Book Thoughts: Roomies by Sara Zarr and Tara Altebrando

(**I received a copy of this e-book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.)


It’s time to meet your new roomie.

When East Coast native Elizabeth receives her freshman-year roommate assignment, she shoots off an e-mail to coordinate the basics: television, microwave, mini-fridge. That first note to San Franciscan Lauren sparks a series of e-mails that alters the landscape of each girl’s summer — and raises questions about how two girls who are so different will ever share a dorm room.

As the countdown to college begins, life at home becomes increasingly complex. With family relationships and childhood friendships strained by change, it suddenly seems that the only people Elizabeth and Lauren can rely on are the complicated new boys in their lives . . . and each other. Even though they’ve never met.

National Book Award finalist Sara Zarr and acclaimed author Tara Altebrando join forces for a novel about growing up, leaving home, and getting that one fateful e-mail that assigns your college roommate.

My Thoughts:

I wish this book had come out six months earlier. And even though I chose a commuter school in the middle of the city, I would have loved to intertwine my summer-before-college experience with EB & Lauren. Not only that, but I’m sure the rest of my friends would have eaten this book up at the time, since they were all going through it too.

My first impression of EB and Lauren was that they were very similar. Not exactly the same person, but they had the same voice and talking style; I thought I was going to struggle remembering which girl’s chapter I was on. Thankfully, their unique differences showed through. It was weird; as I got further into the story I felt as if the authors found my group of friends and wrote the book about us. I pictured one of my friends in each of the girl’s situations. It’s crazy how much I connected with EB and Lauren.

To continue, an important thing to note is that these two girls are from different parts of the country. Because of this, I hoped to read a little more about culture. I was waiting for different colloquialisms and quirks, unique to certain parts of the U.S., but they never came. Yes, the characters do mention that San Francisco is artsy and open-minded whereas the Jersey town EB is from is closed minded. Honestly though, I didn’t really think about those statements (partly because I live in New Jersey, near the town EB’ from and my town is open-minded). While I read this book, it didn’t feel like they were from different parts of the country. College is a major learning and changing experience, mostly due to interactions with people from different parts of the world. Here, the girls were opened to new life situations, not cultural experiences, and I wish that had not been the case.

On the other hand, both girl’s mature as a result of talking to the other. Their character development was relatable and Zarr and Altebrando wrote it really well.

In the end, I think this book is a really good read for anyone heading off to college. For me, Roomies is between the YA and NA genre, which is a great transition for teens that are in the exact position of teenage and adult hood. It doesn’t matter the college you’re going to, I think you should pick this book up!


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