Review: Roomies by Sara Zarr and Tara Alterbrando

Check out my review of Roomies here! 



Sara Zarr & Tara Alterbrando

I purchased a copy of this on my own

Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

Find it here:


Goodreads Summary:

The countdown to college has begun.

When Elizabeth receives her freshman-year roommate assignment at the beginning of summer, she shoots off an email to coordinate the basics: TV, microwave, mini-fridge. She can’t wait to escape her New Jersey beach town, and her mom, and start life over in California.

That first message comes as a surprise to Lauren in San Francisco; she had requested a single. But if Lauren’s learned anything from being the oldest of six, it’s that you can’t always get what you want, especially when what you want is privacy.

Soon the girls are e-mailing back and forth, sharing secrets even though they’ve never met. With childhood friendships and family relationships 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.

With humor and heart, Sara Zarr, National Book Award finalist for Story of a Girl, and Tara Altebrando, acclaimed author of The Pursuit of Happiness, join forces for a novel about that time after high school when everything feels like it’s ending just as it’s beginning.

This is definitely a very light and fun summer read! This is the perfect story to read the summer right before your first year college. While I’ve never personally had the experience of having a college roommate, I can definitely imagine this is a real possibility of the ins and outs of getting to know someone.

I really loved the way that this story tells the experience of getting to know someone all the way across the country. Things can be so awkward trying to get to know someone new, especially if they are all the way across the country. I can relate in a small way because of all the amazing bookish people I have met and gotten to know that live all around!

I really enjoyed the format that Roomies was told in. The concept of the emails was my favorite part of Roomies. Getting to know someone solely through email is just so refreshing. I haven’t read many books that use that format to interact with someone. While I really enjoyed the email aspect, getting to see all of the outside life of Elizabeth and Lauren was great! Something that annoyed me was the gaps in the story. There are times when its just an email, a bit of story, and then nothing. It made it so hard for me to connect with the characters.

Now there was a major issue that bugged me from the start when it was introduced right to the end. Both Lauren and Elizabeth are average, middle class, white people. Not an uncommon thing, nothing really that unusual in YA. Something else that isn’t unusual? Having an African American love interest or main character. Lauren has a job working a a sandwich shop with Keyon and his father who owns it. Over the course of the story Keyon and Lauren grow into a relationship. Now Keyon is African American, no big deal right? Well in this story that is wrong. Apparently being African American in this book is unusual and brand new. Im sorry what? Lauren says something along the lines of I’ve never really interacted with a black person before. I’m sorry you live in San Francisco how is that even possible? When Elizabeth asks if its a big deal in San Francisco (keep in mind she’s from New Jersey) Lauren says It’s something that people pretend not to notice but still do anyway. Why is such a big deal? Its the twenty first century for one and for two WHY ARE YOU MAKING IT A BIG DEAL?????? It was just an annoying stigmatism that was unnecessary and didn’t need to be included. If it hadn’t have been included that it was a big deal this would have been a four star review but since it was included I can’t have it as that.

If you can get passed the annoyance that is the race issue you should definitely pick this one up. If that issue wasn’t included this would have been just an amazing light summery read.

61% or 3 Stars

Have you read Roomies?

What were your thoughts?

Let me know below!

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