Blog Tour: Freshmen by Tom Ellen & Lucy Ivison

Rating: 4 stars
Release Date: June 12, 2018
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Genre: young adult contemporary romance
Format/Source: ARC, TLA conference; finished copy, publisher
Status: standalone

Disclaimer: I was given a copy of this book by the publisher at a work conference and volunteered to be part of the tour. This does not affect the content of my review.

Getting in is just the beginning.

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.

I feel extremely satisfied with my experience reading Freshmen because I had an expectation of what it was going to be, and the book met my expectation EXACTLY. Freshman is fun and funny and low-stakes and honest and just a good read.

One thing I really loved about Freshman is how much it captures the sense of loneliness and confusion college brings. Sure, you meet really interesting people, and there are always a ton of parties, but it's hard to not feel like you don't quite measure up and to feel directionless for a bit. I really appreciate how Luke in particular feel unmoored. I wish someone had prepared me for that feeling, and I love that there's this movement in YA to show more of the early college experience.

Additionally, Freshmen has a great realistic, honest approach to romance & hooking up & friends with benefits that you don't see often. I LOVE romance. Love love LOVE! Buuuut the notion of The One and finding them really early in your life is not applicable for like 98% of the population. Freshmen shows that a great high relationship sometimes can't last through the changes brought on by adulthood and college and long distance. Also... it's okay to have great chemistry with someone when you first meet but then realize you're not compatible later on or realize you're better off as friends or that it's not meant to be Right Now But Maybe Later. And it's not just romantic relationships that were explored honestly. There are so many different kinds of friendships explored in this book that it would literally take a paragraph to describe them all, but they were approached with a sense of acceptance and truth that really resonated with me.

I also love the relatively low stakes of this book. There is a plot point regarding the posting of sleeping girls' faces in a group chat, and readers see the consequences for both one of the victims and the primary perpetrator, but it's very personal to them. It doesn't explode into a media frenzy. It's just about these students handling this situation at their university.  And that's OKAY. And again: the relationships are more fluid so there's not a huge YOU MUST PICK THE ONE moment. But it also made me think about the responsibilities we have if our friends are dicks. Like a few people know that a certain character is a heinous festering wound of a person and say things like, "uhhh, he, uhhhh, yeah, so...." and I was like, "JUST TELL [character] HE IS HORRIBLE. STOP DANCING AROUND IT". Do you betray your friend or do you protect someone who is unwittingly setting themselves up for trouble?

I definitely agree with Selena Falcon, who hosted yesterday's tour stop, that there could absolutely be a sequel to Freshmen or a companion. Although it would probably age out of YA, I would absolutely be down with Tom & Lucy writing Sophomores and Juniors. It wouldn't even have to be from Phoebe & Luke's pov this time because the friend groups of the B Dorm and D Dorm are so wide and intriguing that I'd love to see more from any of the characters: Frankie (obviously my fave) and Ed, Negin, Connor Arthur, Josh (JOSH *heart eyes emoji*), Becky, Liberty, Stephanie. So many great characters that I enjoyed seeing from both Phoebe and Luke's pov that it would be fun to see them again in another book as a supporting or even main character.

Freshmen is a fun read that I thoroughly enjoyed. It can stand alone, which is great, but I'd love to see more of these characters and their ridiculous York Met shenanigans. Definitely recommend if you're looking for something lighter and humorous.

Purchase Links:
About the Authors:
Co-authors of the hilariously funny novels A Totally Awkward Love Story 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, Freshmen, released June 12, 2018.

Author Links:

I'm giving away a hardcover of Freshmen! Open to the US. Ends midnight June 27th. Please enter via Rafflecopter below; winner will be chosen at random, and odds are determined by number of entries. I reserve the right to disqualify any entries that are not in accordance with my giveaway policies as stated in the Review & Site Policies tab at the top of the page. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. I just finished The Mortification of Fovea Munson which was laugh out loud funny. I also enjoyed A Totally Awkward Love Story and remember laughing in the backseat as we drove my daughter to band camp.

    1. Oh, that sounds super cute! I feel like middle grade books have more opportunity to be funny. YA always seems so serious, but bring on the funny!

  2. I haven't read a funny book in a while! The History of Jane Doe had some funny moments, but it was still a sad story.

  3. "What's your favorite funny book?" "Brave New World"!

  4. I keep seeing this book everywhere and it sounds great. I just may have to pick it up. I do need a fun read!

    Thanks for sharing,
    ~Brittany @ Brittany's Book Rambles

    1. This one is definitely fun! I wanted to go to a party where everyone switches costume parts and eat fairy bread and play quidditch!

  5. That soccer team sounds pretty creepy--it all sounds very "of the moment"!