Author: Sara Zarr and Tara Altebrando
Genre: YA, contemporary fiction
Publisher: Little, Brown Books
Publication Date: December 24, 2013
Synopsis from NetGalley: 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.
A few months ago, I read my first Zarr novel – How to Save a Life. I really liked that one, despite my few nitpicks. I can’t say the same about Roomies, sadly. I was absolutely thrilled when I was able to snag one of the copies on NetGalley before they all went out, but that excitement faded pretty quickly when I actually started reading the book. I would have loved to give a glowing review, but there was just too much that I didn’t like – and there wasn’t enough good to mask the rest.
I’m not even going to break it down like I normally do. None of the characters really stood out to me – they all melted into each other. Even 75% through the book, I found myself wondering, “Who’s this guy again? Is it Lo’s boyfriend or EB’s boyfriend?” And the girls were so whiny too… They could not find a single thing to be happy about. It’s not that hard guys, even if it’s just being thankful for the sun rising that day. Whine, whine, whine. I think they needed some cheese and crackers to go with that whine.
Concept: Great! It was something I could really connect with, being sort of at that stage in life of “what happens now? What about my friends? Getting a job?” All of that feeling of being lost after graduating high school. I don’t think there are enough books about that – there’s always being in high school, or being in college. Nothing about that middling summer where everything is flipped upside down.
Plot: Eh… This is where I really lost it. Between the two girls, there was so much drama going on, not only in their own lives, but then they start drama between the two of them as well! There were just so many issues, and none of them were really resolved as a result. Plus, half of the focus of the book was EB and Lo trying to decide if they wanted to lose their virginity before leaving for college. Just… ugh.
*rant* WHY IS SEX TREATED AS THE END ALL BE ALL OF TEEN LIFE? I know it’s supposed to be this magical experience, and one day maybe you’ll be privileged enough to hear me change my mind about it’s importance, but for now… really?? I’ve been a virgin going on 18 years now, don’t see that status changing anytime soon, and I can assure you that it doesn’t even make the top ten list of my every day worries. There is so much more to worry about, so much more in life to experience. What happened to spending time with family? Friends? Just enjoying life? Plotting the loss of your virginity sounds like so much stress and work… plus doesn’t that take the magicalness out of it if you’ve sketched a blueprint and a six month plan? */rant*
The back and forth between EB and Lo was a bit like watching a ping pong contest – I couldn’t settle into either of their perspectives because it was bouncing back and forth every single chapter. And I guess it did give that email feeling of send, wait, reply, but it just didn’t work in the long run. It was good, as in it had a lot of promise, but ultimately it fell flat for me. Where I was hoping for something poignant about the rough time between high school and college, and moving forward in life, I was left with two girls whining about their virginity. NOT what I wanted to be reading, at all.
My Final Rating:
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