Monday, November 18, 2013

For your TBR Pile - Roomies

Roomies by Sara Zarr and Tara Altebrando

Published: December 24th

Thanks Little Brown and NetGalley for the eARC. In exchange, I've written this unbiased review.

From GoodReadsIt'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.

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.

Overall Review: The end of this book made me cry. In public. In a hair salon. Enough said?

Rating: 5 stars.

Writing: Sara Zarr has to pretty much murder a puppy and spit on small children to write a story that I won't automatically give 5 stars. She and Tara Altebrando crafted an amazing story together. Because this was written as an author collaboration, the entire time I read, I wanted to know how Sara and Tara wrote this book.

Like, did they each pick a character (I'm going to guess Sara wrote Lauren's POV and Tara wrote EB's) and only shared the email correspondence with each other, while writing the meat of the story separately? For instance, did Tara (aka EB) send Sara (aka Lauren) an email, which Sara would take and craft Lauren's reaction and story leading up to the replying email at the end of the chapter, which would be the only piece Tara saw in return?

I really hope that made sense. If not, just skip to...

Characters: I really wished I had a book like this as I was a nervous high school senior anticipating what the next year would bring. As much as the characters wanted to leave home, they both were very aware of what they were leaving behind (the good and the bad). Packing up and leaving isn't always as simple as we pretend it should be, especially when you are replacing the family you always knew for a new roomie at college. Both characters reflected quite a bit on this anticipation and the way Zarr and Altebrando wrote it felt fresh in a very crowded "going to college" YA market.

Recommended For: Sara Zarr fans will not be disappointed! Every once in a while I love reading a book that breaks the classic contemp YA format and mold. ROOMIES made me think, not only as a reader but a storyteller.

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