Freshmen by Tom Ellen & Lucy Ivison

My Rating: 2/5 Stars

Cover Rating: 7/10 Stars! The cover for this is super cute and why I chose to read this book in the first place. The cover made me feel like this would be a warm novel about experiences in the first year of college and falling in love.. which to say is very loosely what I got, but I wouldn’t call it warm.

Publisher: Random House Children’s

Publish Date: June 12th, 2018

Number of Pages: 367 pages

Received: Netgalley provided an e-arc in exchange for an honest review.

Purchase: Amazon


Uni beckons. Phoebe can’t wait to be a fresher – especially since her crush from school will be there too. She’ll be totally different at Uni: cooler, prettier, smarter … the perfect potential girlfriend. She’ll reinvent herself completely. But Luke’s oblivious, still reeling from the fallout of the break-up with his ex. Thrown head first into a world of new friends, parties and social media disasters – can Phoebe and Luke survive the year, let alone find each other?

Opening Sentence: “I was doing my best to focus on what Arthur was saying, but the buzzing in my pocket kept distracting me.”


So, as you can see by my rating that I disliked this book. It wasn’t that it was “bad” per day, but it really was not my cup of tea… especially not in book form. The reviews for this book have been generally positive, but for me I just couldn’t bring myself to like it or even really care about any of the characters involved. It was like a crazy weird dream that you don’t care to remember.

My Reasoning:

Too much drama. I like a good drama story, but this was a LOT of drama and it was so back to back with too many characters involved that I felt like I had no idea about what was going on. Who has beef with who and why it even mattered.

A lot of unnecessary writing. I feel like so much of the random conversation and things could have been cut out of this book. I found myself skimming a lot, because it was a lot of overwrought stuff that I didn’t want to know and didn’t add anything to the story.

I could not keep names straight. One thing this book got right was the confusion of being a college freshman. Especially, if you are like me.. who is terrible with names. I could see that the authors tried to help this out a bit by using adjectives and other things to help you remember, but it was still too much. Every so often I would think Josh who? or is this the guy that did this or was it the other guy? I don’t remember!!

A lot of the story became forgettable. Because my brain was in the constant state of confusion that it was, I could not for the life of me remember much of the subplots, or why some characters were mad at each other, or who liked who. It was so bad that I kinda gave up on trying to keep things straight.

I laughed maybe twice. This is pitched as a laugh out loud kind of book and I only laughed a little while reading it. A lot of it wasn’t my kind of humor (which is odd because I love Melissa McCarthy and the movie she was in recently ‘Life if the party” which took place on a college campus). I guess this is why ‘mean girls’ would never be my cup of tea.

The problematic stuff was handled in a good way. This isn’t a critique. It is one of the things I appreciated about this novel. A lot of the parts that showed some of the backwards mentalities of some college students were handled in a way that showed that those things weren’t ok and should never be condoned. I also liked the way the relationship between Phoebe and Luke ended.

All in All:

I’m not going to say that Freshmen is a bad book. It’s a decent story and I know a lot of people who live for this kind of thing. Freshman is the opposite of what my taste in book is.

About the Authors:

Co-authors of the hilariously funny novels Lobsters and Never Evers, Tom Ellen and Lucy Ivison met in the sixth form and have been friends ever since.

Lucy is a school librarian at a girls school in central London where she gets most of her inspiration.

Tom is a journalist and has written for ShortList, Time Out, Vice, talkSPORT, ESPN and Viz.

Their new YA novel, Freshers, published to critical acclaim in August 2017.

Thanks for reading! What are your thoughts on Freshmen?

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-Till next time!

5 thoughts on “Freshmen: A Review

  1. It sounds like my type of read. But at the same time, if there’s so much stuff going on that you don’t remember all of it, then maybe I should possibly reconsider. Because sometimes you do want a lot of things happening so the plot stays interesting. But sometimes you don’t too because it can be a bit too much.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think that you should check out some of the other Goodreads reviews on it first. There are a lot of people who really love it and I think that if this sounds like something you’d enjoy that you consider some of their thoughts first before making that decision. I don’t want to turn anyone off to this that are more inclined to this kind of story even if I rated it so low.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Emm, this isn’t a book I would like I guess? I mean, I straight-up LOATHE drama in my books for one thing, but everything else seems to have fallen flat as well. Your review is very fair as always though, so terrific post! 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah.. I don’t know why I picked it up in the first place.. I think the cover got to me and I wanted to try reading a contemporary, but uhh.. this definitely wasn’t written for me.. there was too much and a lot of mentioning of tea too.. I mean I know this was written in the UK, but there was so.. much.. tea..


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