Fresh by Margot Wood

“Why is it you always run into people you don’t want to see when you look your absolute worst? I was at Target, putting random shit into my cart that I had no intention of purchasing, when in the tampon aisle I ran into three of my friends from high school.”


Some students enter their freshman year of college knowing exactly what they want to do with their lives. Elliot McHugh is not 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-sized 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.

What I thought

I absolutely loved this book. I was drawn in and hooked after just a few pages. 

Readers are introduced to Margot Wood's main protagonist Elliot McHugh on the opening pages of her debut novel Fresh. Elliot is eighteen years old, from Cincinnati, and a freshman at Emerson College in Boston. I found her instantly likeable, entertaining, and totally relatable. 

Wood paints a stellar picture of freshman move in day, and the months that follow, in the opening chapters of this book. I've never had the college experience, but I feel like Margot took me there and let me experience it vicariously through the characters she dreamed up. She has created a compelling and engaging character in Elliot, and I loved getting to know her and her quirks as the book progressed. The character development and overall storyline is brilliant in this book.

I really enjoyed Margot's writing style throughout, finding it really entertaining. One thing that took some getting used to in the book were the amount of footnotes. I found it a bit of a pain in the e-book to have to constantly click back and forth to read the footnotes. I imagine it's better laid out in the physical copy, and not all condensed at the end of the chapter like it was in the e-book. At times, it felt like the footnotes were breaking up what would otherwise be fluid prose. Other times, they made the reading experience more interactive. Regardless, some of them were actually hysterical. 

All in all, Fresh is fun, vibrant, and absolutely freaking hilarious. There's some great LGBTQ+ representation and use of pronouns throughout, which I liked. 

My love for this book just kept increasing the more I read, and the more I became invested in Elliot and her story. Fresh was definitely a compulsive read for me, once I started I couldn't stop.

Courtesy of Margot's Instagram

Margot Wood is the founder of Epic Reads and has worked in marketing for more than a decade at publishing houses both big and small. She is a graduate of Emerson College and once appeared as an extra in the Love, Simon movie. Born and raised in Cincinnati, Wood now lives in Portland, Oregon. You can find her online at her website.

Fresh is available to purchase in paperback from Indigo and in e-book format from Kobo. Check GoodReads for additional retailers.