Roomies by Sara Zarr and Tara Altebrando

Two days ago, I received a copy of Roomies from Bookbridgr thanks to Headline, and I automatically started reading it. Roomies arrived at just the right time because I felt like reading a quick, short contemporary book and that is exactly what Roomies is. If you’ve never heard of Roomies, here’s the synopsis for you:

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.

I went into this book expecting it to just be mediocre and while I didn’t love it, I still really enjoyed it. This book follows two characters and from the start I preferred to read from Lauren’s perspective, however as the book went along I honestly didn’t have a favourite as I loved reading about them both.

Elizabeth was, at the start, a little bit too happy and bubbly for me and I immediately didn’t like her. However throughout the book as she showed the other sides to her, I couldn’t help but like her. She really grew on me as the book progressed. She has a lot of issues and seeing how she dealt with them was interesting.

Lauren herself was amazing. I loved seeing her family life and seeing her own morals and ethics come into play. The thing I enjoyed the most about Roomies was how realistic both characters were. They both accurately portrayed what a teenager’s voice is like. I saw parts of myself in both Lauren and Elizabeth and even though I preferred to read about Lauren, I was like both of them in so many ways. You also get to see a mix of emotions in the book from both characters. You see how two people can react differently to similar things and how you can completely change another person’s life without actually being there in person. The book also showed how the internet can honestly change relationships. If it wasn’t for the internet, Elizabeth and Lauren wouldn’t have been there for each other at the right time. But also the internet slightly hinders their relationship as the book goes on. This book shows an accurate portayal of the internet as well in that way because it shows both the good side and the bad side.

The one thing I didn’t like about this book as much was the romance. I didn’t like the romance at all at times and I felt like it didn’t have to be there. If this book was entirely about friendship, I would have loved it a bit more. Both romances felt rushed and I didn’t connect with any of the male love interests. They weren’t swoon worthy and I felt that they were just sort of dropped onto us. If the book was longer and the characters took longer to get together, I could have enjoyed this book a lot more.

My other complaint about this book has been mentioned already and that was how short the book was. It was less than 300 pages and while this was what I was looking for at the time, I couldn’t help feeling that it ended too abruptly. I wanted to find out what happened after they meet. I especially want to know what happens with the love interests. They moved across the country so how exactly are they planning on staying together through college? Too many unanswered questions were raised in this book.

Overall I’d give this book  4 out of 5 stars. While I enjoyed it, there were some things I didn’t like about it which lowered it down to a 4 star rating.  I still recommend this book if you are looking for a quick contemporary read.


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