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Roomies Hardcover – December 24, 2013

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Gr 9 Up-Immediately upon receiving her roommate assignment from UC Berkeley, high school senior Elizabeth can't wait to "introduce" herself with a logistics-heavy email to Lauren. After all, Lauren lives in San Francisco, worlds away from Elizabeth's experience in suburban New Jersey. Unfortunately, Lauren does not receive the roommate assignment with the same enthusiasm. After years of sharing spaces with siblings at least a decade her junior, she bristles at Elizabeth's initial overtures, leading to a rocky start for this relationship. As the weeks pass and the girls share more personal information, the thawing process begins, then stalls, then begins again. By the end of the summer, a tenuous truce has each teen believing that this may work out after all. Zarr and Altebrando use alternating chapters and voices to weave together this tale of roommate matchmaking. The technique lends a tone of authenticity to the story while highlighting the perils of relationships based solely on electronic communications.-Colleen S. Banick, Westport Public Schools, CTα(c) Copyright 2013. Library Journal. LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

From Booklist

In a classic two-voice YA novel, authors Zarr and Altebrando expose the excitement, uncertainties, and sheer terror high-school graduates experience as they face college. The premise—e-mails from the Berkeley housing director announcing roommate assignments—is a clever device for introducing EB (Elizabeth) and Lauren to each other and the reader. New Jersey native EB, or, as Lauren quickly dubs her, Ebb, is headed to California to study landscape architecture and escape her mother, who has become excessively irritating lately. Lauren, on the other hand, is staying close to home, although she alternately craves and fears the short distance dorm life will afford from her four young siblings and overly stressed parents. EB’s gay father, who disappeared from her life when she was five and now runs an art gallery in San Francisco, and Lauren’s black boyfriend add plot complexity and keep both girls off-balance. Authentic and drama filled, this novel offers reassurance to all teens who, regardless of destination, are facing the next chapter in their lives: leaving home. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: Zarr, a National Book Award finalist for Story of a Girl (2007), and Altebrando are backed by a substantial marketing and publicity campaign that includes select author appearances and a blog tour. Grades 9-12. --Frances Bradburn
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 12 and up
  • Grade Level: 7 and up
  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers; First Printing edition (December 24, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0316217492
  • ISBN-13: 978-0316217491
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1 x 8.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.1 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (95 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #771,094 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Book 'Em Danno on March 27, 2014
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Roomies is a story of two female high school graduates about to embark on their higher education journey by attending college in San Francisco, CA. Elizabeth (EB) is from New Jersey and Lauren (Lo) is from San Francisco, CA. They end up e-mailing each other as they are going to be dorm roommates in college.

I was interested in the premise of the book as well as the storyline consisting of some e-mail communication as that's how many of us communicate these days. As much as I wanted to love it I found that the story dragged. There were a lot of issues touched upon - interracial dating, losing your virginity, single parenting, infideltiy, etc. - but I feel like the issues were just dangling out there and never meshed in a way that made you want to keep reading.

The ending was blah and tied neatly in a bow which made me just say "really?". I can only recommend this book if you have absolutely nothing else to read. I don't recommend buying it but checking it out at the library.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Maci and Zoe Read Books on February 7, 2015
Format: Hardcover
I got this books from a giveaway and I was very reluctant to pick it up. It did not seem like my type of book. When I did pick it up I was pleasantly surprised. I overall liked this book even though it was full of drama. This book is a lot about moving on in life and I really liked that part of it. It had a really good way of explaining it. I would recommend this book to anyone who is graduating from middle school to high school or high school to college.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Kim {kimberlyfaye reads} on December 3, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition
Nearly a year ago, I was ridiculously excited to get an invitation to claim a review copy of Roomies from NetGalley. Having had my share of drama with roommates over the years (and some very good roommate experiences, too), it really sounded like something I would enjoy. Somewhere along the way it got shoved aside. When I would think about going back to it, I'd look at the other reviews on Goodreads and shrug and move along to something else. I'm glad I finally decided to give it a shot this week. I thoroughly enjoyed it and, honestly, wouldn't mind a second book with these characters.

Roomies is told in a very unconventional way – through both a series of emails and in first person with alternating perspectives of Elizabeth and Lauren. I can never get into books told solely through letters or poems. I get bored. I find myself skimming and then I lose the whole point of the book. That was never a problem here. I enjoyed watching as these girls tried to get to know each other through a series of emails and how they were handling their day-to-day life in their own thoughts.

I honestly can't say that either Elizabeth or Lauren were particularly likable. Despite that, I was still able to connect with them in my own way. Each of these girls was struggling with aspects of their life. Elizabeth with her father abandoning her and her mother being a complete and total jerk. I seriously despised that lady. I could go on a three-paragraph rant about all that was wrong with her, but I won't. She also had some relationship issues and a potential budding new love that she would have to leave when they both went away to college. Lauren was dealing with never being alone or doing things for herself. She had five younger siblings that she cared for and that came with its own problems.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Natalie @ Book Lovers Life on January 1, 2014
Format: Hardcover
Im going to say straight off that I usually don't read books like these but I decided to try it simply because it is out of my comfort zone.

Lauren is starting college at the end of summer. She has requested a single dorm room but gets an email from housing saying she is being put into a room with a roommate. She gets an email not long after from Elizabeth, her future roommate. What follows is a string of emails between them getting to know each other.
Lauren lives in a house with her big family and Elizabeth lives with her mother. Will they manage to get on when they seem so different?

Roomies is told from both Laurens and Elizabeths POV with every chapter alternating between them. I quite liked this aspect of the book because we got to see both sides of the story. Lauren is quite shy and down to earth and Elizabeth is a bit more chatty. Both are trying to come to terms with leaving their respected lives and staying in a room with a stranger.

While the book is well written and we do see both Lauren and Elizabeth growing as characters, I just thought the book was OK. I found Elizabeths obsession with the emails a bit odd!! She doesn't know Lauren but yet was constantly obsessing over the fact that Lauren was late replying.

Both Lauren and Elizabeth have budding relationships with some amazing guys but again this annoyed me because both happened at the same time and for me it would of been better if one was in a relationship already. It felt a bit contrived, what are the odds that your room mate just happens to meet an amazing guy at the same time as you and just as they are going to college!!

Maybe its just me but some of the things they wrote to each other were so personal.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Shannon On The Lakes TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on March 26, 2014
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Or thinking about the dorm life? This story is all about the bitter and the sweet, as in sweeeeeet!

Leaving high school and crossing over to the more adult world of college is both thrilling and terrifying for teens. Being a fly on the wall, so to speak, and listening to how two girls maneuver through uncharted territory makes for an interesting read for young adults.
At times it seems to move a bit slow, but well worth it for the rest.
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