Shiirleyy's Bookshelf has migrated to Dear Shirley ! I will continue to post book reviews but there will also be a lot of personal and travel-related posts :)

Guest Post with Meredith Zeitlin!

19 Mar 2012

So, I recently read this absolutely AMAZING book called Freshman Year and Other Unnatural Disasters written by the sweetest and funniest person ever - Meredith Zietlin! If you haven't heard of the book yet, GO AND SEARCH IT NOW! (Links will be provided below!) It's the cutest book ever <3 You can probably guess from the title that the book is about a certain freshman girl and the disasters she has to go through in high school.You can read my review of it HERE & check out the synopsis below!

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…

Meredith has kindly agreed to write a guest post on HER Freshman Year! To all the people who've read this book, I'm sure you've been wondering what inspired her to write such a hilariously entertaining book; perhaps her Freshman Year as disastrous as Kelsey's? Did the events that happened in the book actually happen to her as well?'re about to find out!


Oh, freshman year. It's such a singular experience, isn't it? It's not at all the same as freshman year of college, for instance, because that's got the anxiety of being at a new school coupled with the excitement of being on one's own as an adult for the first time. And no one knows anyone, for the most part – so there's this team spirit about the whole thing. And it's not like the first year of middle school, either, because then you're still just into the double digits, age-wise. There's pressure to be cool, of course, but it's not quite as intense as it will be in later years. You can slide into middle school pretty seamlessly, as things go.

But being a freshman in high school? The main thing about it is that no matter who you are – what clique you're part of, what clubs you're in, what team you're on, what guy you date – you're going from being a LORD OF THE MIDDLE SCHOOL to being a lame little baby hanging onto the lowest rung of the totem pole for dear life. And that is no fun. And it makes you feel like you have to scramble and prove to everyone around you how cool you are.

And that stinks.

I couldn't think of a better situation to throw poor, beleaguered Kelsey Finkelstein into. I mean, can you? After all, she's a girl with so many ideas, who so badly wants to be liked and to impress, to take part and really do things in a big way. Why not give her a situation where she's practically bound to fail?!

I'm a mean author, huh? But the thing is... Kelsey is me. Was me. (Is me.) So I knew she was going to be okay in the end, and that all those disasters would help her be a stronger person with an even better sense of humor about herself. (Which is something she's going to need to keep on hand for the rest of her life, lemme tell ya.) Does that make me any less horrible?
See, my freshman year was no exception to the rule of terrifying freshmanhood. I started at a new school that year – an all girls' school, mind you – and had to deal with all the usual stuff plus not knowing anyone. I was a mess, naturally, and had all my I HAVE A GREAT PERSONALITY, CAN'T YOU TELL?! defense shields up from the moment I walked through the door. Of course, I say that now, looking back from a distance of many years. At the time, I thought I was fooling everyone into seeing a totally confident and awesome gal who hardly minded her horrible bangs, braces, and the nose she hadn't grown into yet. Oh, the magic of hindsight.

And yes, I made friends and did interesting school things and had lots of fun. I also pissed off a scary junior who tortured me for the next two years (not to mention a REALLY mean teacher who held a grudge against me for four). I was in plays where insane things happened, and thought playing a sport I'd never heard of called lacrosse was a good idea, and went to a prom with a guy I barely knew who got kicked out for smoking pot and left me totally stranded. There were misunderstandings with friends and boys I agonized over and all the wrong ones who liked me and one mess after another. And that was just freshman year - the next three had plenty of their own disasters. So did the ones after that. In fact, just yesterday I realized I had invited over a hundred people to the party to celebrate the release of this book... and I gave them all the wrong address.

Is there a moral to the story? Yes. Freshman year is a good litmus test for the kind of person you can be, in a way. Pretty much everyone survives, but the strongest come out with a few battle scars and some great stories. And who doesn't like a good story, am I right? 

*giggles* I swear I'm laughing my head off right now! You gotta LOVE Freshman year, eh? Meredith's 9th year was certainly a million times more exciting than mine- but I guess going to an all-girl's school has contributed to my lack of high school drama? Soo...after reading this, are you all desperately excited to get your own copy of Freshman Year & Other Unnatural Disasters? Because I guarantee that every page will have you literally rolling on the ground laughing!

