Review: Roomies by Sara Zarr and Tara Altebrando

Title: Roomies
Author: Sara Zarr and Tara Altebrando

I didn’t get to have the roommate experience in college. I had a single room for my three semesters for health reasons. If I could have had my way, though, I definitely would have given the roommate a try, at least the first year. Roomies takes that experience and weaves an interesting tale of friendship, family, and moving on.

Elizabeth is anxious and ready to get her college years started. Things at home are fine, but she wants a change. So she sends an email to her future roommate, starting what she hopes to be a friendship. Lauren wanted a room of her own after sharing a room and a house with her ever-growing family. She begrudgingly replies to Elizabeth’s email and the relationship between them begins.

Each girl has drama and complications at home. The emails become their way of venting and working through their problems. Having an impartial listener gives each girl the chance to get an opinion not clouded by years of knowing each other. Of course, not being able to hear tone via email leads to problems within the growing friendship as well. The love interests are just a little too perfectly nice and sweet for me, but that’s a personal preference.

Elizabeth knows she is moving away from her friends, but it’s more than the physical distance that worries her. She doesn’t feel like she fits in with the group as well. She doesn’t really feel anything special for her boyfriend, her best friend is spending more time with the others in the group, and Elizabeth knows things will change even more when she finally leaves. So when new people enter her life and shake things up, she’s not sure anymore how she feels about leaving town.

Lauren has five younger siblings and has always felt like more of the third parent than a teenager. She builds her schedule around when her parents need her to watch the younger ones and she hasn’t had a room to herself in years. She has a possible new romance forming with the guy she works with and her parents finally cut the parenting ties with her, giving her the summer to be who she wants to be and do what she wants. All her newfound freedom has her questioning herself and what she wants going forward.

Roomies is a wonderful book for anyone about to enter college. It handles the transition time wonderfully, with just the right about of drama. That time is already stressful and crazy enough, and Zarr and Altebrando don’t add more than necessary. There are many teen books that just seem to pile on the drama to make the book tense, but it fails and they end up eye-roll inducing. Not this book. If you’re looking for a book for anyone about to go from high school to college, consider picking this one up.

If Roomies sounds like your kind of novel, you can purchase it here:
Barnes and Noble

Thank you to NetGalley and Little, Brown Books for Young Reader for an advanced copy of the novel in exchange for an honest review.

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