December 19, 2013

Latest Read: Roomies by Sara Zarr and Tara Altebrando

Here are the basics ...
Roomies by Sara Zarr and Tara Altebrando
Publication date: Dec. 24, 2013
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Category: Young Adult - Contemporary
Source: Received at BEA

Summary: 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. (Adapted goodreads.com)
My thoughts…
The good: From the first few pages of Roomies, I was struck with nostalgia for my own summer-before-I-started-college experience. I remember exercising a lot more freedom than usual (much to my parents' chagrin), going to the mall often with my best friend, beginning to drift away from high school friends while holding onto others, packing for college and talking to my future roommate once on the phone. So the premise of writing back and forth with your roomie for an entire summer had me going - why didn't I think of that? But it's not as easy and straight-forward as it all sounds. 

New Jersey (!) native Elizabeth emails Lauren, who already lives in California, almost immediately after finding out they'll be dorming together. Elizabeth wants to figure out who will be bringing what (mini-fridge, microwave, the like) but it's also a chance to get to know the person she'll be living with. Elizabeth is definitely the more open of the two but as Lauren begins to really respond, their conversations take off and they form a sort-of friendship in spite of their many differences. Differences that simultaneously make them wonder if they can live together or even be friends but somehow allows them to bond too. 

Elizabeth and Lauren are so different. Aside from living on opposite coasts, they have different home lives and upbringings. But what brings them together (and what made me love the book) was how the authors captured all those pre-college feelings so perfectly. Both girls have best friends and they're trying to figure out how they'll fit into the future. Then they each meet guys (both are adorable!) and find themselves confiding in the other instead of their "IRL" friends over their growing feelings. They both want to move out of their homes (a feeling I absolutely related to) but neither can help having lingering thoughts about leaving their families behind. They're right on that cusp of a new start - which is both exciting and scary. I thought their situations really complemented each other and I don't doubt that anyone who reads Roomies will find themselves relating a lot to those feelings. 

(No) reservations: None! The authors did an amazing job of capturing that gap between high school and college. 

Do I recommend?: Yes! I loved the characters, how the story was told with the alternating chapters and as I said earlier, it definitely made me think of college and my own roomies - who I am still friends with (except for my freshmen year one)! I highly recommend checking this out. 


Happy reading! 

7 comments:

  1. I feel like this book is so polarizing. Every review I've read of it the blogger either loves it or hates it! I was excited to read it before, but now I'm even more interested to see how I feel. I hope I'll be on the love side, like you I'm hoping it brings up some of those summer before college feelings.

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  2. I lived with you for the remaining 3 years of college ;) (and we added on c & l senior yr :P ) (best dorm situation btw!)

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  3. Yay!! I'm so glad you loved this one so much. I really enjoyed it as well, even not having that freshman year of college experience (I didn't go away until Junior year). I think the authors just did a great job at making each character and situation feel so real. So happy to see your glowing review!

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  4. I've heard a lot about this one but I've never been intrigued until now! This one sounds really good, I'll definitely be adding it to my TBR pile! The main characters both sound really interesting and unique (and I'm a sucker for TWO cute romances!) Awesome review! :)

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  5. Oh yay! I have this one to read and need to start it soon! I had a similar experience with my freshman roommate; we chatted most of the summer on AOL/AIM, so by the time college started we were BFFs!

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  6. I'm seriously so excited to read this one! I just love the fact that it's about two soon-to-be roomies. It seriously sounds similar to my experience when I was about to start college and have roomies of my own! I can't wait to read this one soon.

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  7. I had a horrible roommate experience my first semester in college. But the second semester I was able to move in with my best friend because she had a similar experience. People can be so arrogant. *shakes bad memories away* I saw this book a few months ago and really wanted to read it. I was looking forward to the regular college experience, but now I have to read a book about it! :) It sounds like a fun read.

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