Meredith Zeitlin is a writer and voiceover artist who lives in Brooklyn with two adorable feline roommates. She also writes a column for Ladygunn Magazine, changes her hair color every few months, and has many fancy pairs of spectacles.
In case you're wondering whether any of Kelsey's experiences are based on Meredith's own, the answer is NO WAY. When she was fourteen, Meredith looked and behaved perfectly at all times, was never in a single embarrassing situation, and always rode to school on her very own unicorn.

Find Meredith:

Find Freshman Year & Other Unnatural Disasters:

hehee..check out Meredith's hilarious video! 


  1. Fun guest post! I really, really want to read Meredith's book, it sounds excellent!

    Remember when I stared at the wall for 2 hours? It was AWESOME.

    And toooooooootally loving the Game of Thrones mention! HEEYAH! So psyched for that.

    OMG I'm in LOVE with you Meredith Zeitlin! XD I definitely have to read your book asap. I"m really psyched for it now...and yes, the reviews I've seen have been AMAZING.

    Oh dear....the wrong ADDRESS!?!? EEEK. Hope...that can be fixed somehow...o_O

    Oh Shirley, my 9th year was definitely not that exciting either. :P Hooray for us having boring 9th years! XD

  3. MEREDITH!! <3 With all that I keep hearing about you and your book, I'm really starting to love you! Last year, when I was a freshman, I think it's completely safe to say that I was TERRIFIED like you were (since I came from a small school and there were more new people than there were old)! But I think mine was waaaaaay less crazy-awesome than yours -- I think that might make me a boring person LOL! Although I did get props for being the tiniest girl on the rugby team! x)

    Amazing guest post, Meredith! And Shirley, since you loved this book as much as you did, how can I NOT want to pick it up? It sounds absolutely adorable!! :) <3 Super duper excited to get my hands on it!

  4. well, i am in love with YOU GUYS!!! thanks so much for the awesome comments. mimi: fyi, one of my best friends' name is amie valentine... and there's a character named for her in the book!! alice: the cats are v pleased that you love their interview. they say: "meow." also, the party went off without a hitch... after i sent an email to everyone i ever met that basically said: "dear you guys: i'm an idiot." le sigh... ;) xoxo mz

  5. I really enjoyed Freshman Year and Other Unnatural Disaster. AWESOME post, Meredith! I'm looking froward to reading more of your works. And Oh my GOSH!!! The cats interview is soooo ADORABLE! LOVED it!

    Thanks for sharing this great post, Shirley!

  6. Great post! I would NEVER want to go back to high school, let alone Freshman year. *barf*. I'm super excited to read this one I hear it's great!!

  7. Oh damn you both. This is making me want to raed FY&OUD ten times more!! Her freshman year was definitely more exciting than ANY of mine combined LOL. And her more recent 'disaster', so many years on from freshman (so it's still possible to screw up later in life? Adulthood does not mean we achieve perfection?? SIGH.) made me laugh. I'm sure it was not so funny when everyone showed up in the wrong place, but in restrospect...? haha

    Side note: It's always so weird thinking they start high school in year 9 over in the US... when here it's primary schoon until year 6 and then straight to high school. No middle ground! I'm not sure if that's beneficial to our sanity or not haha.

  8. Agreed. WE'RE NOT PREPARED IN ANYWAY. It's just a massive shock to the system for us. @___@

  9. AHHHH, WHY DO I NOT HAVE THIS BOOK YET?? Haha, I love this post! <3 My freshman year was pretty boring actually... I was expecting tons of drama and like SUPER COOL KIDS everywhere but nope. To be honest, I get asked like at least once a week if I'm a grade nine even though I'm in eleven. Which sucks. But I guess it happens when you're short ;)

    Oh NO! I can't believe that thing with the wrong address happened... that sucks. Does that just mean no one came?! LOL.

    Seriously though, FABULOUS post both of you! I can't wait to read this one!

  10. I haven't read this yet but I SERIOUSLY NEED TO NOW!!! Meredith sounds sooo funny and if the book is even half as hilarious as this post was then I KNOW I'm going to love it! :D Though I totally understand what you mean about the lack of any high school drama, Shirley! Last year was my 9th year if we're going by AU years, and it WAS NOT COOL. So many freaking exams :S

    Anyway... AMAZING post you two! :)

    PS. OMG I LOVE MEREDITH'S HAIR <333 *squeal*

  11. Oh, this is such a funny post! She's so charming and sweet, and if Kelsey is anything like her, I can't wait! :D

  12. Great post! I am smiling from ear to ear here! Thanks for sharing this and giving me the urge to go find myself a copy of this book! :)


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