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Please Don't Kill the Freshman
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Please Don't Kill the Freshman

3.56  ·  Rating details ·  971 ratings  ·  109 reviews
I wrote a story about you. Well, sort of, see, it's mostly about me. Well, entirely about me, but here's the catch: I'm you. No, really, I mean it. Not like that transcendentalism stuff we're learning in English class, but really, truly, I'm you. I know what it feels like when your heart beats so hard against your white bone ribs, when you sing in the shower with soap in y ...more
Hardcover, 295 pages
Published October 1st 2003 by HarperTempest (first published 2001)
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Average rating 3.56  · 
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 ·  971 ratings  ·  109 reviews

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Jul 11, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Working with Zoe Trope, publishing her chapbook version of PDKTF, and helping her get her deal with HarperCollins before she was even out of high school are probably the most exciting moments I've had as a publisher. To top it all off, Zoe remains a funny, sweet, and talented young woman. If you can find the old Future Tense pamphlet version you're lucky. There were only about 3,000 made (I'm not sure because I lost much stapling).
Aug 02, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: teenagers, adults who think teenagers are ignorant
I find it funny how some people who review this think its supposed to make sense.

It's not.

It's a diary. Its a confession that being a teenager is difficult, and something I think that many adults seem to forget. We teenagers think life is so difficult that no one can comprehend it, except for other teenagers. And for most of my generation's parents, they tend to write us off as complaining little children who don't know what we're talking about.

This book, I think, is one of those things that let
Sep 27, 2007 rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: sad 12 year olds.
So disappointing. The original chapbook (published by Kevin Sampsell of Future Tense Press) inspired me when I was fourteen (four years ago), but this extended version overstretches Trope's initial charm and takes the reader nowhere. She is talented and could have done better.
Jul 03, 2012 rated it liked it
This book could go on a Goodreads shelf titled: books written by authors I take Pilates with. However, since Zoe Trope hasn't yet written a second novel and there are no other authors in my Pilates class, it would be a very thin shelf. I've been interested in this book since its release several years ago (Portland setting! Written by actual high school teenager!) but have just now gotten around to reading it. It was tough going the first 50 pages. I almost stopped reading, overwhelmed by the voi ...more
Jared Della Rocca
Dec 19, 2013 rated it did not like it
I think I've officially arrived at the "I'm too old for..." party. Yeah, I don't understand most rap music, I forget the difference between Twilight and Teen Wolf (which one had Team Jacob?), and The Voice, American Idol, America's Got Talent---it all sounds like crap to me. Boy bands today (One Direction, ummm that's the only one I can think of) are basically the sons of boy bands of my generation (Backstreet Boys, again can't think of any others). And this book unfortunately falls into my "I'm ...more
Aug 03, 2012 rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: nobody
I read this book the year it came out and I probably loved it then.

But, it's funny how your perspective changes once you get older, once you learn who the "anonymous" author is and that she wrote about some of your very good friends and said some very untrue things about them.

Zoe Trope (pseudonym, first name is really Zoe, last name is different but I'll grant her the privacy of keeping her anonymity) graduated the same year as many of my friends at a local Oregon high school. She was writing t
Sep 26, 2010 rated it liked it
"Please Don't Kill The Freshman" is the journal of talented writer Zoe Trope during her freshman and sophomore years in high school. It was originally published as a small "chap book", but due to it's popularity and success was picked up by a large publishing company and she was asked to expand it past the original 30-something pages. It deals with some controversial issues, a chief one being the importance of discovering our sexuality during our teenage years, as well as our sexual preference. ...more
Mar 19, 2011 rated it liked it
This book is way, way outside my usual reading space. I picked it up partly because I enjoy broadening my repertoire, partly because I was curious what a successful high-school-age author has to say, and partly because the author is an Obie (and a friend of a friend).

