THE SUNDAY REVIEW | ROOMIES – SARA ZARR & TARA ALTEBRANDO

Roomies - Sara Zarr and Tara Altebrando

 

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. – Goodreads

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After reading Will Grayson, Will Grayson I became a fan of duel-authored dual-voiced books. This is another such book, which consists of two characters’ email correspondence written by – you guessed it – two authors.

Great premise… but the execution didn’t quite hit the mark. This was another example (there have been a few lately) of a young adult book that didn’t work so well for me because the voices were on the juvenile side. I found the voice of Elizabeth in particular to be borderline annoying – not to mention self-centred and snotty at times.

The storyline itself worked okay, and the plot had points where I definitely wanted to know how things were going to shake out. Lauren was more relatable, and I felt her angst at leaving her large family, her worry about her younger siblings and uncertainty about her budding relationship with a boy she really likes.

The one thing that did come through on both sides is how difficult it can be – for all kinds of reasons – to take those first few stumbling steps into adulthood, leaving behind the things we can’t wait to escape but also the familiar comforts of home. It’s simultaneously exciting and terrifying.

[Possible mild spoiler alert – doesn’t give away plot points, just structure] 

The other thing that disappointed me somewhat was that the entire book ended up being in the before. I had erroneously assumed that at least part of the book would take place once they’d both actually arrived at school, so we’d be able to see how their online relationship translated and evolved as they learned to live together.

I won’t be re-reading this book, nor would I say it’s a must-read for everyone. But I do think it will appeal to teens who are at the same point in their lives, because there is emotional truth in these two girls’ stories.

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Book Title: Roomies
Author: Sara Zarr and Tara Altebrando
Series: No
Edition: Hardback
Published By: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Released: December 24, 2013
Genre: Fiction, Young Adult, Letters, Contemporary
Pages: 279
Date Read: April 30-May 15, 2014
Rating: 6/10

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  1. Pingback: TOP TEN TUESDAY | BOOKS THAT WEREN’T WHAT I EXPECTED | RAIN CITY READS

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