Thursday, January 09, 2014

REVIEW - ROOMIES by Sara Zarr and Tara Altebrando

Roomies
by Sara Zarr and Tara Altebrando
Publisher - Hodder and Stoughton
Release Date - January 2nd 2014
Buy - Amazon | Book Depository


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.
As YA contemporaries go, this is what I call a brilliant start to the new year. Refreshing, cute and enjoyable use of dual authors and perspective, two girls from opposite ends of America will embark on the next stage in a young adults life...University.

We first start with Elizabeth or EB, an only child, an absent father who for the record is gay and has his gallery in San Francisco. She also has issues with her mum with her messing with a married guy, leaving EB alone...She's the one that initiated the the emails to her new roomie known as Lauren. She begins with such enthusiasm and pride for this new friendship that she took it for granted, took it as her only escapism and pending relief to her new life. From the beginning I knew I would connect with her easily, her family situation is similar to me (not the father part!!!) so I was a little apprehensive on how I would react to the dual perspective and meeting Lauren. Her hard work, creative and energetic nature of her really shines through Sara and Tara's writing, which I loved even more.

There's just not enough quiet time in a chaotic household like Lauren's. It's very rare to have anything to herself; a big family, two jobs and some or no social time whatsoever. At first my impression of Lo was that she was going to be a posh and for what of a better phrase, stuck up at times. I was rather shocked to find that she is none of that, she is actually similar to EB in more ways than one. They are destined to be best friends in my book... There were moments between Lo and her siblings, like Gertie and PJ that makes your heart melt. Then her relationship with her parents, it almost seems so precious on both sides that you can't help but feel a part of that.

Their relationship on the other hand is very is a catch twenty two...from a reader's perspective its predictable with the way the style of the novel was written. However personally it was also unpredictable, why because I've never had the opportunity to of going Uni or how it would work. So it was an exciting to see how the plot develops with every page turned. Another element which I found wonderful was the use of dual perspective and even it being written by two authors as well. There must be great organisation and creativity to produce a book based on two minds. I wasn't sure at first as its very rare for me to connect with the two protagonists individually... but with the email at the end of each chapter, stylistically it adds to the connection of the characters and their friendship.

Aside from their friendship there definitely wasn't any lack of romance in this book, which added to my excitement of the plot. EB found herself drawn to Mark, a family as which she was assigned to landscape their front garden. They were introduced when he was looking for 'Froggy', that makes me giggle even now. It was such a wonderful and beautiful romance to read and added effect when she was sharing this with her 'roomie', which by this point they were talking  like friends. For Lo there was Keyon, a colleague, a friend or maybe in Lo's opinion a Friend with Benefits at one point. I had my reserves about him, you don't really get to know him very much. But once they started going out, he totally won me over. They both (Mark and Keyon) were very cute and enjoyable love interest to read.

Roomies, became a surprise for the start of 2014, the only disappointment was a lack of an ending, I still feel they are continuing there life without me, the reader, reading it for myself. Personally I could have used a better resolve of a heartfelt and enjoyable relations such as EB and Lo. In the end its two people from completely different lives, will be roomies. When really they aren't so different at all.

Rating - 4.5

I received this book from Hodder and Stoughton in exchange for a honest review.

20 comments:

  1. Woot! I'm so glad you enjoyed this one, Emma! It surprised me with its depth and its realistic portrayal of teen emotion during this time period and, like you, I simply adored it. Lovely review, my friend! :)

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    1. Haha. Thanks Keertana. Its so rare to find a book that was fascinating for me but I felt totally every emotion that they gave. Thank you Keertana, I really loved it. :)

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  2. Sounds like a lovely friendship when these two needed it the most. I'm glad to hear the romance was to your liking as that's usually the part of a book I love the most. Wonderful review, Emma! :)

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    1. I think the friendship was what I really enjoyed the most. The romance made it even better for me...I agree it also was my favourite part of the book as well. Thanks Rachel. :)

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  3. Ooh, I like the sound of this one! When it comes to contemporaries, it is quite rare when they make it to 4.5 or 5 stars but this one sounds like something I'll enjoy. I haven't read many books about college with roommates and the like, so I'll keep my eye open for this one.

    Thanks for the great review, Emma! :)

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    1. I love contemporaries but there are ones that are very rare that will get a 4.5 or 5 stars for me. But this one was so different that I think without the open ending I could have given it a 5. Thanks for stopping by Zoe. :)

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  4. I can definitely see this one having more of an open ending Emma, given the girls are just starting their freshman year. I'm not typically a huge fan of open endings, I like my stories wrapped up nicely, but it seems like that was a small niggle overall for you and you clearly enjoyed the rest of the story! I think now that I know about it upfront, it won't be an issue for me. Looking forward to this one:) Beautiful review!

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    1. I totally agree. I think I would have even been happy with an Epilogue. But they just ended it on the chapter especially as they starting out, friendship, romance and university that they could have done something with it. I don't know if there is a sequel in the pipeline... maybe I can hope. I hope you enjoy it Jenny. :) Thank you!

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  5. I'm glad you enjoyed this, but um.. Ok, I skimmed your review. Again! I KNOW I KNOW. I suck at life. I just haven't read this and I don't really want to know anything about it. I read Jasprit's review a LONG time ago and I don't remember anything other than that I really, reallllllllly wanted to read it after that. Then I came across reviews that were all better than 3 stars (3 stars included) and it makes me even more curious. From your first paragraph I gather that you enjoyed it though. As from your rating. I'm glad you enjoyed the love interests since I love my romance in books :) Heh. I'm glad you enjoyed it and when I'm done and through with it, we can compare notes :)

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    1. Haha,I hope you enjoy this book, Siiri! I loved it! The characters relationships both friendships and romantic fell into one place. Its brilliant. The romance is particularly nice from EB's point of view. I'll look forward to your thoughts on the book. :) Thank you, Siiri. :)

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  6. It seems like this one is getting more and more popular these days. I have seen it around and mostly people agree about it. it sounds like a truly interesting story which connects two different characters and they must learn how to work together. Too bad that the book lacks the real endings, open endings are either hit or miss with me. It all depends. I'm so glad you enjoyed this one. Great review, Emma :)

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    1. I think the characters were brilliant, especially since I haven't found a a book where I thoroughly enjoyed the dual perspective. It worked so well within each with the writing style through emails between the protags. I was a little put out by the ending, but I don't want it to overlook the relationships within the book. Thank you Tanja. :)

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  7. It's a shame that you found the ending a little disappointing. Roomies sounds like a brilliant read, can't wait to try it myself!

    Great review! <33

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    1. I hope you enjoy it. Thank you for stopping by Mel. :)

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    1. Hope you enjoy it. Thanks for stopping by Sheila!

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  9. everyone is loving Roomies! I love how more YA books are starting to set in college (different from NA ones) and I love ones centered around friendships too (though romances don't hurt either!) Thanks for the review. I seriously need to get myself a copy of this and my sister really likes Sara Zarr.

    - Juhina @ Maji Bookshelf

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    1. Its a YA version of NA book with the setting and age of the characters. Its actually quite a refreshing change is I say so and one to open the new year with as well. Its brilliant... the friendships were just so cute and so are the romances ;). Get a copy, I think you would love it. :)

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  10. On the basis of your review, I think I'll be drawn to EB. She sounds so exciting, plus her romance sounds super cute. This is the first review I've read on Roomies, and you've won me over! It's a shame about the ending, or lack thereof.

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  11. Great review :) I can't wait to get my hands on this book!

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