I quite liked it, actually. The blurb on the back promised that I'd identify with the author/narrator, and indeed I did. Zoe Trope is a curious mix of the exceptional and the ordinary. Highly intelligent and amazingly sophisticated
Nov 14, 2011 rated it really liked it
Zoe Trope's memoir is unlike any book I've read before. Her writing style is so original and different: she puts into words the feelings of angsty, confused, sensitive, sexually-confused, young teenagers, yet she does it in a way that is so endearing. All the characters in her memoir are mentioned in a list at the beginning of the book and again later when the characters change. This comes in handy as she nicknames ALL of her characters-- very quirky, fitting names that she gives these people-- ...more
Eli Claire
Sep 25, 2011 rated it really liked it
I feel a bit silly writing a review for this book now that I know the author, but oh well. This book was my favorite in high school when I was a queer girl struggling with relationships and expectations and parents and school and generally feeling like a lot of stuff I was doing didn't matter. I read PDKTF several times when I was a teenager and it always resonated with me and I remember reading that the author lived in Portland, OR and thinking "that's so close to me!" Rereading the book as an ...more
Feb 28, 2011 rated it it was ok
I must admit I picked up this book because of the cover, and when I read the back, I was disgusted that someone three years younger than me already had a memoir published, so I read it out of a mixture of curiosity and jealousy.

At first, I had really high hopes because I often like anything high school (consider where I still spend all my weekdays) and the fact Trope used hilarious nicknames instead of people's actual names. However, this stopped amusing me when it got confusing.

There were som
Nov 05, 2014 added it
When reading Please Don't Kill the Freshman, I was shocked when I came across so many cuss words. I liked the book's theme because I do believe that a teenagers life is very hard and i understand that, but I feel like the style of writing should be different. The pace of the book is ok most of the time, but i think some chapters went fast. I would recommend this book to anyone in high school and even someone who isn't the intended audience. I would recommend this book to incoming freshman or eig ...more
Sep 12, 2007 rated it liked it
I found this at times it was a bit pretentious (as only a teenage writer can be) but for the most part, I thought this was quietly profound. I was most grateful of the things it reminded me of from my own tumultuous adolescence: everyone feels like they're the only one going through riotous changes, and love is above all the most important thing. I hear that loud and clear, even at twenty-five. I love how BIG everything is in high school, and how it all becomes fondly smaller on the other side. ...more
Danie P.
Jul 08, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: y-a
Never before have I read a book where I felt like I was inside the author's head. The book reads as a stream of conscienceness dictation of Zoe Trope's thoughts. What made this book even more appealing is that after I read it I wanted to find out more about the auther (a first for me). I came to find out that she was actually a student at Oberlin college and two years younger than me! The actual content dealt with LGBT topics, highschool and finding her own niche. I highly recommend this novel t ...more
Mar 17, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Honestly, this is either a love it or hate it book.
You can either appreciate the raw juiciness of a teenage girl's diary and looking through her complex eyes at an ordinary life and see the beauty of how she cam describe the smallest thing and how much these things can mean to a young person...
Or you can be distracted by the rawness, you can be appalled at the foul language, at the lack of organization.
Personally I found the book beautiful and empowering especially as a high school student myse
May 02, 2011 added it
Shelves: ya
Too self-indulgent and irritating for grown-ups to read. Might have been tolerable in 1993 instead of 2003, but I'm not sure why Dave Eggers found it "unflinching...lyrical and even surreal." I only managed to conquer page 20 before throwing it across the room in annoyance, so take my review with a grain of salt.
First Second Books
Because being in a state of teen angst and awkwardness is good for graphic novel revisions.
Celeste Batchelor
Sep 16, 2011 marked it as didnt-finish
Another disgusting book given to us by our local library as a "prize" in the Teen Reading Program. Full of f-bombs, homosexuality, and promiscuous teens. Sickening.
Brendan Riley
Nov 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Riley, Brendan
Book Review 1

