Book Review: Roomies – Sara Zarr & Tara Altebrand

Genre:  Young Adult – Fiction, Romance
Synopsis (From  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.

Review:  Roomies was a very fun, quick read about two girls who are anticipating starting college at Berkley.  Each girl recieves a letter informing them about their roommate assignment, as well as the contact information for the other person.  While Elizabeth (EB) is excited about the whole college experience, getting to know new people and make new friends; Laurne was hopeful for some quiet time alone, and a single room assignment.  Lauren has a big family, and currently shares a bedroom with sisters who are quite a bit younger than she is. 
I loved the dynamic of this book, each girl experiencing similar issues; what is going to happen with their current best friends, dealing with a summer love, and just getting ready for college in general.  However, both girls are unique, and are dealing with their situations differently.  Lauren, while she seems to be ready for some time alone, she is afraid of loosing her spot in the family, and she really does love hanging out and helping out around the house.  Elizabeth’s home life is a bit more dramatic in nature.  
At first I was a little concerned that having a book written by two completely authors with alternating chapters might seem a bit disconjointed, however I think the entire project worked out very well.  I felt bad for Elizebeth, however.  I kind of felt like, while Lauren was having some dramas of her own throughout the book, her load seemed pretty light compared to some of the things Elizabeth was getting handed.  Not only that, if my friends said some of the things that Elizabeth’s friends said to her, they really would not be my friends anymore.  Anyhow, in the end, I think what Lauren’s father told her is a very good summerization of the point of this book:
“Live in the present, take care of the relationships in front of you now.  Most friendships have a natural life, and when you’ve lived that out, you’ll know.”
This book is very age appropriate for young adults (High School age), while the topic of sex is dealt with, it is not a graphic scene, and all mentions of the subject seem to point to the choices that need to be made in life rather than glamorizing it in a way that is too mature for the age group.  

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