Thursday, January 9, 2014

Read This: Roomies

Roomies
by Sara Zarr and Tara Altebrando

The Short Story
EB and Lauren are going to be roommates this fall for their freshman year of college. But first they have to say goodbye to high school friends, family dynamics, and maybe new loves. They start out emailing and quickly find that they may understand each other better than anyone else. Maybe? Transitions and realism and the excitement of new and the fear of leaving familiar behind.
I loved so much about this story.
4.5/5

Come for the....
honesty. This book was such an accurate portrayal of life and relationships and transition that I kept having to stop myself and nod, or reminisce on something from my life that felt exactly like what happened in the story. When I read Sweethearts, I felt like Sara Zarr was writing about my life. And she did it again (with Tara Altebrando! I need to read some of her stuff too). The whole time I read I kept thinking about my freshman roommates -- more on them in another post. But I thought the book did an excellent job of showing exactly what it's like when you can feel yourself moving apart from friends you were close to, and at the same time moving toward new people because of similar circumstances. There's so much uncertainty about what will happen with people you've known and loved, and at the same time all this excitement to start something new.

But the book is true to life in more than just relationships. I completely enjoyed EB's frustration with how Lauren viewed her parents'... unwise decisions. The whole "no one can criticize my crazy family but me" feeling was so true! And the fear of sharing things about your family with new people, who don't know them but still judge them, is spot on, too. One last thing I also loved was the way interracial dating was handled in the story. Because race so often is something we notice, but are we supposed to? And how do you even discuss it? Take this excerpt after Lauren brings her boyfriend to meet her parents:


  Don't Think About This Too Hard
  • A couple little things about the plot occasionally felt convenient, or a bit over the top, but it was easy for me to look past because I was so invested in the characters.

The Big Three:
Language: occasional profanity, included a couple instances of the f-word
Sex and Stuff: discussing sex, but nothing graphic or descriptive
Violence: not an issue
Sound like a book you'd like to read? Come back on Friday for a chance to win your own copy of Roomies!

9 comments:

  1. Honesty is (honestly) something I love. It's great that she portrays everything great even if other things are over the top, which can be fun sometimes and annoying in others. That quote you added made me laugh, which gets me even more excited because I love it when books make me laugh. Uh oh, the big three turns me off, but I think I can maybeeee ignore it.

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    1. It's so true that sometimes over the top things are just fun and silly to read about and other times they're kind of a distraction. :)
      For the big 3, I feel like language was probably the biggest issues. One girl's boyfriend swore pretty regularly. (but I also notice swearing a lot, so another reader might not even notice it)

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  2. There you go convincing me to read a Sara Zarr book AGAIN. I always feel like I cheated when it comes to my freshman year of college because I roomed with my best friend, but it sounds like there'll still be a lot for me to relate to. Maybe this will be the Zarr book that wins me over?

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    1. It's my evil plot to get you to find a Sara Zarr book you'll like! :) I think this one has potential, though. It's not nearly as heavy as most of her other books. The characters have some inner conflict, but no one is in turmoil or life crisis or anything.
      Also lucky you living with your best friend! I don't think I ever knew all of my roommates before I moved somewhere. But usually one or two.

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  3. I have yet to read a Sara Zarr novel but I really like the sounds of this one. I love realistic portrayals. Great review!

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    1. Thanks! I think Zarr is really good at portraying complicated feelings in an honest way. She's not for everyone, but I love her stuff. :)

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  4. I've seen this book everywhere recently and everyone seems to be enjoying it, I really need to get my hands on a copy.

    http://agirlinbookland.blogspot.co.uk/

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    1. It really is a fun book! I'm sad the big promotional giveaways the publisher is having bloggers host are all US-only. :( Hopefully you'll be able to round up a copy anyway!

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  5. I love books that portray life and relationships in a believable way :) Thanks for the great review!

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