the awkward situations and seeing how Kelsey was going to bounce back from them. Definitely go pick up a copy of this book! You'll love it.

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  • Posted March 7, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    FRESHMAN YEAR & OTHER UNNATURAL DISASTERS- A fun read about friendship, first love and the proof that life- especially freshman year- doesn¿t always play out as planned.

    The story around Kelsey Finkelstein is obviously set in high-school, a beloved scenery of mine. And just like other high-school stories FRESHMAN YEAR & OTHER UNNATURAL DISASTERS has the enormous conflict potential of a bunch of growing up, hormonal kids.

    It’s just like in real life, because Kelsey expects her new school year to be epic and what does she get? An epic fail! There are a few very funny things happening to Kelsey and I totally felt with her. The chase after her crush keeps her mind occupied and Meredith Zeitlin doesn’t make it that easy for her to find Mr. Right.

    I would have wished for a profound romance between Kelsey and Mr. Right as I call him, but there simply wasn’t enough time for one to develop, because the story concentrates on the failures of Kelsey’s freshman year in the first place. One of Kelsey’s goals is to score her preferred position on the soccer team and I can tell you that much... it won’t be easy for her to play a successful season. Some people in the story are exactly who you think they are, others are not.

    Many moments of FRESHMAN YEAR & OTHER UNNATURAL DISASTERS are about the bonds of friendship between the four girls, Kelsey, Cassidy, JoJo and Emily. All four are very different characters and throughout the story we learn more about Kelsey’s friends and their lives, too. FRESHMAN YEAR & OTHER UNNATURAL DISASTERS is about first experiences in love and sex for all of them.

    Of course there needs to be a family that Kelsey is embarrassed and annoyed of. They dare to ruin her social life in school and even her private life thanks to hideous outfit suggestions and a little star of a sister. This story is about lessons to learn and Kelsey’s really doing a good job to keep up with every social obstacle thrown in her way. Get into Kelsey’s head, she’s fun!

    THE VERDICT

    I give it 3,5/5 stars.

    The story offers typical freshman year elements like a prom, a school play, high-school parties, annoying siblings, a bubbling mix of teenage hormones and the crazy incidents resulting from them.
    And the story is totally riddled with these hilarious, embarrassing, pitiful incidents. I was entertained, but I didn’t feel a very deep connection to the characters. I think there should be a sequel to Kelsey’s story so we could get to know the characters some more and be part of a more detailed view on the blooming romances.

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  • Posted March 5, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Oh Kelsey, Kelsey, Kelsey. Try as she might to make these great

    Oh Kelsey, Kelsey, Kelsey. Try as she might to make these great plans about her freshman year of high school, she just keeps getting knocked down again and again. Just when she thinks one thing is pulling through, pffft there is goes down the drain. However, this story is a great reminder that when you are so focused on one thing, the thing that’s staring you in the face can often be overlooked. This story has the best relationships and at times the worst betrayals, but it is definitely about friendship and making it through everything together…eventually.

    The moments that Kelsey is clueless have a great payoff in the end and there was a bit of a twist to the story that I never expected. Kudos to Zeitlin for that bit, it made me a very happy reader. This story is full of laughs and some heartbreak for Kelsey and I think that everyone can relate to some part of her life. And the things that I can’t relate to are ones that I am grateful for. This would make a great read for anyone entering (or in) high school and anyone that still remembers what it was like to be thrown into that foreign land!

    Reviewed by Jessica for Book Sake.

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  • Posted March 3, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    My freshmen year in high school....I can totally relate to every

    My freshmen year in high school....I can totally relate to every aspect of this book. A new girl, starting at a new school, friends and of course boy drama. I really like the feel of this book. It took to my heart right away and I could not put it down.

    What I enjoyed most about this book is the great characters. Kelsey is a freshmen. Bent on setting a name for herself, Kelsey is determine to do things a certain way. I loved Kelsey. She reminded me of me when I was young. Over dramatic, heart-broken , embarrassing moments, anyone can relate to this girl. I loved that Kelsey feels real. She's not perfect. She just a girl in this world trying desperately to find her place.

    I really loved the plot line. It was simple yet a wonderful journey to walk in. To see Kelsey grow with every mistake made her such a better person. Yes, she got all teenageary and cried, got attitude, but who wouldn't? I like that her character feels real. She captured the voice a teenage girl beautifully.

    Freshmen Year & Other Unnatural Disasters is a cute coming of age book. Ms. Zeitlin has a way of writing everyday situations that everyone can relate to and enjoy.

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  • Posted March 2, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    3 STARS

    I would like it to be known that I was stepping outside of my comfort zone when I accepted 'Freshman Year & Other Unnatural Disasters' by Meredith Zeitlin for review. I don't usually read contemporary/realistic fiction/or chick lit, but I tend to give a go at it once in a while for books who receive a lot of buzz or good reviews.
    I think 'Freshman Year & Other Unnatural Disasters' rubbed me the wrong way. Either from my excess amount of maternal hormones, a lack of common interest, or it was not in the stars for me and this book to get along. =)
    The first time I tasted alcohol was when I was 18 and same goes about sex education, yes, I was pretty much sheltered which probably is majority of why I teeter on enjoying this book. It was like a big "WHOA!" reaction to read a 14 year old, namely Kelsey and her friends, to be drinking and talking about sex. I couldn't really enjoy her character because she was too obsessed and narrow minded on constantly thinking and talking about boys. Kelsey rambles on and complains too much in every scene. I couldn't really get hooked on anything, or find a common ground.
    The Likes: There were two occasions where a passage had me in laughing stitches. Everyone enjoys a good laugh. If with the right audience the writing is true to life and elaborately detailed and can be entertaining. With all the drama and on getting to know kelsey, I feel like the ending wouldn't last, or the ending felt more like a consolation prize. Even though, the ending was likeable in a cliche kind of way.
    Freshman Year and Other Unnatural Disasters was not my cup of tea, but don't let me spoil it for you because it might just be your brand! I'm more of a para-dystopian-fantasy java kind of chick.

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  • Posted March 1, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Delightful!

    In Freshman Year & Other Unnatural Disasters, we follow new Freshman Kelsey Finkelstein through her first year of high school. All Kelsey wants is to make her mark and to have a really great first year. Unfortunately for Kelsey, things do not work out exactly as she has planned them to.

    I really love Kelsey’s character. She kept me in stitches with all the mishaps that happen on her first year of high school. I can totally sympathize with her on some of the things that happened; as I definitely remember my freshman year all too well. Her best friends; Cass, JoJo and Em were all wonderfully well thought out characters as well! I really enjoyed the relationships that these four girls had.

    All of the ‘disasters’ that poor Kelsey went through definitely make the book a hilarious read. From her first kiss, to being back-stabbed by her best friend over a boy, to a school play gone wrong; it all adds up to some really funny situations. Add in some pretty emotional teenage drama, a great storyline and it all comes together into a really fun read.

    The only part in the book that I had an issue with was all the underage drinking. Call me a prude, but I am not a fan of drinking at all. And being a mom of a 13 year old, I would definitely not want my daughter drinking at that age. I understand that all kids experiment, and that’s ok, but I just felt that it went a little overboard. I do, however, think that the author sent out a good message about the other issues that teen’s face; sex, drugs, homosexuality, etc. (Please keep in mind that this is just me, and I know many people will not feel this way!)

    Overall, this book is definitely one of the funniest books I’ve read so far this year. The teenage drama and the fun characters definitely kept me hooked. I am definitely looking forward to reading more work by this author in the future. This really was a great read!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 29, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted June 14, 2013

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted April 20, 2013

    No text was provided for this review.

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