Synchronized Reading: Roomies Review


 Roomies by Tara Altebrando & Sara Zarr



As an only child living with her single mother at the Jersey Shore, Elizabeth has dreamed of he day when she can finally pack her bags and move clear across the country. So when she graduates high school, she realizes that her dreams are just a few months shy of becoming a reality. She’s been accepted into the University of Southern California.

No one understands why Elizabeth wants – needs – to do this, and she can’t quite articulate the reasons why either. All she knows is this: she needs a new start. One where there are no nagging mothers, no routine plans with the same routine friends she’s had since grade school, no familiarities. And college will give her just that.

There’s only one thing Elizabeth isn’t so sure about: her soon to be roommate.


Lauren, a recent high school graduate, cannot remember the last time she had a moment to herself. She’s can’t remember a time when she didn’t have to share her space, her bedroom, with one of her many siblings. But now that she’s been accepted into the University of Southern California all of her dreams of peace and relaxation are about to come true.

Going to the University of Southern California is Lauren’s chance to step away from … well, everything. College is Lauren’s chance to step away from her large family, her chance to examine her role within that family, and an even bigger chance to discover who she really when she isn’t standing in her family’s shadow.

So when she receives an e-mail from the school informing her that her single room request has been declined, Lauren is more than deflated.

But then Elizabeth, Lauren’s soon to be roommate e-mails her. And the more they e-mail the more excited both Lauren and Elizabeth become about sharing a living space and being Roomies.

Roomies is a realistic read co-written by authors Tara Altebrando and Sara Zarr.

Written by e-mailing chapters back and forth, the writing is strong and seamless. Judging from the writing along, readers will not necessarily know this – that just how fluid this book is. Each chapter, told from each character’s perspective flows gracefully from one to another.

Roomies is the kind of book that, not only captures readers attention, but it also will captures all of the reader’s emotions surrounding college and college life. Readers who are gearing up for the first college experience will easily relate to both Elizabeth and Lauren even though their own perspectives of college is vastly different. On the flip side, older readers who have already experienced college will be transported back in time.

When I first went away to college, I lived in the dorm. Like Elizabeth, as an only child I was a mixed bag of emotions – I was really excited to get to know my roommate – to be lifelong friends. But, like Lauren, I was terrified of sharing my personal space, terrifying to not having a peaceful moment to myself, what with sharing such a small space with a complete stranger. Relating to Roomies was easy.

Like authors Altebrando and Zarr, main characters Elizabeth and Lauren mainly communicate via e-mail. Readers will thoroughly enjoy their e-mail exchanges. Not just because they get the chance to witness the blossoming friendship between the two, but readers will also get the chance to fully understand who these two characters are by giving a closer glance at their individual live and feelings.

Altebrando and Zarr’s co-written novel Roomies is a great read. It’s one that readers will easily relate to, will laugh out loud to, and one that’s filled with characters that readers will connect to on a deeper, personal level. Do yourself a favor: pick up Roomies and read it!


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