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Freshman Year & Other Unnatural Disasters Hardcover – March 1, 2012

53 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


Freshman Year & Other Unnatural Disasters is a lighter but still accomplished look into adolescent female friendship ... Love triangles, unfortunate photographs, soccer bullies and a mother who thinks she understands ‘Typical Adolescent Behavior’ are just some of the obstacles [Kelsey Finkelstein] runs across in this sitcom-paced, laugh-out-loud book."” —NPR

“Zeitlin offers a story that encompasses all the horrors and thrills of starting high school ... A hilarious look at freshman year, this story serves to prep the incoming for the best and the worst high school has to offer.” —Booklist

“Kelsey is a funny, likable heroine who experiences realistic school and relationship problems that any teenage girl will be able to relate to…[an] enjoyable diversion.”—Kirkus Reviews

“Readers will enjoy this humorous story where friendship, family, and self-acceptance are much more important than plans for greatness. This coming-of-age novel will not only entertain but also educate those transitioning into high school. It is a quick read bound to appeal to a female audience.” —VOYA

“As the humorous mishaps mount in this laugh-out-loud coming-of-age novel, Kelsey gains insight and perspective through introspection and dialogue with friends. The values of good friendships are further evidenced in the honesty Kelsey and Cass show when they reconcile. In a sweet reversal, Kelsey finds that one of her many disasters has introduced her to a new guy who is, indeed, worth the wait.”—School Library Journal


“Cute and sassy, open-minded and truthful, Kelsey Finkelstein will be your new best friend.”—E. Lockhart, author of The Boyfriend List and The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks


“Meredith Zeitlin accurately portrays the rocky road of starting high school with humor and heart. Kelsey's character is realistic and believable, navigating disaster after disaster with strength and her trademark wry commentary. Friends, foes, drama, and love—Freshman Year is full of it!”—Erin Dionne, author of Models Don’t Eat Chocolate Cookies

“When I was transitioning into high school I would have been better off had I read Freshman Year & Other Unnatural Disasters. Kelsey and I would definitely have been friends.” —Kristen Schaal, comedian featured on The Daily Show and Flight of the Conchords


About the Author

Meredith Zeitlin is a voiceover artist who has worked in commercials, film and television shows. She lives in Brooklyn, New York.


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Product Details

  • Age Range: 12 and up
  • Grade Level: 7 and up
  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers (March 1, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0399254234
  • ISBN-13: 978-0399254239
  • Product Dimensions: 8.2 x 5.8 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (53 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,220,931 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Meredith Zeitlin is the author of two books for young people (so far!) and a regular contributor to Ladygunn Magazine. She's also a voiceover artist who can be heard on commercials, cartoons, and TV shows. She lives in Brooklyn like everyone else.

Follow her on twitter at @zeitlingeist or pay her a visit at

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Alpha Reader on March 8, 2012
Format: Hardcover
Some are born popular, some achieve popularity, and others (like Kelsey Finkelstein) intend to thrust themselves into popularity in their freshman year of high school. Or, at least, that was the plan.

`Freshman Year & Other Unnatural Disasters' is the debut young adult novel by Meredith Zeitlin.

Sometimes I think I might be getting a little too old for certain YA books... I don't get `Bieber fever', I have no intentions of listening to `One Direction' and I have started asking sales assistants to "please turn the music down just a smidge?" in clothes shops. Then a book comes along that reminds me I can still be young at heart, and live vicariously (and happily) through a character and be transported back to a time when high school was the be all and end all. `Freshman Year & Other Unnatural Disasters' is just such a book, and Kelsey Finkelstein is just such a protagonist.

When the book opens, things are looking up for Kelsey. She has grand plans and high hopes - her arch nemesis has moved away, she's going to be the star of her school soccer team and resident boy-crush, Jordan, is in her sights. High school, Kelsey is sure, is going to be the turning point in her life...

And then it all goes horribly wrong, naturally... Kelsey is betrayed by one of her best friends. She's cast as a bearded fat man in her school play and she lost an arch nemesis, only to gain a new one in high school. So much for grand plans and high hopes.

Zeitlin's book is a frolicking joy ride through the pitfalls of high school, but it's also a book to prompt reminiscence. Kelsey's story is a page-turner, mostly because her bumbling ways will hark you back to your own high school days...
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on August 17, 2012
Format: Hardcover
This is one of those rare, effortlessly silly, feel-good books. I giggled throughout the whole thing and by the time I was finished reading this book, I had such a happy smile on my face!

Kelsey Finkelstein is one funny, real, honest character. I liked her spunk, that mouth of hers that always managed to get her into trouble, the attitude that is only found in 14-year-olds, and of course her stream of bad luck that caused one hilarious incident after another. Everything about her was just so believable! Kelsey is one of those characters that many will be able to relate to whether it is the fact that she is trying to find her own place in high school, the fact that things just don't seem to want to go her way, or that she has three great best friends that are there for her. Just trust me when I say you will have something in common with this girl!

When my best friend asked me what this book was about, I simply replied "It reminded me of freshman year." At the time she laughed at my response but I honestly couldn't think of a better way to describe it. Kelsey goes through all these changes and stresses that come with high school and nothing is easy for her. Whether it is an upperclassman that has it out for her or a mystery man whose purpose is to humiliate her with random pictures in the newspaper, she handles it all so, while maybe not well, at least with a grand amount of humor. The book included all those awkward, unsure moments that I had during my freshman year. There were more serious things like what one of her closest friends is going through to the sillier stuff like trying to make it as goalie through every soccer game.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Paige Bradish on July 24, 2012
Format: Hardcover
** spoiler alert ** So i got this book as part of DAC ARC Tours and it was really good. I wasn't sure what it was going to be like at first but i'm glad i ended up signing up because it was very entertaining. The characters and the plot i loved so much! and after reading this i can't wait to read more from the author! Now some of the characters really pissed me (One in particular) and some of them i just got a kick out of. My favorite kind of books are the ones where i'm able to laugh smile and feel sad at different points and Meredith Zeitlin but that in this book beautifully.

Part of me wishes i read this book last year because i was a freshman myself last year and for some reason i feel like i would of enjoyed the book that much more if i had. But don't get me wrong i'm not complaining! Kelsey was definitely a great character and i could picture her being a real person. You know how you read those books and you find a character and you just can't picture them ever living? Yeah that was definitely not the case in this book. Kelsey was definitely a person in my eyes. She was just starting High School, had a major crush on a popular guy, was bullied by some busy eye browed girl, and betrayed by one of her best friends. Sounds a lot like High School doesn't it?

I loved all of Kelsey's friends they reminded me so much of mine. Even Cassidy reminded me of one of my old friends because something similar happened. It wasn't as bad but very similar. I love when you can relate your life a little to the book your reading its always cool. Em which was basically Kelsey's best friend was awesome she was always there for Kelsey even when she was dealing with her own problems. Jojo I really liked her i'm not sure if it's because she came out in the book but i just feel like she was awesome.
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