In the Memoir Please Don’t Kill The Freshman by Zoe Trope, Zoe talks about her life as a freshman and as a sophomore; she describes high school life so perfectly. As I read it through I began to see more and more connections to my own high school life.
An example of good description done by Zoe Trope is on page 21 in entry quatre.seize ( which means 4.16 in French), she talks about how she doesn’t hate her peers because its a waste of time to hate them, but she
Phil B
Jan 25, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: ya
This book is amazing. And I am finding it difficult to discuss without giving away too much, because I want to let you experience it yourself. But here are some basics.
The book is a stream of consciousness narration with bits where the narrator looks back--well, I guess that is what memoirs do (even partially fictional memoirs).
Zooming back, the text narrates the life of Zoe Trope as she traverses her high school years. Her life is splintered on many levels as she attempts to cope with friends
May 05, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: lgbt
I wanted this book so much in high school that I paid $30 in shipping fees to buy a copy. I've heard that it's self-obsessed, holier-than-thou, and melodramatic, but who didn't feel like that as a teenager? Who hasn't wanted to spend hours being held by your best friend, or fall in love with every new person you mee This book still speaks to me now that I'm rounding out my early 20s, because the anxieties of being a writer, of looming adulthood, and loving your friends so much that it hurts stil ...more
Stefan Street
Nov 20, 2017 rated it liked it
There isn't really a true storyline in this book. Zoe follows her experiences as a high school student, while also describing her life has a young writer. She basically talks about teenage things, some people may relate to it, others not so much.
Sep 02, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: angsty teenagers, probably
delightfully pretentious (the best things are). read most of it curled up in a library armchair in the back where nobody could bother me.
character name switching confused the hell out of me, but that's okay.
three rose-scented perfume bottles out of five. overall would read again.
May 31, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2017
Should be essential reading for a teen. Beautiful and honest and inspiring because she's young when she's writing it and no isn't in her vocabulary.
Heather F
Jan 30, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: ya
I bought this book with me when studying abroad in Mexico. I found it so pedantic and self-awarely precocious I read my guidebook repeatedly rather than this book.
Jul 21, 2019 rated it did not like it
Based on reading this memoir, Zoe Trope is a toxic human being. I have no interest in ever reading this book again, or meeting anyone like her.
Nov 18, 2019 rated it liked it
This book was good, if you like suspenseful, out of range books. This book tends to be all over the place, so it's hard to keep track of it. The piece is good though, I will admit that
Kayla Johnson
Oct 02, 2018 rated it really liked it
Freshman year is typically a very difficult and trying experience. Zoe Trope’s book Please Don’t Kill the Freshman is a memoir recounting her freshman year of high school. She went to school in Oregon in the late 90’s and early 00’s. The main protagonist Zoe is a fifteen-year-old lgbt girl who’s a little rough around the edges. This book is meant to be about the struggles of your everyday high school student. The first words in the synopsis are literally “I wrote a story about you.” Zoe’s main c ...more
Alyssa Archacki
Feb 27, 2017 rated it really liked it
Please don't kill the freshman is a interesting book and is told in a girls perspective. It is relatable in ways a girl can understand, for example her family problems or when she goes on dates with boys and when she hangs with her friends. it has alot of language in the book but when she says something about how she feels and its very dramatic and emotional then its funny to read about it
Nov 03, 2019 rated it it was ok
DNF. I got at least 30 pages into this and found it much too cryptic for me to keep up with (read: I'm too old now for this nonsense!). The multiple 'List of Characters' are more like a key to break a code and the writing style reads like someone overly inspired by their first creative writing class -- where things like pills are described as "quiet" ("and take some quiet pink pills," page 9). That gave me a good sense of the book. It's not like any diary I've ever written, for sure.

I know I'm n
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Zoe Trope is the pen name of Zoe Fisher. She was born in 1986 & graduated from high school in Oregon in 2003. That same year, HarperCollins published her high school memoir, Please Don't Kill the Freshman. Since then, she has written essays, short stories, and poetry. Her 2017 essay, "Libraries Are the Real Punk Rock" was one of the 15 most-read essays of the year at The Rumpus.

She graduated from

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