Roomies
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on March 27, 2014
Format: HardcoverVine 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
on February 7, 2015
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
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. Unlike Elizabeth, however, she had good parents. They were just stretched thin. She, too, had a budding romance and friendship issues.

I thought the friendship they began building throughout the summer was the real thing. It had ups and downs, judgements and fights, communication issues and times they were really there for each other when no one in their current day-to-day life would understand what they were dealing with. I enjoyed watching them open up and test the waters with some "overshares." That's how you build a real friendship, after all. They may have had their differences, and there may have been some maturity in reaction to said differences, but it was realistic to me. It was just happening through email instead of face-to-face.

I adored the love interests in this story. Both of the romances were sweet in that "first love" uncertain kind of way. They were good guys and, of course, in my ending, both couples manage to escape the pitfalls of a long distance relationship and live happily ever after. I know that might not be realistic, but a girl can dream, right?

I won't spoil the ending for you, of course, but I do have to say that I'm not generally one who enjoys ambiguous endings. I like my standalone books to wrap up nicely at the end, with as few loose ends as possible. Don't make me write the ending of your book. All that said, there are times when an ambiguous ending isn't a bad thing, and Roomies is one of those times. I actually really liked it in this instance. Of course, that said, I would love to learn more about college Elizabeth and Lauren. I definitely think there's potential for more story there and I would happily read it.

It's been a long time since I went off to college and dealt with the amount of unknowns that Elizabeth and Lauren did in this book. But, Roomies brought it all back and, even better, made me remember all the fun my Freshman year roommate (and floormates) and I had. Ah, the good ol' days. Not only was Roomies a great story, but it gave me a chance to look back fondly on some of my own roommates. And, uh, not so fondly on some of the others.

I received a copy of this book from the publisher, via NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
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. I know myself, I wouldn't put things like that in emails to someone I've never met, but as I said that could be just me.

Then to top it all off I felt cheated with that ending!!! I mean seriously, we went through it all and then the authors cut it off so abruptly!! Ugh.

Saying that while the book wasn't for me I'm sure there are plenty of people who will enjoy it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Format: HardcoverVine 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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on March 11, 2015
I only vaguely knew the music of The Supremes when I went off to college. By Christmas break of freshman year I could sing every word of every song they ever recorded. Actually, to be honest, I could probably do that by Columbus Day. I could also sing “It’s My Party and I’ll Cry if I Want To,” but I didn’t, though I occasionally succumb to temptation these days, principally to annoy my kids. Adjusting to living with a stranger--and their music--is a huge part of the freshman year experience.

Lauren and Elizabeth are about to be college roommates. Their lives show little in common: Lauren’s from California, where they’ll be going to college, Elizabeth is from New Jersey. Lauren’s looking to get away from roommates; she has a room full of siblings at home. Elizabeth, an only child, is looking for that sister experience. The roommates get in touch after their room assignment letters arrive. Over the course of the summer they carve out the beginning of their roommate relationship, even as they begin to discover who they are in a post-high school world.

I found Roomies an engaging read. I enjoyed bouncing back and forth between the two characters and their different worlds. The story and characters felt very real in their expectations, their questions, and their fears about what was to come. Both young women changed immensely over the course of the summer. The book leaves the reader at the threshold of the school year with two new roommates who have not yet met—a lovely ending for readers who like to hold on to the possibilities in their own imaginations.

Roomies by Tara Attlebrando and Sara Zarr brought an astonishing number of freshman year memories back to me. It captured perfectly that on-the-cusp feeling of kids who have graduated from high school and mentally moved on but not yet become college students. I think this book will become a favorite high school read.

I received Roomies as a promo galley courtesy of Little Brown Books for Young Readers and NetGalley.
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on February 16, 2015
This book has been on my Kindle for a really long time and I just never seemed to get to it. I think it might have had to do with the fact that it is classified as a coming of age YA story and not a romance. Sometimes if romance doesn't seem to be a big part of a story it becomes less appealing to me. This is where the whole idea of TBR Tuesday has become something I'm truly thankful for. It's forced me to read books that at some point, interested me but that I haven't read for one reason or another and to realize that I miss out when I keep putting these books off.
This was absolutely a coming of age story with a heavy focus on friendship, family and change but I'm happy to report that there was a bit of romance as well.
The email relationship between EB and Lo was easy to relate to, especially in this age of social media. I was easy to relate to the fact that these two virtual strangers formed such a bond with each other strictly through online communication. It was intriguing to watch the relationship grow from introduction to their first argument and to question the level of loyalty, honesty and openness that is owed between two people who've never actually met.
It wasn't just about new friendship though. It also explored the changes that happen when someone is moving from one stage in their lives to another. Can childhood friendships survive time and distance? What happens to family when one of them leaves for bigger and better things? What happens when something amazing starts on your way out the door?
I love that the story was written with alternating POV's. It added more depth to the story while still flowing easily. It's a well-written coming of age tale that ended with never ending possibilities, which left me satisfied but wanting to know more at the same time. I would be lying if I said I wasn't curious about what happens next.

