Roomies by Sara Zarr & Tara Altebrando

Posted 16 January, 2014 by Danny in Blog, Danny, Danny's Book Review / 16 Comments

Roomies by Sara Zarr & Tara AltebrandoRoomies by Sara Zarr, Tara Altebrando
Published by Little Brown Books for Young Readers on December 24th 2013
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon
2.5 Stars

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

I tell you that I was insanely excited about this book. I was hoping for a cute story about girls who will become roommates soon, maybe form a friendship and about the scary thing of leaving home

The Stranger that will share your Room with you…

The concept of the story sounds straightforward. Two girls, from two parts of the US just finished High School and will then soon be roommates at College. With a summer in between they try to connect. One super eager to get to know the other and in desperate hope to find a new friend, while the other couldn’t care less (yet!).

Told in alternating POV and with two distinct voices of two girls who share not much in the first place sets the ground for this story.

A Summer to figure out to say Goodbye and Hello to something new

Maybe I expected something different and it’s then totally my fault – but I actually expected that those girls would meet at some point in College. However, the story is all set in the time before College starts and the girls just have contact via Phone and Email. Both girls couldn’t have been any more different and with different hopes for College and friendship. Until of course they find that being different might be not so bad.

Real Issues in a super slowly paced  story that didn’t click with me

I felt like the story just dragged along – slowly. With both girls having issues at home, with the fear and at the same time anticipation of leaving home and starting a new life. I felt like nothing much happened. Each girl is having a slow romance but neither totally grabbed me and let me feel some chemistry between the couples.

Sure enough the issues felt real, genuine and honest – but for a story to work for me I need some more excitement, chemistry and drama. I want to be entertained, yet here I was sadly bored most of the times. I just didn’t click with the girls or their story or their issues. I’m however sure that the story reflects real life teen issues and I am 100% certain that this book will be loved by many girls who will find themselves in Elizabeth and Lauren. It just wasn’t the right book for me, and for that I’m sad, as I had high hopes when starting Roomies.

Bewitched Rating

Rating 2.5

Bottom Line

Roomies by Sara Zarr & Tara Altebrando could have been awesome and amazing if it would have managed to grab me suck me in and make me feel. The slow pacing with a feeling that nothing really happened made it impossible for me to click with the story and the characters. Sad but true, Roomies wasn’t for me.


Additional Info

Read some Reviews from Bloggers who loved it!

It’s actually interesting for me to read these kind of stories as I never had to share my room with anyone. In Germany we don’t have dorms like you guys in the US have. When we leave for university we just search for an apartment for our own, or we share a bigger apartment with a friend (or make a new friends like this), yet we always have our own room. This is also why I’m eagerly reading all the stories now going around from bloggers sharing their Roomate story Yet, for me there is nothing to share:)

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16 Responses to “Roomies by Sara Zarr & Tara Altebrando”

  1. I think this kind of story could be alot of fun if done right.. obviously this particular one needed a little bit of help. I myself have shared a room with 2 sisters and chaos ensued! I have also shared a room with 2 different guys.. each a different experience. I would be interested to try a story LIKE this… but.. maybe not this one? Thanks for sharing your honest opinion!

    Chelle ~ A Passionate Bookworm
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    Danny 1/17/2014

    Actually the concept reminds me a little of Fangirl and this was done SO RIGHT! I just was hoping for more and so sad it didn’t happen…
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  2. I didn’t realize that you don’t have dorms in Germany. I found that living in the dorms was the best part of college – it forced me to make friends essentially. I met so many people I wouldn’t have otherwise.
    On a somewhat unrelated note, do they have boarding schools in Germany at all for high school?
    Too bad you didn’t like this. I’ve really been looking forward to it.
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    Danny 1/17/2014

    That we don#t have dorms doesn’t mean we don’t life together, students like to from so called “WG’s” which is short for “Shared Flat” – but then again, not sleeping in the same room.

    And yes we do have boarding schools, there of course is a dorm attached.

    Just for university, students are considered adult and should be able to care of themselves for a room to live:)
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  3. I actually felt the same way about it. I liked it for a while but then it just kept going and going. I was ready for it to end about 1/2-3/4 of the way through. I mean, I enjoyed it but…it would have made a fabulous novella.
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    Danny 1/17/2014

    It was Ok – but then… for me it was just plain boring. I was bored and this is something you definitely don’t like while reading right?
    And YES a Novella would have been more than enough here!
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  4. Huh! That’s so weird that they don’t actually meet in college but the book instead talks about their relationship over the phone. I would not have enjoyed it. Plus, it’s a shame the story dragged. I wouldn’t like that either.
    Thanks for the honest review, Danny.
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    Danny 1/17/2014

    Yes that is what I thought too. Maybe it was just my different expectations that made me not enjoy this book as much as I hoped. But then… nothing really happened …

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  5. Ann

    Who knew there were no dorms in Germany?! Rather interesting! Not sure if that’s a good or bad thing. You miss out on the experience, but avoid a lot of crazies. When I was living in the dorms I would totally appreciate my roomie, because she was the BEST. I would hear horror stories from other people about their roomies and I would just shudder. Dorms can be really fun or a nightmare depending on personality compatibility. It’s a crapshoot. -_-

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    Danny 1/17/2014

    Haha I bet that it can be totally awesome! University here is not like College – people are considered more mature, more like adults and education is more free. But this also means that since you are an adult you have to take care of your living arrangements yourself.
    Also this is not a bad thing but of course can also be horrible.
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  6. Before reviews of this one started coming out, I definitely thought this story would be about them meeting and learning to be roommates rather than taking place the summer prior to their freshman year. I can see how that would be a little off-putting initially if you didn’t know going in. It’s a shame this one was so slow for you Danny, I hope whatever you pick up next is a page turner!

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    Danny 1/17/2014

    See, you also thought so – it wasn’t just me! Gosh yes it was boring and I was so sad that I didn’t like it more ;(((
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  7. I felt the exact same way about this book: I just couldn’t connect with any aspect of the story at all! I did college online, at home, so I never had a roommate or lived in a dorm, but I’ve also never lived in a world with dragons yet I connect to those protagonists just fine. There was just some spark missing in this book – though I really did enjoy How to Save a Life, one of Zarr’s other books.
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  8. Nicqui G

    I read this book because of this review. It sounded like such a light and easy read. I really enjoyed seeing the friendship develop over the course of one summer and I’m very happy I follow this blog for such great recs as these. Looking forward to more.

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