January 16, 2014

Roomies by Sara Zarr and Tara Altebrando

Title: Roomies
Authors: Sara Zarr and Tara Altebrando
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Publish Date: December 24, 2013
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Rating: 3.5/5 Stars

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.
This book was adorable. I’m not quite sure if that’s what the authors were going for, but that’s what I got out of it.

Then again, maybe “adorable” isn’t the right word. Maybe something more like…light. Endearing. It was such a quick read, and I enjoyed every part of the book. The issues I had with it weren’t specific events or reactions the characters had to elements of the story. They were more general.

First of all, the book was vague. This is never a term I’ve had to use to describe a book before, but there it is. Even though it was in first person—from both POVs, I might add—I felt as if I were watching the entire book play out from an overhead, God-like POV. Not necessarily in a good way, either. I don’t think I got the full potential out of it as I would have if it were written in a better way. I do understand the whole email thing between the two girls, but that also seemed like only half the plot, and the other half was their final summers before college.

I did enjoy the characters and plot overall, though. There was a good balance between the two. The characters weren’t amazing but the plot wasn’t either, so they evened themselves out really nicely.

And it was such a fast read! I felt like I had just watched a movie or something. It was nice, especially because I’m still getting over a reading slump. This was the perfect book for that kind of situation.

The end threw me off a bit. It didn’t feel like the end of the story—it felt more like the end of a chapter. And considering the fact that this book is a stand-alone, I think it would have benefited from an extra 25-50 pages or so. There wasn’t enough resolution in the end.

But overall, I really enjoyed Roomies and I’d love to see these two authors collaborate again!


  1. I really want to read this! Mostly, I think, because I've seen it going round the blogosphere so much. But it sounds really nice and light and fluffy....and I read SO much epic/high fantasy stuff that it'd be nice for a little break on my weary brain. ;)

  2. This sounds like a SUPER unique read, I've never heard of a book being described like this, it's definitely intriguing.

  3. Okay, me and my first college roommate were so different. I remember looking her up for the first time on Facebook. Haha -- I've got to read this now! Great review. And I've been in a bit of reading slump anyway. This may hit the spot.
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