Authors: Sara Zarr, Tara Altebrando
Publication date: December 24, 2013
Publisher: Little Brown Books for Young Readers
It'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.
I thought it was fitting to read this since I was transitioning to college myself only a couple days after I finished. To me, this was actually realistic. While Elizabeth, called EB throughout, is from the East Coast, she's moving to California for college. I thought this unlikely considering her familial situation until she mentioned all the loans she's taking out. Because if I can barely go to college IN state, then how could she go to college OUT of state? When authors casually have their characters go out of state, making it seem like all the tuition is the same, it makes me grumble about the story. Thankfully, that didn't really happen here.
On the other hand, we have Lauren, the first born out of many who is trying to have enough money to go to the same college just a little bit away and in the same state. I felt THAT was really realistic. I didn't have this SUPER connection with either of them, but homesickness-wise, I knew where Lauren was coming from. I think I even liked her more than EB, but both had their positives.
The romance is where I cross the line from one roomie to the other. Lauren's romantic prospect outweighed EB's WAY more. Way, way more. Lauren actually knew her guy before, they had a realistic rough patch, and I could see the connection between the two. For EB, that wasn't the case. It felt too much like insta-love for me. I kept going back and forth between whether or not EB should've even had a love interest because it seemed useless. But I can see the authors wanting to portray a different side, kind of like a summer fling. Their feelings for each other felt too rushed though.
Because I just moved to college, I liked how the authors made the whole transition for each of the girls relatable. It's stressful. Emotions are running high. Conflicts arise. Fears heighten. Everything just seems a little too MUCH at once. Lauren is dealing with insecurity, change, and homesickness before she even leaves home. EB is dealing with leaving everything behind, her family, and unmet expectations. They have problems with each other. They have problems with people around them. THAT'S NORMAL. For me, I felt like I became snappier through the transition because of stress and the newness of it all. When I had a rooommate glitch, I just finished the book, which meant I had gone through EB and Lauren's glitches. I can't say how much that actually helped me, to have read someone else's problem's, even though they were fictional.
I might have problems here and there with the story, but overall, it was just what I needed.
Verdict: Realistic, fun story of two future roommates before school starts.
To promote the book way back when it was first published, they had people tell their roommate stories. What was your roommate story?