Length: 288 pages
"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." (Goodreads)
I read Roomies over the summer after picking up an ARC from the generous publishers at ALA in Chicago. I have previously loved Sara Zarr's Story of a Girl and How to Save a Life, so I was sure I'd like her newest, co-written with Tara Altebrando. Books with two authors fascinate me, as I don't think I'm the type that could do that, but this book turned out fantastically with two excellent authors.
Roomies is written from two points of view: Elizabeth and Lauren, two girls who will be roommates during their freshmen year of college. Zarr writes from Lauren's POV and Altebrando writes Elizabeth's, which works out very well here (although if you've read How to Save a Life, you know Zarr can do two POV's masterfully). I loved how different both girls were and how true to life the story was in terms of starting college. You room with someone you don't know, sometimes leave family behind, and start over in a new place.
I was surprised at how much I ended up enjoying Roomies. I thought it was well-written and brought me back to that summer after high school when I "met" my freshman roommate for the first time via phone and email. It was a summer of beginnings and endings, and I think Zarr and Altebrando captured that perfectly. This book hasn't gotten a lot of attention, but it's definitely a solid contemporary you should read. I'm picky about my realistic fiction, so if I recommend one, you know it's good :)