Published March 1st 2012 by G.P. Putnam's Sons
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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.
Kelsey’s hilarious commentary throughout her disastrous freshman year will have you laughing out loud—while being thankful that you’re not in her shoes, of course…
Freshman Year and Other Unnatural Disasters is obviously not the type of book that's going to evoke a lot of emotion in you. It's a fun, quick read, and the narrator, Kelsey, is the type of person I wish I had been my freshman year. (Which, awkwardly enough, actually wasn't that long ago . . . .)
Kelsey is very easy to relate to. She's afraid of making a fool of herself, but at the same time she wants to make her mark while she's in high school. I think we all feel that way at some point - or maybe at a lot of points. But the thing about Kelsey is that she actually does try to make her mark - she's a lot more outgoing than I ever have been, and in that sense, she's definitely a role model of sorts. I just wasn't a fan of her narration, simply because of the writing style of this book - it was annoying at times because Kelsey's narration seemed very childish sometimes. I'm pretty sure I didn't think like that when I was fourteen. (And I would know. Like I said. It wasn't that long ago.)
I did, however, love Kelsey's relationships with her friends. They were very realistic - friends fight all the time and still manage to laugh together and remain friends. The only issue I had with that aspect was that I think Kelsey forgave Cassidy, a friend who betrayed her in a way, too easily. Just once, I'd like to see a relationship that doesn't get fixed at the end of the book -_-
The best part of this for me is probably the soccer aspect. Having been a soccer player myself, I understand Kelsey's need to not be on the measly little freshmen team. I could understand her competitive streak and her frustration at losing her spot and being forced into the goalie position. It was easy for me to connect to her during those points.
Overall: Freshman Year and Other Unnatural Disasters is full of awkward moments, those typical freshman-like moments, and even some romance. Kelsey's freshman year is everything I wish mine had been; I just wish the writing and narration had been a little more mature. Definitely something you should read if you want something quick and fun. 3.5 stars.