Feb 27, 2012

Freshman Year & Other Unnatural Disasters by Meredith Zeitlin 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.

From Goodreads

Kelsey is funny & poignant. We meet her & her three best friends in the final glory days of their last summer before high school where Kelsey unveils her big plans for freshman year. Naturally everything she has planned goes awry almost instantly & as her friends begin to bloom in their own niches, Kelsey finds herself odd-girl-out.

I really enjoyed Kelsey's inner monologue throughout her ordeals & we're not just talking run-of-the-mill freshman stuff. She's pretty much an embarrassing disaster waiting to happen simply because she's not patient enough to wait for the right moment. Although in some instances she is too patient & that causes just as much drama. Even through her ups & downs, Kelsey remains true to her plan to make it the best year possible. That kind of resilience is what helped me overlook some personality flaws in characters & their decisions.

The writing was nuanced enough to allow for individuality, but at the same time rhythmic enough that I felt I could almost predict where things were going. While not necessarily a bad thing, I did feel like I spent a fair amount of time trying to puzzle out when the author was going to make "x" happen. Still enjoyable to watch it all unfold, but a tad bit frustrating.

The enthusiasm & melodramatic nature of teen girls though makes up for any frustration I incurred. Seriously if you took several of the sassiest & wittiest women on comedy television you'd have these gals. It was a riot & a bit heartbreaking to watch them triumph & suffer, but you knew in the end they would benefit from the experience.

Overall I'd have to say this was a quick, light read that definitely lends itself to becoming a series. I'm not sure if that's in the works, but I'm hoping so!

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