Thursday, June 6, 2013

for high school graduates: Roomies

Title: Roomies
Authors: Sara Zarr & Tara Alterbrando
My rating: 3.4/5

"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.

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."


**Announcement: I got this book as an ARC at BEA. The expected publication date of Roomies is December 2013**

I finished Roomies in one sitting on my thirteen-hour flight from New York to Beijing. It's been four days since I finished reading it, and I'm still trying to sort out how I feel about it. It's really sort of like "hmm...eh...oh well."

Why do I say so?

Part 1: Hmm.
The beginning of the book had a lot of promise. The email setup is refreshing and sums up a lot about the two protagonists EB and Lauren in a few short emails. The narration in between the emails spell out the protagonists' thought processes fairly well, as a supplement for the emails. It's understandable, since you don't expect two otherwise strangers to spill out their hearts to each other upon the first email exchange. By adding the narrative the authors help us get a better understanding of EB and Lauren's personalities. This first part of the book I liked. Not loved, but liked. I was starting to expect something great to unfold.

Part 2: Eh.
As the story carried on, however, I started to feel a little disappointed. Other than the unconventional email setup, everything else about this book seems just so...average. Nothing dramatic seems to happen, besides the typical high school stuff (oops I just cheated on my boyfriend. Oh wait, maybe he's not my boyfriend anymore. He's with so-and-so anyway). There is a bit of family drama for both EB and Lauren, that I have to admit, is one of the deeper topics this book touches on, however it doesn't touch on it quite deep enough that the protagonists gain something significant from it. So this is the "eh" part, where I feel like I'm rereading any chick lit book from my 10th grade stash.

Part 3: Oh well.
Towards the end I started liking the story again, especially in the last few pages, where both EB and Lauren start to approach the dorm, and your expectation just builds and builds and builds. You think about all the emails they exchanged, their virtual friendship, wrecked and pieced together again. You wonder if they will get along, just like I as an upcoming college freshman wonder if I will become good friends with my own roommate. I guess in this sense the book has come to me at a right time; I can totally empathize with the protagonists. Above all, the writing is still good and enjoyable, there is an okay flow to the story. For when you are on the airplane, or on the beach with not much to do, this is just the right casual book to read.

xx
Vanessa :]

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