So, let’s say you’re 14 and you live in NYC. (Well, technically you live in Park Slope, Brooklyn, which is very close to and almost just like Manhattan… except not.) 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. The only couture in your closet is a Halloween costume your mom made out of an old laundry bag when you were 11. You’ve never been to a club or had a drink served in a martini glass or, frankly, done anything really NYC-ish at all.

You definitely don’t have any secret powers, or friends who are vampires, or magical weapons stored in your basement. You’re about as normal and totally boring as a human being living in the most exciting city on the planet could possibly be. In other words?

                                                         You’re me: Kelsey Finkelstein. 

But don’t despair, people—I’m starting high school in less than a week! This is going to be the year that I live up to all of my untapped potential—finally. I have to say… I’m feeling almost optimistic.



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


     “I have read a few books that star a girl entering high school and Kelsey is my favorite…This is the book I would have wanted to read when I was 14.”–


“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-Bank 

“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 reverIMG_1444sal, Kelsey finds that one of her many disasters has introduced her to a new guy who is, indeed, worth the wait.”
– School Library Journal


“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


“Hold on tight because this book will take you on a roller-coaster ride of broken friendships, love, and life as a high school girl in New York City. This tale of drama will leave you with a smile on your face and a new outlook on being [a] teen.”
– VOYA, teen reviewer


“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


“If you read and liked Brent Crawford’s Carter books or Don Calame’s Swim the Fly, I truly think [Freshman Year] is the female equivalent to those stories … I think this book is going to have great appeal for younger teen readers. Meredith Zeitlin, you’ve come into the YA world with a bang.”
– YA Librarian Tales


“Kelsey is a freaking riot … 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.”
– The Last Word

“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


“Kelsey, without a doubt, is one of the most believably real and lovable characters I’ve ever met… Hilarious yet heart-felt, with amazing characters and awkward, so very real situations, Freshman IMG_1447Year & Other Unnatural Disasters is a must. Period.”
– YA Bound

“Perhaps my favorite thing about this book is that Zeitlin doesn’t pull any punches or try to sugar-coat the high school experience … [she] gives the reader a chance to see what life is like for a real girl who is dealing with real problems, and she does it in such a way that we as readers actually forget we are reading the story of a fictional character. Reading this book will not only make [a] teenage girl laugh, but it will give her someone she can relate to as well. I do have one question, though. Where has Meredith Zeitlin been hiding and when can we expect more from her?”
– Mom Reads My Books


“Oh man, this is exactly what high school is like! Zeitlin gets it down to a T.”
– Books From A Shelf (Lauren, age 17)

“Kelsey Finkelstein is one of the most realistic 14-year-olds I’ve ever seen — she’s the high school freshman I wish I was and she’s the girl I can still relate to today. She’s witty, sarcastic, and she makes so many of the same mistakes we all make — the mistakes we have to make in order to get through high school. And she can also be petty, stupid, and immature. And I loved every minute of reading about her life.”
– YA ReadsIMG_1446


Freshman Year & Other Unnatural Disasters is a squirm-inducing, chortle-fest of loveliness. This is just one of those great books that has a little something for everyone. Younger readers will find a hilarious comrade in Kelsey Finkelstein, as she navigates the murky waters of high school. Older readers will enjoy a cringe-worthy reminiscence to their own high school days, and fondly read Kelsey bumbling along her way to discovering what really matters in life.”
– Alpha Reader

“Not only does Kelsey have a permanent invite to my sleepover party, but any book Meredith Zeitlin writes next is going on my auto-read list (meaning, I don’t care what the blurb says, I’m reading that sucker)… I am also ordering a copy of Freshman Year & Other Unnatural Disasters for my library where I will place it in the hands of every teen girl who enters the building.”
– Small Review


“After reading this fun and quirky novel, I’m still sitting here bursting out in laughter … Freshman Year and Other Unnatural Disasters is a light and enjoyable read that will have you clutching your stomach, laughing non-stop until you’re in tears! I absolutely ADORED this!”
cameraimage– Shiirleyy’s Bookshelf

“Meredith Zeitlin is a genius. She has perfectly captured everything it is to be a teenage girl … She artfully handled issues like drinking, peer pressure, sex, and first dates … and the only fault I can find in her story is that it wasn’t long enough. I could have kept reading this book forever.”
– The Irish Banana Review


“If Meredith Zeitlin could have written my Freshman year, it probably would have been the best year of my life.”
– Booklopedia

“If this book were a freshman and I were a senior, I would totally invite it to my parties and let this book hang out with me and my older friends. Because even though I would normally feel too mature for this book, this book has proved itself to be funny and cool enough to be around.”
– Forever Young Adult


“The entire time I was devouring this treat of a novel, I couldn’t help but giggle at its accuracy. Zeitlin’s fresh and quirky outlook on 9th grade hits the nail right on the head while also tickling her reader’s funny bone. Packed with both absurd shenanigans and relatable scenarios, Freshman Year is a wonderful chance to reminiscence about your freshman year. We’ve all been there, and the memories come right back with Kelsey’s blunt outlook on high school. If you’re a fan of light-hearted chick lit, then I’d definitely recommend Zeitlin’s funky novel.”
– Reading Addict


“I couldn’t put it down! Meredith Zeitlin flawlessly meshes the high school mentality and drama with refreshing and witty humor.”
– YA Bibliophile


“Zeitlin has written something truly spectacular… there’s a realistic serving of heartbreak and anger to balance the moments of hilarity that will quite literally have you laughing out loud. Immediately you’ll fall in love with Kelsey’s narration and be flipping through the book as fast as you can to see how her year ends! Gripping and 100% entertaining, this could-happen-in-real-life tale will charm you with it’s vivacity and endearingness.”
– Read Me Bookmark Me Love MeIMG_1443