by Tom Ellen, Lucy Ivison


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A laugh-out-loud, realistic portrayal of a freshman year in college for fans of Emergency Contact, Broad City, and The Bold Type.

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. . . .

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.

"Flirty, bawdy, sloppy, and buckets of fun." —Booklist

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781524701819
Publisher: Random House Children's Books
Publication date: 06/18/2019
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 368
Sales rank: 115,872
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.25(h) x 0.78(d)
Lexile: HL650L (what's this?)
Age Range: 14 Years

About the Author

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. Tom and Lucy live in the UK, and you can follow her on Twitter at @lucyivison.

Read an Excerpt


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

If I’d counted right--and I was pretty sure I had--this was the eleventh buzz since we’d arrived at the Jutland school’s bar for the clothes swap party. The eleventh. A sudden rush of anger cut through me. Did she really expect me to spend the first night of freshman orientation standing outside talking to her? Wasn’t the whole point of this week to talk to new people?

The buzzing stopped as Arthur pushed a luminous blue shot and a pint of lager along the bar to me. He was wearing a bright-red bathrobe over a sleeveless denim jacket, his sweaty black hair messily tucked into a yellow swimming cap. I had on my mum’s 2007 Bon Jovi tour T-shirt under a massive multicolored Mexican poncho. We both looked absolutely ridiculous. But then, so did everybody else. Even the bartender was wearing a kimono.

The DJ yelled, “Jutland, make some noise!” and I realized Arthur’s mouth was moving again, so I leaned in and tried to concentrate.

“I was supposed to live off-campus this year,” he was shouting over the music. “Me and some friends had a house and everything. Even put the deposit down.”

“So what happened?” I yelled back.

“It got fucking condemned. Like, literally, two weeks ago. Asbestos. So that’s why I’ve ended up back in B Dorm next door to you.” He did his shot and winced. “Still, could be worse. Most second years don’t get to do Frosh Week twice, do they?”

I nodded and drank my shot. It tasted like vodka-flavored toothpaste. “What is asbestos?” I shouted.

Arthur downed half his pint in one go. “It’s this sort of invisible presence that lives inside your house.”

“Like Wi-Fi?”

“A bit, actually, yeah.” He nodded. “But Wi-Fi that silently kills you in your sleep.”

“Right. Shit.”

The Klaxon horn went off, and he shrugged out of his bathrobe while I gave him my poncho. The bartender started lining up more blue shots on a tray as Beth came over with Barney. Or maybe it wasn’t Barney. Was it Tom? Tom also had red hair. It might have been Tom.

“Beth! Barney!” Arthur yelled.

“Just seeing if you guys needed a hand,” said Barney-Not-Tom cheerfully. He was short and skinny with a soft country accent and tons of orangey freckles. Beth was almost a foot taller and had a sort of strict “valedictorian” vibe about her that was nicely accentuated by the Harry Potter robe she was wearing.

“One, two, three, four . . .” Arthur clamped the shots one by one between Barney’s fingers.

“I’d rather have a gin and tonic than another of those shots, to be honest,” Beth said sharply. “They’re like drinking Listerine.”

“No worries,” said Arthur. “One G and T coming up. We’ll bring it over with the rest of them.”


Arthur leaned in to me as they walked back to the table. “You wanna watch that Barney, by the way.”


“He’s a labeler. I saw him putting a Post-it note on his Nutella. We had a labeler in our hall last year. Total nutjob. Got kicked out in the second semester for shooting a squirrel with a BB gun. He was a chemistry major, too.”

“Barney’s studying geography, though, isn’t he?” I’d only managed to remember that because me, him and Arthur were the only ones not doing chemistry in our hall.

Arthur finished his pint and slapped the plastic cup back down on the bar. “Yeah, well, it’s all the same Big Bang Theory ballpark, isn’t it? Except that geography is basically just coloring in. What are you doing, again?”

“English. You’re philosophy, right?”

“Yeah.” He ran a hand across his patchy black stubble. “I’m wrestling with the big-boy questions: What is the nature of truth? How can we find meaning in a Godless universe? How hot is that girl chatting with the DJ?” I looked at the girl in question, who was indeed hot. He picked up the tray, which was now dangerously overloaded with drinks. “Shall we get back?”

My pocket started buzzing again. Number twelve. I pulled my phone out. “I’ll be there in one sec. Sorry, man, just need to quickly get this.”

I slipped out the main door and the cold hit me hard. I pressed the phone to my ear. “Hey.”

“Hey.” Her voice sounded wrinkled and far away. The way it’d sounded pretty much all summer.

“Look, I’m sorry I didn’t pick up, it’s just--”

“I know,” she said. “I know you’re busy.”

“I’m not busy, it’s just . . . It’s the first night. Obviously, everyone’s out.”

“I know.”


“So maybe I’d better go back in.”

“OK. Have you met anyone nice?”

“The people in my suite in my dorm are all right. They’ve pretty much only talked about chemistry so far, because that’s what they all want to major in, but they seem nice. And this one guy Arthur seems cool. He’s a sophomore, though.”

“That sounds good. Cool. I . . . I just wanted to check everything was OK. It felt like we didn’t really sort stuff out properly this morning before you left. I didn’t want you to leave when it was weird between us.”

I sighed. “It’s been weird between us all summer.”

More silence. That was the first time either of us had actually admitted that out loud. For some reason it felt easier to say knowing she was two hundred miles away.

