Freshman Year & Other Unnatural Disasters by Meredith Zeitlin

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…
288 pages March 1st 2012 by G.P. Putnam's Sons ISBN 0399254234 (ISBN13: 9780399254239)

Starting high school is an important time in lives. A time when finding new friends, keeping old ones and exploring new things can be both discouraging and encouraging at the same time. Kelsey is at this pinnacle point in her life, is she going to survive the year with grace?

Characters The main character Kelsey is an average teen, she bickers with her siblings, and her parents and has that range of emotions in which every thing in her life ranges from it's the best day of her life, to its the worst day. And sometimes those two feelings correspond on the same day. She has a group of friends that she feels comfortable around, that is until you factor in boys.

Originality There are several varieties of this story out there. With the plot of a young girl experiencing high school for the first time, friendship, first love and how to fit in with a new crowd. There is always the bully who tries to make their life miserable and the friends that are just as confused as you are that seem to butt heads every once in awhile.

Plot Kelsey is looking forward to starting the new year, with a new outlook and an opportunity to show the soccer team how good she is. But when life starts involving boys, and the confusion and hurt feelings that go along with that, she makes some bad decisions, and so do her friends. Eventually some things get out of control and then some photos of her pop up that are embarrassing and hurtful. But Kelsey has a strong personality and pushes through all the events with a light at the end of the tunnel.

Writing the author is able to capture the teens voice perfectly. There were several events in this story where I thought that Kelsey was overreacting, but it took me only seconds to look back on my own life and I remember these days and felt that the author was actually able to portray these crazy teenage girl emotions very well. I could put myself in Kelsey's shoes and along with everything that she feels is put upon her, she's actually a very strong and funny character and that shows through in the writing.

Krista's Review I am happy I got asked to review this book, it's very true that these emotions that a girl faces can be heart breaking and a good life lesson as well, the great thing is that Kelsey handles it well and is able to overcome and grow from these events. The thing that stood out most to me is Kelsey's exploration into the idea that one of her friends might be gay. The uncertainty that the friend and Kelsey go through about what could very well be a possibility is light-hearted and shows a deeper insight to their friendship. Starting high school can be stressful enough, but learning more about yourself in the process is mandatory. All the while finding and keeping friends that can help and encourage each other in these times of change is what really makes it

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