Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Franklin - A Review of ROOMIES by Sara Zarr & Tara Altebrando

(Blurb Goodreads)
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.

Thank you to Netgalley for providing an ARC in exchange for a fair and honest review.

The Story...

After receiving a letter from college including room assignment information, Elizabeth (EB) decides to contact her new roommate in hopes of figuring out some move-in details a little early.  Little did she know that one little email would change her life so much.

Lauren is unsure what to make of the perky email that she just received from her new roommate.  Too bad she doesn't have time to consider it.  Between helping her parents with her younger siblings, working 2 jobs, and trying to figure out what is going on between herself and Keyon, Lauren hardly has time to type a few words in response.

These girls both spend the summer working through conflicting feelings, rediscovering their roles in their respective families, and forming new connections that are going to be hard to leave behind all while getting to the person that they will be sharing a 10'X10' space with in the fall.

What Worked...

We all like getting both sides of the story, but often when I read a story from alternating points of view I get confused and it's jarring to switch from one person to the next.  The way this story is told is brilliant.  The viewpoints don't overlap because the girls are on opposite sides of the country.  Also, the emails helped keep things straight and revealed the nature of each character, while the story is told in a regular narrative style.

I also really enjoyed the how each girl's romance was completely different from the other.  Both relationships worked well in the story and it was like getting two for the price of one.

What Didn't...

In some ways seems that a big deal is made about Lauren (a white girl) dating Keyon (a black boy).  However, it wasn't that people didn't think it should happen, but rather people wondered whether or not it was okay to acknowledge the fact that one was white and one was black.  In my experience, this is a natural reaction.

Overall, this was an enjoyable, funny read.

3.5 out of 5 stars


Available December 24, 2013
On Amazon: Roomies by Sara Zarr & Tara Altebrando
On Barnes & Noble: Roomies
On Goodreads: Roomies

About Sara Zarr:

Sara Zarr is the acclaimed author of four novels for young adults: Story of a Girl (National Book Award Finalist), Sweethearts (Cybil Award Finalist), Once Was Lost (a Kirkus Best Book of 2009) and How to Save a Life. Her short fiction and essays have also appeared in Image, Hunger Mountain, and several anthologies. She lives in Salt Lake City, Utah, with her husband, and online at

Tara Altebrando:

In addition to my most recent novel, THE BEST NIGHT OF YOUR (PATHETIC) LIFE, I’m the author of three previous books for Young Adults, including DREAMLAND SOCIAL CLUB, which was a Kirkus Reviews Best Books for Teens of 2011, THE PURSUIT OF HAPPINESS and WHAT HAPPENS HERE.
Next up is ROOMIES, a novel I cowrote with Sara Zarr (Little Brown, December) and then my middle-grade debut, THE BATTLE OF DARCY LANE (Running Press Kids, May 2014).
I live in Queens, New York, with my husband and two young daughters, Ellie and Violet.  http://www.taraaltebrando.com/

Franklin by Paramore

This song completely expresses the "pulling away" from her friends and her life that EB experiences.  And it shows why Lauren is afraid to move ahead with Keyon when she knows that things will be so very different after they have both been away.

No comments:

Post a Comment