Thursday, March 1

Freshman Year & Other Unnatural Disasters: Book Review

by Meredith Zeitlin
G.P Putnam & Sons
March 1st 2012
Young Adult/ Contemporary

Kelsey is entering high school this year and has made it her goal to lift herself out of obscurity. She has made plans to change her situation that all begin with soccer. It isn't easy when you are a lowly Freshman, but before long she finds herself in a slew of very interesting circumstances.

The audience for this book is definitely young teens, as certain thoughts and situations caused some eye rolls on my part. This book is very firmly rooted in teenage emotion and dialogue, if a bit exaggerated. Kelsey takes us through the emotional highs and lows common during the teenage years. She exaggerates the importance of any given situation and possesses the usual boy obsession. The character does mature through the year and the language becomes easier to follow. Also, some anticipation builds as we wait to see what could possibly happen next.
The book is based in the technological now and will out-date itself before long. This is shown through the all consuming use of cells phones, as well as some not so subtle mentionings of current events, but the emotional and more common high school situations are easy to relate to no matter the reader's age. Who hasn't experienced at least some of the same anxieties and concerns?
It also showcases the communication divide between parent and teenager. The parent-teenager dynamic is full of misunderstanding. Some of the things Kelsey would say to her mother were surprisingly innocent if misguided.
By far the best part was reading the many adventures Kelsey plunges headfirst into as well as how she matures and handles everything. She asserts herself as a worthy character to read. There are even a good amount of laugh-worthy moments toward the end of the story. The book won't be a classic, due to the technology, but it is a great read to help adults remember what those trying years were like. For teenagers, it perhaps relates a message that everything isn't quite as tragic as it might at first seem. Also, you are what you decide to make of yourself.

Content: Mild swearing, underage drinking, underage drugs, and peer-pressure