Thursday, February 9, 2012

ARC Review: FRESHMAN YEAR & OTHER UNNATURAL DISASTERS

The Book: FRESHMAN YEAR & OTHER UNNATURAL DISASTERS
The Author: Meredith Zeitlin
The Publisher: Putnam Juvenile (an Imprint of Penguin)
Anticipated Release Date: March 1, 2012

Summary (as lifted from the Penguin website):
Laugh-out-loud funny high school drama - perfect for fans of Lauren Myracle and Meg Cabot


Let's say you're fourteen and live in New York City. You'd think your life would be like a glamorous TV show, right? And yet . . . You don't have a checking account, much less a personal Black American Express card. You've never been to a club, and the only couture in your closet is a Halloween costume your mom made from an old laundry bag.

In other words? You're Kelsey Finkelstein - fourteen and frustrated. Every time she tries to live up to her awesome potential, her plans are foiled. Kelsey wants to rebrand herself for high school to make the kind of mark she knows is her destiny. But 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 and sardonic narration of her freshman year will have readers laughing out loud - while being thankful that they're not in her shoes, of course.

My Take:
First off, it must be noted that if I'd had a freshman year that was anything like Kelsey's, I might not have survived.  There.  I said it.  Now, for my thoughts on this book.

I LOVED IT! 

Alternating between literal LOL moments (I mean, snorting guffaws here folks, not just staring at the book and coolly saying LOL. I actually did Laugh. Out. Loud.), rolling my eyes at some of Kelsey's observations, shaking my fist at a few characters (including Kels), cringing at some particularly brutal moments, and then laughing again, I flew right through to the final page in record time. So, why did I like it so well, you ask?  Simple. 

Kelsey is a freaking riot.  Her voice rings loud and clear from the first sentence.  Her dry wit and her determination to transform herself into a new and improved version of herself instantly endear her to the reader.  Add to that her circle of friends, all vastly different but sharing a common bond of history and knowing each other inside and out.  They each add their own little hint of flavor into the mix.

Then, of course, there are the disasters, of which there are many.  Making JV soccer only be placed in the dreaded goalie position, which frankly, terrified me even before I read this book.  A junior girl who has it in for Kelsey from day one.  Trying to be noticed by her crush, all the while fending off the advances of a boy she really has no interest in.  Oh, and then there are the photographs! *snort* I'm still snickering thinking of those.  And the school play.  *double snort*

Through every embarrassing catastrophe that befalls Kelsey, she never loses her sense of self.  She may get knocked down a few times, but she doesn't shrink away (well, there was that one time, but I can't hold that against her).  I found myself rooting for her through it all, every time something went wrong, I cheered her on to power through, and that she did, which sometimes didn't help her cause, but it was very entertaining, in deed.

A fast, fun read by a new voice on the scene, FRESHMAN YEAR is a must-read for any girl ready to embark on the journey that is high school...and even for those of us wanting to relive that time in our lives;)

So, how about all you fun folks?  Did you have a particularly disastrous freshman year? I'd love to hear about it in the comments!