Friday, May 23, 2014

Novel Review: Roomies by Sara Zarr and Tara Altebrando

Rating (Out of 5): ~4-4.5
Genre: YA Contemporary Romance
Publisher: Little, Brown
Release Date: December, 2013
Spoilers?: No.

Goodreads Synopsis:

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.

The Cover:

I like the cover. It doesn't particularly stand out, but it's nice looking, and it's simple. It's not embarrassing. It emphasises the roommate aspect of the book, that there are two main characters, and not the romances, which I like, and is true for the book.


  • "A wave crashes behind Alex, right at his ankles, and he gets thrown off-balance and has to recover. I think, I feel like that most of the time.” (ARC, pg. 15)
  • "E-mail: the coward’s solution to everything. You control the conversation and can turn it off and on at will. You can edit and revise and shape your words and use a thesaurus if you want, to avoid sounding dumb.” (Pg. 83)
  • "'My mother needs therapy to figure out why she won’t go to therapy.’” (Pg. 118) I understand this statement.


I am really surprised by this, but I kind of loved this book. I was expecting to like it, but not this much.
I love the idea in the first place, of two people getting to know each other before they become college roommates. I also enjoyed that this book showed how easily it is to misunderstand each other through text--that you can make a friend through the internet, through text only, but also that you can have disagreements and overcome them—and how easy it is to misinterpret something someone else says without the visual. The two main characters do not hit it off right away, and they have a couple of fights along the way.
Lauren was my favorite, by quite a bit. She’s a little hard-edged, a little afraid to really get close with someone, unsure what to do with herself, how to deal with her life changing. I loved her family, how big it is and how close they are, even if they drive each other crazy. I liked her friend Zoe, how different they are but how they’re there for each other.
I also just really related to Lauren, I think. I understand why she’s having a hard time with her life changing. How she wants to go away, but she also doesn’t want anything to change. How she wants one thing, but also the other. I get that.
I extremely liked her guy, Keyon. He’s fun and sweet and real and insecure. The two of them together is great, their chemistry and the way they hit it off, and how they dealt with their moving away for college. He’s also black, and I kind of enjoyed how that was handled, and how sometimes it just wasn’t a Thing.
I did like Elizabeth, but not as much. She goes through a lot during this summer, and I feel bad for her. She grows up a lot, though, and that’s good.
Mostly, I think I just didn’t connect with her as much, or think there was quite as much development. In particular, I didn’t feel the chemistry between her and Mark enough. Plus, I think her mother made a change a little too quickly, although I did like her in the end. Her dad was a jerk.
Overall, I really, really enjoyed this book. It was easy to get pulled into, I didn’t want to put it down. And I will definitely be picking up another book by the author of Lauren, which I think is Sara Zarr? (Which surprised me, since I've read a couple of her earlier books, and this one was much better in writing.)

No comments:

Post a Comment