*I received an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review
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on November 1, 2014
If new adult is going to become a category that sticks around like young adult has, then it needs to have more books like Roomies published if it does. Sara Zarr and Tara Altebrando truly understand what it means to be a teen who is about to leave for college. They understand what it means to be a teen on the cusp of adulthood. I can’t wait to share Roomies with my seniors this year and every year that I teach seniors.

I really appreciate the characters’ emotions in this book. Elizabeth and Lauren appear to be very different people, but they’re actually quite similar, especially when comparing how they feel about leaving for college. Both of the girls are questioning their decisions about moving away from home, how to deal with their friends, and how this move will affect their families. I appreciate their feelings about all of these things because I remember feeling exactly the same way before I moved to college. Quite a few of my former seniors confided in me and expressed similar worries. Roomies is a book that will let seniors know that it’s okay to have doubts, but that it’s also okay to ultimately be confident about a decision.

Another reason this book won me over is because it’s written so seamlessly. Sometimes I wonder if a dual-authored book will flow well. I can honestly say that I’m not sure if Sara Zarr and Tara Alterbrando each took on a different character and wrote this story or if they worked on it as a whole together. The characters’ voices are distinct and the story flows perfectly as the points of view change. I love that it felt like I was reading one author’s work.

A layer of the story that made Roomies extra fun are the relationships Elizabeth and Lauren begin. Neither of the girls are really looking to be in a relationship before they leave for school, but the guys they each meet end up being supportive and positive additions to their lives. I love how Sara Zarr and Tara Altebrando handled these relationships because while new adult has become associated with romance novels, these relationships are very fitting for the average senior girl who’s about to start life outside of high school. Sex is discussed and a topic of conversation in Roomies, but it’s done without venturing into romance novel territory. It’s new adult that I feel comfortable adding to my classroom library.

Overall, I can’t recommend Roomies enough. The characters are vibrant, their stories and conflicts will resonate with readers, and the feelings and worries portrayed about venturing into the real world are authentic.
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on September 17, 2014
~4-4.5/5

[More of my reviews are available on my blog, Geeky Reading, to which there's a link on my profile.]

I am really surprised by this, but I kind of loved this book. I was expecting to like it, but not this much.

I love the idea in the first place, of two people getting to know each other before they become college roommates. I also enjoyed that this book showed how easily it is to misunderstand each other through text--that you can make a friend through the internet, through text only, but also that you can have disagreements and overcome them—and how easy it is to misinterpret something someone else says without the visual. The two main characters do not hit it off right away, and they have a couple of fights along the way.

Lauren was my favorite, by quite a bit. She’s a little hard-edged, a little afraid to really get close with someone, unsure what to do with herself, how to deal with her life changing. I loved her family, how big it is and how close they are, even if they drive each other crazy. I liked her friend Zoe, how different they are but how they’re there for each other.

I also just really related to Lauren, I think. I understand why she’s having a hard time with her life changing. How she wants to go away, but she also doesn’t want anything to change. How she wants one thing, but also the other. I get that.

I extremely liked her guy, Keyon. He’s fun and sweet and real and insecure. The two of them together is great, their chemistry and the way they hit it off, and how they dealt with their moving away for college. He’s also black, and I kind of enjoyed how that was handled, and how sometimes it just wasn’t a Thing.

I did like Elizabeth, but not as much. She goes through a lot during this summer, and I feel bad for her. She grows up a lot, though, and that’s good.

Mostly, I think I just didn’t connect with her as much, or think there was quite as much development. In particular, I didn’t feel the chemistry between her and Mark enough. Plus, I think her mother made a change a little too quickly, although I did like her in the end. Her dad was a jerk.

Overall, I really, really enjoyed this book. It was easy to get pulled into, I didn’t want to put it down. And I will definitely be picking up another book by the author of Lauren, which I think is Sara Zarr? (Which surprised me, since I've read a couple of her earlier books, and this one was much better in writing.)
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on September 2, 2014
An emotional, accurate portrayal of two YA girls transitioning between high school and college.

Even though I'm writing this review on the first day of school for many, this is the PERFECT time to pick up this novel. It's not to early to start thinking about what's ahead and what kind of relationship you might want to have with a roommate in college. C'mon, let's be honest. If you're a senior, you're already thinking about it! For those who are adjusting to a new roommate, this novel will provide some great insight on roommate relationships.

Written in two different perspectives utilizing narration and emails and text messages, the reader dives into the lives of two VERY different girls. Lauren is from a large family and needed a scholarship to afford college. She doesn't have much time for friends let alone any personal time or space. EB is an only child of a gay father who abandoned her when she was five.

Over the summer, EB and Lauren share some very personal insights into their lives, sharing feelings for boys, family, friendships. One of the most powerful relationships is between Lauren and Keyon, an interracial couple. It revealing, honest.

Why I think YA will like this novel?
1. Shows how jumping to conclusions can be completely false.
2. Relating to people who are very different than you.
3. Opens doors for communication and honesty.
4. Though this may sound cliche, it's still important: Shows no one is perfect!
5. Opens eyes to seeing different perspectives on the same situation.
6. Touches upon sexuality and relationships and connecting with the ONE who makes a difference in your life - how love impacts you.
7. Addresses fears, anticipation for the next big step in life: college.
8. Shows the transition between old high school friends and new friends and how to stay connected as you all go your separate ways.

Definitely recommend!
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