Monday, February 17, 2014

Book Review: Roomies by Sara Zarr & Tara Altebrando

Title: Roomies
Author: Sara Zarr & Tara Altebrando
Publication Date: December 24, 2014
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Format: Hardcover
Links: Goodreads -- Barnes & Noble -- Amazon
SynopsisIt'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. (Via GoodReads)

My Review

I had been wanting to read this book since the moment that I seen it in Barnes & Noble. At the time, I couldn't justify buying a book that I was sure I wouldn't read more than once (and one that I had to find room in a suitcase for), so naturally I was stoked when it was sitting on the 'New Releases' shelf at my local library!

What attracted me to the book was it's cover. It's so bright and detailed without being overwhelming. While I don't normally do the whole judging a book by it's cover thing, I was intrigued by this one. 

The story is told by two girls, Lauren and Elizabeth, or EB. They're prospective college roommates who are getting to know each other over the summer between their freshman year via e-mails. Aside from being written in e-mail format, each chapter is also written in first person narrative. 

Of course, the girl's could not be more different! Elizabeth is an only child of divorced parents living it up in New Jersey. Lauren, on the other hand, is the oldest child of six living with her entire brood in San Francisco. Readers follow the girls through their "last" summers at home, their "last" summers of child hood. They share their lives with each other as they get ready to say goodbye to their friends and family, leave the homes that they've always known, and prepare to embark on a big new adventure. 

The book was a cute and easy read. I read it in less than a day in between some of the heavier stuff that I've been reading lately. However, it was still a great coming of age book that I kinda wish that I had when I was preparing to go to college. Granted, my freshman year roommate had been one of my best friends from high school and since we went to boarding school, we were used to living together, so the situations were different. I thought the authors really captured the struggles and anticipation of going into your first year of college or any new situation, really, where you don't know anyone. I can say that the summer before I started college was one of the biggest transitions that I've ever made! I could 100% relate to the things that Lauren and EB went through.

I don't really have anything bad to say except that I got really annoyed with the girls once or twice. I later realized that it's because in my "old age" (as in, I'm 24), the whole adolescence thing is baffling to me. I mean, I know that I was a teenager once upon a time but I can't remember ever being that freaking annoying! I'm sure that I was but obviously that's a piece of my memory that I chose to just block out. That's how I roll.

I gave the book 4/5 Stars. It was a bit young for me but it was super well written and the situations were relatable. I would definitely recommend it to anyone in the midst of making big transitions in your life, specifically moving away to college!

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