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Review: Roomies. Plus My Roomie Story, & Giveaway!

January 10, 2014

Title: Roomies
Authors: Sara Zarr and Tara Altebrando
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Pub Date: December 24, 2013
Format: eGalley

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.—via Goodreads

In Roomies, Sara Zarr and Tara Altebrando tell the concurrent stories of Elizabeth and Lauren, two rising college freshmen who learn that they will be freshman roommates. Throughout the summer, the two women begin emailing with each other in an attempt to know each other, at least a little, before moving in to a tiny dorm room together.

The authors do a great job of capturing the mixture of fear, excitement, and uncertainty that you face after high graduation, in that gray area between being a high school student and being a college student, and coming to terms with exactly that means.

In a fun, smart, emotionally on point book about not just learning what it’s going to take to be a good roommate, but also about what it might mean to be an adult.

My Roomie Story
I’ve had a lot of roommates. At 26, I’m still living with roommates since I live in New York, where the shocking cost of housing basically requires that you have a roommate forever. Though I’ve never had a roommate who was out-and-out horrible, I’ve had some not great experiences—roomies who basically ignore your existence, roomies who are passive aggressive, roomies who refuse to close cabinets in the kitchen, roomies who never clean the kitchen.

However, I’ve also had some amazing experiences with roommates. One of my favorite roommate memories is one from college—my sophomore year I lived in a sorority house in a room with three other ladies, two of whom I was close with, and one who I didn’t know all that well, but liked. One very rainy afternoon we all decided to blow off class and sit around watching the first season of Grey’s Anatomy on DVD. We ate ice cream and wore pajamas and just hung out. Though that isn’t necessarily the most exciting story, it’s one of my faves. That day was fullof camaraderie and we-get-each-otherness that arises from something as simple as vegging and watching a very soapy medical drama for hours on end.

All in all, though roomies can be the worst, they can also be the best. You just have to learn to communicate with each other and, perhaps what’s hardest, live with each other.

Roomies Tour!

If you want to see the authors of Roomies live and in-person, you can! Well, you can if you live near one the places below:

  • January 12, 2014 – New York, NY: McNally Jackson [venue link]
  • January 15, 2014 – Salt Lake City, UT: The King’s English [venue link]
  • January 16, 2014 – Provo, UT: Provo Library [venue link]
  • February 4, 2014 – San Francisco, CA: Books Inc, Opera Plaza [venue link]
  • February 5, 2015 – Petaluma, CA: Copperfield’s Books [venue link]


But wait, there’s more! The awesome people at Little, Brown are hosting a massive giveaway for copies of Roomies, and you could win one by entering below!

Best of luck and Happy Friday!

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