Margot Wood

This picture is actually taken at my freshmen dorm – Clara Dickson Hall at Cornell University.

Quick Synopsis

A vulnerable coming-of-age story about the thrilling new experiences––and missteps––of a girl’s freshman year of college.

Publisher’s Synopsis

[Movie trailer narrator voice]: In a world, where humanity has crumbled—wait, no, wrong story. Sorry! Let’s try that again.

[YA movie trailer narrator voice:] Some students enter their freshman year of college knowing exactly what they want to do with their lives. Elliot McHugh isn’t one of those people. But picking a major is the last thing on Elliot’s mind when she’s too busy experiencing all that college has to offer—from dancing all night at off-campus parties to testing her RA Rose’s patience to making new friends to having the best sex one can have on a twin-size dorm-room bed.

But she may not be ready for the fallout when reality hits. When the sex she’s having isn’t that great. When finals creep up and smack her right in the face. Or when her roommate’s boyfriend turns out to be the biggest a-hole.

Elliot may make epic mistakes, but if she’s honest with herself (and with you, dear reader), she may just find the person she wants to be. And maybe even fall in love in the process . . . Well, maybe. We’re not promising anything. We can’t give everything away ahead of time.

Book Review

Let me start by saying this book did not work for me. I do not want to dissuade anyone from reading it though. The real issue is that I tried to read a young adult coming-of-age novel knowing that immaturity annoys me and that at the current moment, I have zero sympathy for privileged idiots. 

Fresh is the story of one young woman’s freshmen year of college and what she learns along the way. And yes, the plot is really that simple, and there is not a lot more too it.

Again, I am not a YA reader, but I was gifted this book last year and I felt guilty about not having read it; so here we are. I am going to give you my honest opinion, but keep in mind that I do not have of reference as far as YA novels go.

I found the protagonist of Fresh to be very immature, even as a first year college student. At times, the things that came of of her mouth were straight up cringey and seemed incredibly childish. I am guessing that some of what I found cringe was supposed to be funny or trendy. It just did not work for me and made the story feel unbelievable.

What I did really enjoy is the writing style Wood used. The book was written as the protagonist speaking to the reader and was a bit stream of consciousness. Wood managed to pull this off, footnotes and all, without it feeling overworked or try-hard.

I also found that Fresh made me ponder the differential in reactions to assault between and across generations. I was struck just how much millennials and older generations have an acceptance and normalization of things that younger generations were taught from the get go was wrong, things we fought to be labeled as such. But there is still this lingering attitude of “you’re overreacting (to things we endured).” It was a both a positive and a negative train of thought that Fresh briefly led me down.

Overall, I found Fresh to be disappointing. For me, it was light on plot and too immature. I think if you enjoy young adult and coming-of-age novels, you will enjoy it much more than I did. There are a lot of people who really enjoyed this book. I just cannot be counted among them.


Overall Rating

Rating: 2 out of 5.


Rating: 3 out of 5.


Rating: 2 out of 5.

Character development

Rating: 2 out of 5.



Young Adult

Publication Date
August 3, 2021


Storygraph Rating
3.98 stars

Goodreads Rating
3.92 stars

Buy Now

Note: I received a gifted copy of this book from BookSparks. Regardless, I always provide a fair and honest review.

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