17573559Roomies by Sara Zarr & Tara Altebrando
Release Date: December 24, 2013
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Source: ALA 2013
Rating: starstarstarblank_starblank_star
Buy It: Amazon | IndieBound

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. – Goodreads

Review:

This book gave me, mostly good, flashbacks. Flashbacks to myspace (she didn’t have a facebook!) messaging my freshman year roommate the summer of 2006 worried about how it would be and who would do what. Hint: she was a fabulous roomate and we still talk to this day. Mostly about how we went to a party school for undergrad and ended up staying in watching massive amount of TV and eating pizza (Hi Kristie! Miss you! Lets catch up!) It also gave me flashbacks to a few (almost two!) years ago when I sent Tina a DM going “hey! Can I email you?” and her going “OF COURSE” and our lives never being the same.

Here’s the thing about Tina and I. We cannot text or IM each other. When we need to in VERY IMPORTANT situations we will, but it’s almost awkward and forced and not us. It’s painfully not us. Trust me, we’ve tried. I know you’re thinking, it’s the same! Just shorter. Yeah, Tina and I are verbose in emails. We start the day with the simple hi and then I get all dramatic and throw CAPLOCKS around and it’s a failing mess.

The reason I’m bringing up these two moments in my life is not only did they define who I am as a person, but this book brought back a lot of those feelings that I once had and sometimes still have. Just because you’re BFFs and you email a lot doesn’t mean you don’t read an email with a wrong tone. I’ve had days where I was convinced Tina was mad at me, only to have her later tell me that we were fine and I just read the email in the wrong tone. That happens throughout this novel and it made me chuckle every time it happened.

This is the story of Elizabeth, EB and Lauren, two girls who’s lives could not be more opposite if they tried. If they went to the same high school their lives would have probably never intertwined. Of course their college decided their lives should intertwine. Zarr and Altebrando write this novel in alternating chapters, from each girls POV and then sprinkle in a few emails. I adored the emails because that is when the characters shined, in my opinion.

For example, once, Lauren is being bogged down by her 5 brothers and sisters so she is short and tense in an email to EB, without meaning to. Of course EB takes it personal like “what is that bitch’s problem.” Then we get their dialogue about “what did I do wrong?! I thought I was nice” I related to that. Heck, I still relate to that (Tina is now rolling her eyes.)

While this was an enjoyable book for me, there was nothing overly memorable about the book. There were times I wanted to strangle both of the girls because they’re teenagers and you could see the moment was going to crash and burn and ultimately hurt them but Zarr and Altebrando made it work for them. If anything it was a solid novel, the ending however was a bit of a let down for me, but I can see why the authors decided to end it where they did.