Kirkus Reviews QR Code
FRESHMEN by Tom Ellen


by Tom Ellen & Lucy Ivison

Pub Date: June 12th, 2018
ISBN: 978-1-5247-0178-9
Publisher: Delacorte

The first term at university is a time for making new friends, falling in love, attending parties, playing quidditch, shedding old relationships, and maybe even attending a lecture or two.

Luke and Phoebe were at school together before arriving in York; while Phoebe has had a crush on Luke for ages, he’s barely been aware of her existence. Luke and his longtime girlfriend are now separated, both by the miles and his confused feelings. Phoebe, meanwhile, cannot believe her luck as circumstances repeatedly throw them together, making her adolescent dream of a relationship with dishy Luke a real possibility. But the waters are muddied when Luke joins the soccer team: He’s uncomfortable with the misogynistic group texts that are deeply embedded in the team culture—but not enough to risk his standing with posh captain Will by doing anything about it. As the students and their respective social circles get to know one another, they learn that part of growing up is embracing even the gloriously messy, uncomfortable parts of life. While the Americanization of some vocabulary is jarring in this oh-so-English novel, it is marked by a refreshing absence of mean girl drama, well-rounded and caring boy characters, fluid writing, expert pacing, and genuine humor. Main characters, other than Phoebe’s Iranian-British friend, are assumed white, with ethnic diversity in background characters.

Full of heart, this is David Nicholls’ One Day for teens. (Fiction. 14-18)