Today’s review is part of the official blog tour; be sure to check out the other stops on the tour – listed at the end of this post!
An adorable and hilarious story, Freshmen by Tom Ellen & Lucy Ivison captures all the ups and downs of being a college freshman.
Phoebe can’t wait to get to college. On her own, discovering new things, no curfew . . . she’ll be free. And she’ll be totally different: cooler, prettier, smarter . . . the perfect potential girlfriend. Convenient: the only person from her high school also going to York is her longtime crush, Luke.
Luke didn’t set out to redefine himself, but as soon as he arrives on campus, he finds himself dumping his long-term long-distance girlfriend. And the changes don’t stop there. In fact, being on a soccer team is the only thing that stays the same.
Just when things start looking up (and Phoebe and Luke start hooking up), drama looms on the horizon. Rumors swirl about the Wall of Shame, a secret text chain run by Luke’s soccer team, filled with compromising photos of girls. As the women on campus determine to expose the team and shut down the account, Luke and Phoebe find themselves grappling with confusing feelings and wondering how they’ll ever make it through freshman year.
Ellen and Ivison have masterfully captured all the energy and intensity that comes with first going off to college. The expectations, the anticipation, the freedom and fears, friendships and more. There’s really something wholly unique about that first year at college, and it’s a time in our lives that I’m still endlessly fascinated by — and this book has really captured all the little nuances of that experience.
I loved the dual narratives of Phoebe and Luke; the alternating POVs not only gives readers a better understanding of these two characters, but it helps show that the freshmen experience isn’t the same for everybody. Some young people thrive in the new environment, while others falter. These two perspectives were both honest and refreshing to read.
Freshmen also unapologetically shows that college isn’t just about academics. When I went off to college, my dad told me: “College is 30% academic, and 70% social. Don’t forget that.” And maybe his numbers aren’t an exact science, but his point was and is valid: college isn’t just about studying; it’s also about living on your own for the first time. Having the freedom to make your own choices (and figuring out what to do when you utterly fail); getting drunk and having sex and meeting new people and figuring out who you are and what kind of person you want to be. Phoebe and Luke and their friends show this beautifully.
I adored this fresh and realistic take on college life. It was funny, irreverent, and uplifting. Look for it in stores now.
TOM ELLEN and LUCY IVISON met at the end of high school and quickly became sweethearts. Though they broke up in college, they remain best friends. Lucy is a librarian at a girls’ school in central London, where she gets most of her inspiration. Tom is a journalist and has written for Time Out, Vice, ESPN, Glamour, and many other publications.
Their first book, A Totally Awkward Love Story, was partially inspired by their own high school relationship, with Tom writing Sam’s chapters and Lucy writing Hannah’s. Freshmen is their second novel together. Follow them on Twitter at @lucyivison.