She still wasn’t speaking, so I kept going; the booze and the pocket buzzing and the two hundred miles making me spill stuff that had been locked up firmly in my head until now. “And, I mean, the thing is, it’s not gonna get any less weird now that I’m here, is it?”

“What do you mean?” she said quietly.

“I mean, I’m here and you’re there. We won’t see each other that much.”

“Yeah, but you said, at Reece’s party, remember, you said we could make it work?”

“I know, but . . . if this is us making it work, then maybe it won’t work.”

I heard her inhale sharply, but I carried on. “Like, I’m supposed to be working at other stuff, too, y’know? Meeting people. Making friends. But instead I’m standing out here talking to you. Do you really want me to spend the whole three years on the phone with you?”

“You’re being a dick, Luke,” she muttered.

I was, a little. But I was also right.

“Look, I’m sorry. It’s stupid to talk now,” I sighed. “I’m a little drunk. I’m wearing a bathrobe. I’ll call you tomorrow.” I wasn’t quite sure why I’d added the bathrobe information.

“I don’t want to talk about this tomorrow,” she said, her voice getting lumpy with tears. “I want to talk about it now.”

“Well, I don’t.”

“If you’ve got something to say, then just say it. Have you met someone else?”

This actually made me laugh out loud. “Of course I haven’t fucking met someone else, Abbey! I’m out here talking to you! How can I meet someone else?”

“Do you want to meet someone else, though?”

“I want to go back inside.”

I hung up before she could respond. But my pocket was buzzing again as soon as I stepped back in.


Excerpted from "Freshmen"
by .
Copyright © 2019 Tom Ellen.
Excerpted by permission of Random House Children's Books.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Freshmen 3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
Aditi-ATWAMB More than 1 year ago
Reading Freshers is probably the MOST fun I’ve had reading a book in a while. I went in with no expectations of what I would get and honestly, I REALLY REALLY LIKED THIS BOOK. More importantly, this book made me LAUGH. Multiple times. Not just smile or THINK the thing happening was funny, but actually ACTUALLY laugh. Things that I completely loved: 1) Feminist movements that involved taking on toxic jocks and their “it’s just a joke” practices perfectly (!) 2) Quidditch society (with brooms and flat volleyballs) that ACTUALLY GOT COMPETITIVE (!!) 3) Arguing over Hogwarts houses (because, who doesn’t, really?) 4) Unconditional female friendships (!) This is actually the second book I’ve read by Tom Ellen and Lucy Ivinson – I read Lobsters many years ago. While the concept of that book was nice enough, the actual execution felt long and dragged out and THERE WAS JUST SO MUCH ANGST? Freshers, on the other hand, was a fun, real and hilarious book to read that I absolutely enjoyed. I love that it took on so many important topics that college (and high school) level girls face, how jarring it is to make the jump from school to university, how to find real friends amongst all the drunken haziness, and how the boy you’ve been crushing over from a distance may just be better off in your head. I LOVED Pheobe, Frankie and Negin and the rest of D Block. I also ADORED the chemistry between Josh and Pheobe and honestly, I had a great time reading this book as a whole. Would I recommend it? YES! I had such a fun time reading this book that kept me smiling of thinking through the 300+ pages and if you’re looking for a contemporary read that’s more than your average YA, READ FRESHERS.
shantaH More than 1 year ago
This story comes from two pov's Phoebe and Luke. They are both Freshmen attending the same university, and we get to see the struggles of dating and dealing with the changes in college. Such an authentic look at college life and the struggles of transitioning into an adult and finding yourself. I feel like this a story anyone can relate even if you never attended college. It deals with awkward 1st and making lifelong friends and I really enjoyed all the characters and how human they were.
TheBookNerd5 More than 1 year ago
This review is for an ARC and is my unbiased, honest opinion. YIKES! I truly wanted to love this book. I think the cover is amazing, the synopsis sounded great, etc. I was really excited to read this one but it just did not work for me. The synopsis had me thinking the book would go this way but it ended up going another, if that makes any sense. I also struggled with the amount of people in this book. I literally could not keep up with who was who, who was with who, etc. I eventually stopped trying. Also the drama was a bit too much. It seemed like there was ALWAYS something going on. It was just too much for me. I did struggle with connecting with the main characters. I just didn’t care one way or the other about them. I never felt invested in their lives. I will say, I enjoyed the friendship between Phoebe, Frankie and Negin (I hope that’s the three who had the epic friendship anyway). I loved how they were always there for each other, even through some very embarrassing times. If you’ve read the book, you know which scene I’m referring to. That’s true friendship right there. I think the biggest issue was Phoebe being in love with Luke. The same guy she went to school with but only spoke to him 5 times in 7 years. She was very much in love/obsessed with him. Turns out it was just the idea of Luke that she was in love with. I mean, how else could you love someone you don’t know and have barely spoken to? Luke Taylor wasn’t someone I wanted Phoebe with anyway. He was this self centered, constantly wavering jerk. He didn’t know what he wanted but wanted to keep everyone on standby just in case he decided to lean towards them for THAT day. I’m not sure if we were supposed to root for Phoebe and Luke but I definitely didn’t. There was one thing that I really enjoyed in this book. Abbey and Luke trading random greeting cards with each other on special occasions was the cutest thing I’ve ever seen. It’s definitely something I want to start doing haha. Overall, I truly wanted to love and enjoy this book. I tried my hardest to look at the positive side of things but it just didn’t work out.