Thursday, December 12, 2013

Roomies by Tara Altebrando and Sara Zarr: mini review + giveaway

by Tara Altebrando and Sara Zarr
Read: November 24, 2013
Published: December 24, 2013 by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers **UPCOMING**
Source: NetGalley - THANK YOU, LB!
Category: Contemporary YA, anticipating college
Find: Goodreads | Amazon

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.

Elizabeth (EB) lives in New Jersey with her single mom. She is very excited to be going across the country for college at Berkeley in the fall. When she receives her roommate assignment, she can't wait to start getting to know the person she'll be living with at school. She eagerly sends an email to introduce herself. 

Lauren lives in San Francisco with her parents and four younger siblings. She even shares a room with two of them. She is never alone and because of that had requested a single room for the fall. She's a bit dismayed to receive an email from her new roommate, because it means she will have to share her space again. 

Told in a combination of email and narrative, Roomies is the story of two girls living on opposite coasts, whose lives become linked because of their college room assignment. EB and Lauren's conversations start off a little rocky, but as different as their lives are, their experiences also run parallel in their last summer before college. Both come to terms with the fact that their places their families are changing. They learn to deal with relationships maturely - both friends and romance. They ask questions about race, make decisions about sex. Have break ups, fall in love, and make mistakes. Both EB and Lauren discover that there are a lot of ways to misunderstand each other thru email, but they also experience a lot of growth and even some bonding through their summer conversations. 

When I started Roomies, I was particularly nervous about both of these girls starting new romances, because for me the summer before college was much more about ending things. But I really liked how both relationships were handled in this story, with a dose of hope and realism. I also wasn't quite as reflective as these girls are, and I don't remember that period in my life being all that life changing for me. More anticipatory. Still, this book made me do some thinking back to my life right before college. I went to school six hours and 4 states away, although I did room with a friend (whose name was also Lauren. We were Lauren + Lauren or The Laurens and lots of other cute nicknames), but I enjoyed getting to know these girls and watching them grow up individually and learn to communicate with each other as friends and adults. I have a feeling they're going to be the type of roommates that still get together years later. 

Love Triangle Factor: None
Cliffhanger Scale: Standalone


Advanced Copy of Roomies 

Giveaway is for US residents only (Sorry, International readers!)
You must be at least 13 years old to enter
See my policies HERE

a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. I just got an ARC of this in the mail two days ago, so I'm looking forward to reading it this weekend. I'm so glad you enjoyed this one, Lauren - I know some people haven't been satisfied, but hopefully I won't be one of them. I've enjoyed both these authors in the past, so I'm keeping my fingers crossed this book is more like These Broken Stars in terms of the seamless co-authored narration. Fantastic mini-review, my friend!(:

  2. Aww this is such a sweet review Lauren. I loved the way that Zarr and Altebrando decided to go with this story, how realistic they made their lives appear and just how different they made their voices (there's nothing that I despise more than a book with multiple pov's but me not being able to differentiate between the people). I actually started off really liking EB, but then at the end adored both characters. I also adored the development of the sweet romances along the way too!

  3. "I also wasn't quite as reflective as these girls are, and I don't remember that period in my life being all that life changing for me. More anticipatory."

    Same for me Lauren! I do remember how nervous I was upon getting my roommate assignment though. It's such a strange thing I think, forcing teenagers to suddenly live 24/7 with a complete stranger:) I woke up the first morning we moved in and my roommate was on the floor of her closet, sobbing into her phone. Her parents came and picked her up that same day. O.o This sounds like a fun read simply from the standpoint that it would bring back a lot of memories, and of course you mentioned well-done romance so I'm obviously on board:)

  4. I liked this story, too! The two voices getting to know one another across the country were great and I liked how, because they were emailing, there were misinterpretations on *how* each said something. That happens way too much, you know? The romances -- like you, I was a little worried, since the girls were leaving for college, but they were both handled well. Brought back memories of when my roomie and I exchanged info about what to bring to school

  5. I've read some mixed reviews about this book, but glad that you enjoyed it. It sounds unique in the sense of telling the story through e-mails. A stand-alone with no love triangle...that right there makes me want to read it! ~Pam

  6. I went to college about an hour and a half away from home. I was still super homesick. My roomie was a friend from high school so it was fun.

  7. I've been wanting to read this one, but also hesitant about how it will all be handled. Super happy that you enjoyed this one! I'm glad the romances were done well since they were gonna leave and all (how messy). Can't wait to read this one even more now!

    1. Oh, and as for college, I'll be graduating high school (I know, I'm a babyyy) in May and PROBABLY going off to a university that August. I'm dual-enrolled in my state college right now so I have a lot of credits, but still living at home. I have ALWAYS had a roommate (the life of being a middle child) so I'm mixed feelings about once again, living in a dorm. But your experience sounded fun!

  8. I agree... I think these girls would stay friends. I hoped so. I love that your roommates name was Lauren. Mine was Sarah and she always said I said her name weird? I was like what?! This is the only way I know how to say the name Sarah. Anyway. haha. Glad you enjoyed this one too, and I agree -- I was nervous about the romances too but I liked how both authors kept each romance so distinctive.

  9. I never went to college (super sad face) and I think that makes me enjoy books that have anything to do with college even more. It's something I wanted to experience and just never got to. I really love Tara Altebrando so I'm really looking forward to reading this. Thanks for the giveaway!

  10. I'm glad you liked this book. :) I've been really looking forward to this, because Sara Zarr! It sounds cute and I'm happy to know there are no love triangles. Can't wait for this to release!

  11. I went to college in the next state over, a two hour drive away. My first roommate and I parted ways after she punched me in the face. O.o But after that, I had some awesome roommates!

  12. Aw, how cute that you were the Laurens! I love that.

    I'm glad to hear you liked this, too. I've only read one Sara Zarr book so far; I liked it but didn't love it the way most of my friends did, but I'm definitely interested in trying out another one of her books.

    Wendy @ The Midnight Garden


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...