Sunday, March 18, 2012

Guest Post: Meredith Zeitlin (Author of Freshman Year & Other Unnatural Disasters)

This week I am happy to have Meredith Zeitlin, author of Freshman Year & Other Unnatural Disasters, stopping by the blog. Hope y'all will give her a warm welcome.

About the author:
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.

Five of My Favorite Authors and the Books that Made Them So!
AUDREY NIFFENEGGER: The Time-Traveler's Wife. This book is magic. It destroyed me – first, because I simply couldn't believe that the author had gotten it all to work out so perfectly. I would go flipping back to previously read scenes, thinking, “There's no way there isn't a mistake here somewhere..” but there were no mistakes. The humor in this book, the language, the images, the raw emotion, the sex, the visceral pain of loss – it's all there. I cried so hard when I got to the end (and, FYI, I almost never cry, period) that a woman on the subway asked if I needed help. This is probably the most perfect book I've ever read.
(Do not ever mention the movie of this book to me. No, I haven't seen it, and I certainly never will. There's simply no point.)
SHEL SILVERSTEIN: Lafcadio, The Lion Who Shot Back. Yes, everyone loves Uncle Shelby. But for me, this is his best book, and one I have loved for a thousand years. Go read it right now, if you haven't. It's about what it means to be human, and what it means to fit into your own skin. It's funny and strange and brilliant.

FIONA WALKER: French Relations. I bought this book at Heathrow Airport when I was 18 and wanted something juicy and fun to read for the flight back to the US. Little did I know I had stumbled on the BEST BOOK EVER. It's just everything about a fabulous chick-litty, beach read only more – fashion! Scandal! Drunken midnight romps! Misunderstandings! Puns! Horses! English people! It's like Bridget Jones if she lived in a Judith Krantz world. Seriously, I know it sounds ridiculous and very unliterary, but everyone I have ever loaned my copy to (on pain of death if it not returned, btw) has agreed. Best. Book. Ever.

GREGORY MAGUIRE: Wicked. People who are only familiar with the (in my opinion, totally awful – and I say that as a fully-fledged and knowledgeable theatre geek, btw) musical version of this need to go buy the book AT ONCE. It's totally different. It's a political manifesto, and so complicated, so nuanced, so brutal... every time I read it I discover something I completely missed the last time. I think it's the best of his books (and I've read them all) - but that might be because it's the first one I read and I don't know if anything could compete afterwards.

REBECCA WELLS: The Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood. I love Rebecca Wells. I love the way she makes sentences, the ways she creates characters, and the way she tells a story. Her words are delicious. Her point of view is so specific. I think she has one of the purest voices in fiction – and I love Southern fiction. The Prince of Tides was a favorite novel when I was growing up, and her stories remind of it in all the best ways. (And no, I haven't seen the movie version of this either! You can't make me!)
It's funny, because I just realized that three of my choices are books that have become very well known in recent years and developed for other mediums... but I've had them on my shelf for AGES. That makes me really happy, actually. Anyway, I could do this all day, of course – but you only asked for five! Maybe if I write a second book of my own, you can ask me for five more? ;) 
Thanks, Meredith, for the awesome post! Y'all can check out my review of Freshman Year & Other Unnatural Disasters. =)
Freshman Year & Other Unnatural Disasters by Meredith Zeitlin, 2012. Published by G.P. Putnam.
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…
You can haunt Meredith Zeitlin at-

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