Author: Sara Zarr

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Roomies by Sara Zarr & Tara Altebrando – Review

December 18, 2013 Review 0 ★★★★

Roomies by Sara Zarr & Tara Altebrando – ReviewRelease Date: December 24, 2013
Title: Roomies
Author: Sara Zarr, Tara Altebrando
Pages: 288
Publisher: Little Brown Books for Young Readers
Source: NetGalley
Available: Barnes and Noble | Kobo | iBookstore | The Book Depository | Powell's
From the Publisher: 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.
4 Stars

I have to be honest with you. I don’t know why I decided that I should read this book. While I do sometimes read Contemporary YA, it’s not very often. And I don’t always enjoy it when I do.

But Roomies was getting a little bit of buzz on Twitter. And the cover is reminiscent of a comic book. And then… Netgalley offered it to me for free. It was a goddamn trifecta. How was I supposed to turn it down after that? So I downloaded it. And then it sat in my Kindle library for weeks (if not months) before I finally got around to reading it.

And then something strange happened.

I found myself liking a book in which I couldn’t really relate to either of the main characters.

Elizabeth (EB) and Lauren were randomly assigned as college roommates for their freshman year. This book covers the summer before college, as the two build a fledgling friendship over email. Lauren is the oldest of 6 kids and has never really had the “sibling” experience, because she’s always been an extra parent in the house. She’s anxiously awaiting the day she can leave and finally get some peace. EB is an only child whose parents are divorced (and she’s estranged from her dad… who is gay). She also discovers that her mom is dating a married man, who turns out to be the father of her new boyfriend.

Not really relatable.

And usually, not relating to the characters would throw up a huge wall between me and the story, but in this case it didn’t. The book was so well written that I could still experience what the girls did and have empathy for them without completely sharing their emotions or thought processes. Though I will admit – EB and I do have one thing in common. We both have one heck of a temper. Even when it’s irrational for it to flare.

Roomies was worth the read, and I recommend it if you like coming of age stories that focus more on the journey than the romance or the drama (though don’t get me wrong – this book was chock full of drama).

What Others Are Saying:

  • Beauty and the ReadsI would recommend this book to anyone that enjoys a fun story, a light read, or someone that is at this stage in their life. 
  • My Guilty ObsessionThis was a great story about two very different people coming together, growing up and learning about themselves as much as about each other. 
  • My Fiction NookIn the hands of a teenager who could commiserate with them, this book would find a perfect home. In the hands of a middle-aged mom who’s over the whining of teenagers about how hard their lives are – well, let’s be nice and say it was wasted on me.

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