Roomies by Sara Zarr and Tara Altebrando

roomies sara zarr tara altebrando This book made me want to go back to college. Not like now, as an adult, adding college classes to the insane list of everything else I already do, but like be 17 and about to start college for the first time again. (No, I’m not saying I’d wish away my family or anything crazy like that. Calm down.)

Roomies does a great job of capturing two girls’ emotions as they transition from high school at home to living on the campus of UC Berkley. Elizabeth (known as EB) is an East Coast only child living with her single mom of questionable morals. Lauren is a native San Franciscan living with her parents and seemingly dozens of siblings as one big happy family. When they find out they’re going to be roommates, EB starts off an e-mail chain of correspondence spanning the remainder of their summer as they wrestle through the important things leading up to college:

  • Who brings what stuff?
  • What happens to my high school friendships?
  • Long distance romances… yes or no?
  • How can I leave my family?
  • How can I NOT leave my family?
  • Am I really ready to grow up?
  • Will we get along and be able to live with each other?
  • Can even I do this?

On top of all of that, which was fun to watch as EB and Lauren grew up over the course of the summer and developed a great foundation of a relationship to start their college experiences off with, the story is told in alternating points of view, which I love. I’m a sucker for a well written story with multiple points of view. I find it fascinating. And in this case, with Zarr and Altebrando both writing (I assume they each wrote one of the girls), they really FELT like two completely different people instead of one person writing two characters. It was cool.

I’d recommend this for girls in high school, probably tenth grade and up, and for college/adult women as well. There’s a lot here to make you reflect on your own college experience. It made me wonder how my college years could have been different if I’d had a chance to get to know a roommate before moving in. Or what I would have done differently that summer before college knowing how those high school relationships would fade away so quickly once I moved across the country.

Anyway, I really enjoyed these two characters and seeing how their final summers at home played out. I’d also really like to see a follow-up of their first year in college or something. While the story ended well and I felt satisfied that it was sufficiently finished, I also wanted to know more about them.

Make sure you check it out! Roomies releases on December 24 and can be ordered here on Amazon.

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