Title: Roomies by Sara Zarr, Tara Altebrando
Release Date: December 24th 2013
Published by: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Source: Publisher (thanks Isa!)
Buy: Amazon | Book Depository
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.
I feel like I've been transported back to my College days. I've never been to a dorm, nor have I really ventured far from home, but I felt the anxieties, the worries and the fear of both EB and Lauren as they make the transition from high school to the world of College, of being grown-ups and trying to find their way as adults, as if they were my own. It's what made me latch on to the story and never let go to the very end.
It was clear from the very start that EB and Lauren are two different girls, with different backgrounds and circumstances in life that guides them to a similar path: College. It's engrossing to see just how their personalities clash and mash up with each other's as they share things in their lives they never thought they'd share with anyone else, let alone someone they've never seen before. I was transfixed with the way their lives are unraveling alongside each other, so different, and then you start to wonder just what it is that will connect the two of them. How do they tackle the challenges they encounter in their lives when they're on the verge of a really big transition? How do they feel knowing that they were virtually on a countdown to the next phase of their lives? What do they want to leave behind? What can they leave behind? Those questions swirl around my head as I read EB's story, with a mom who always dates the wrong guy and a gay father, and then falling in love with a guy who happens to be the son of the guy her mother is dating. And then I'm faced with Lauren's life, filled with chaos caused by a big family, and never really finding the time for herself as she goes from one job to another to help her family, and then falling for a person she least expects to fall for.
There's a certain magic in the way EB and Lauren's lives were written in parallel. We see the contrast in it and how they react to all that was happening to their lives, and I love how both Sara and Tara was able to present two distinct characters existing side by side with another. Not one overshadowed the other. I like EB and Lauren for different reasons, and it was a challenge not to compare them. Truth be told, I was exasperated with EB for the most part. It's because Lauren seemed more matured, so experienced in life with her family that I fail to see how EB's reactions to her family's set-up as nothing more than a tantrum. But EB had this spark in her that made her an interesting character too. They both grew up a lot in that last summer, and we see each and every essential parts of their lives connecting and help construct the person both EB and Lauren is.
Sara Zarr and Tara Alterando were able to capture perfectly the emotions that goes along with such a big change that most teens go through. That transition from High School to College, from being just a teen to eventually growing up and exploring what it means to be an adult was utterly caught and presented in a really good and enjoyable way in Roomies. Enduring friendships, friendships that start off rocky and becoming much, much more stronger, misunderstandings, secrets, finding love in the most unexpected time and place, dealing with that particular love and the complications, possibilities and changes in might bring to their lives... all of it were amply tackled and presented in a really an entertaining, lovely way that only Sara Zarr and Tara Altebrando can.
A wave of nostalgia just hit me over and over while I was reading this. Roomies is a very endearing, swell of a read!
Content (plot, story flow, character):
For the same reason that I like EB and Lauren because of different reasons, I liked Mark and Keyon too. I loved how Mark is such a nice, understanding guy. And Keyon for being fun and gentlemanly, giving sage advice to Lauren when she needs it. What irritated me though was EB's reaction to Lauren telling her about her father. And her father! What kind of a father was that? EB deserved better. Lauren's family just warms my heart.
Shining: Worthy of a Goddess' Love!
One of the cutest I've seen!
One of the cutest I've seen!