October 22, 2014

Roomies - Sara Zarr & Tara Altebrando

Roomies book cover
Roomies by Sara Zarr & Tara Altebrando
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: December 24, 2013
Source/Format: Borrowed from Rachel (Thanks!) || ARC

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. (from Goodreads)

I'll be honest: I really wanted to read Roomies because I had the whole roommate experience in college. The relationship you form with the people you share a room with is both that of friend and family, as you live, work and play together for four years (or maybe even longer). Even though Roomies is actually more about each girl's summer-before-college experience, and their correspondence during that time, it still wound up being an incredibly charming novel.

I really liked EB and Lauren, and felt that the shifts between their points of view was done quite seamlessly. It helps that they're very different people - EB is the only daughter of a single mom who is looking forward to moving away for college, while Lauren is from a big family with wonderful parents and lots of siblings who is looking forward to having some privacy and space. Their summers play out very differently, but have similar themes: figuring out how to keep tight with old friends, addressing some family things, and just a hint of romance.

Honestly, Roomies has a pretty basic premise, but I really liked it. Perhaps it's the fact that I could totally relate to how, slowly but surely, Lauren and EB formed a friendship. Or maybe it's because I could relate to parts of their separate stories about the summer before college. But what I really appreciated most of all? Roomies makes it clear that friendships can form between the unlikeliest of pairs, given time and proper communication. If you're looking for another contemporary novel to check out, definitely give Roomies a shot!


  1. I got an ARC of this book at BEA and I've yet to read it, but I've read mixed things so far. I'm concerned about the ending now, but I think I'll give it a chance. I've like other books like it and I always love an emotional read. Hopefully I'll like it! Thanks for the review!

  2. I really liked this one ... it was different from what I thought it would be like since I figured it would be about two people being roommates together, but I think I preferred how it was set up, with each character separate and emailing back and forth. I personally didn't have the roommate experience, so I think I like to live vicariously through books like this. :)

  3. I liked this one, Alexa! I've read it twice - the first time in print and the second as an audio reread. I liked it even more the second time. I love that you point out the theme of friendships forming in unlikely pairs and that communication is key, because that was written so well into this book! Also, cute cover. (:

  4. I recently added this book to my goodreads TBR. Thanks for the review and note on the ending.

  5. Roomies is a really fun novel, and certain parts of it were definitely relatable (I read it this summer, right before I headed off for my first semester of college)!

  6. I really enjoyed this one! It was an extremely quick read for me. I guess I felt a bit of nostalgia since the person I was paired with my freshman year of college is now my BFF.


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