Author: Sara Zarr & Tara Altebrando
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
Shelves: Young Adult, Contemporary, Realistic Fiction
Publication Date: December 24th, 2013
Source: Won from Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Format: Physical ARC
Synopsis: The summer before college is always difficult. Just ask assigned roomies Elizabeth (EB) and Lauren. They haven't met each other yet, but little do they know that the they will become each other's closest confidante this summer. Through a series of emails, EB shares the secrets of her dysfunctional family and her broken heart, slowly being healed by a charming boy named Mark, while Lauren struggles to find the line between family and friends, and love and lust. This summer, each of the girls will be changed. They will laugh. And they will cry. Just like you will when you read this stunning new novel about change, love, and meeting your new roomie.
Review: I actually won a copy of this through Little, Brown Books on Twitter, so thank you lovely people over at Little, Brown Books!!! Wow. This book was. Wow. It is a life changing book. I have no idea what I was expecting from Roomies, but I had only read one review before actually reading this book. And with just my luck, it was a review raving about how much that reader hated Roomies. Which I find UTTERLY RIDICULOUS, but hey. Everyone has their own opinions.
Characters: EB and Lauren Cole represent the majority of young females out there. Put together, they symbolize every girl's dreams, hopes and fears. That is what I liked so much about this novel. These characters were so easy to relate to, and sympathize with. It's like talking to a best friend, or hearing the thoughts of a sister. And just like a best friend or a sibling, none of these girls were perfect. They were annoying at times, and made bad decisions, but that's what makes these characters so genuine. I saw myself, my dreams and my hopes written into EB and Lauren Cole.
Writing: When they come together, Sara Zarr and Tara Altebrando are a tour de force to be reckoned with. These ladies managed to write a story about change and sadness, while keeping an undercurrent of humor and hope. Sara and Tara wrote from the perspectives of two girls going through a time of change, and they managed to do it brilliantly. College and education itself is a tough time, but when trying to put the words out on paper, it becomes even more difficult. The fact that these ladies could address topics such as friendship, love, betrayal, sadness, family and adaptation so well is a true sign of amazing writers.
Romance: At first, the romance in Roomies might seem too insta-lovey, but quickly, you see the bonds between EB and her potential boyfriend/ Lauren and her potential boyfriend. It definitely was not a hook-up-then-I'm-never-going-to-see-your-face-again type of romance, and I appreciated that. Insta-love, without any restrictions and boundaries does not work for me.
On a more personal note: This book hit me hard. It made me realize a lot about life and about change, but especially about the future. Being on the "younger side" and understand exactly what Lauren and EB go through in Roomies just made me rethink a lot. The only way to really understand what I am trying to say is to read this book.
Conclusion: Monumental and brilliant, novelists Sara Zarr and Tara Altebrando write a new novel that crackles with wit and light. I definitely recommend it for any young women out there in a time of change and growth.