Thursday, April 3, 2014

Roomies by Tara Altebrando and Sara Zarr

Roomies by Tara Altebrando and Sara Zarr is a story of two girls in the summer between high school and college.

Elizabeth can hardly wait to go to college. She's going all the way across the country to UC-Berkeley, as far as she can get from her controlling mother. When she gets an email with her housing assignment, she immediately contacts her new roommate to coordinate things for their dorm room.

Lauren is less than thrilled to get Elizabeth's email -- she had requested a single. After sharing a room with two younger sisters, she was hoping for a little privacy. But being the oldest of six siblings means she is also able to adjust her expectations, so she writes back to Elizabeth, and a tentative friendship is formed.

Over the course of the summer, the two girls will get to know each other through email, sharing anecdotes about friendships, parents, and boys, and looking forward to what's ahead. But when their communication hits a rocky patch, it starts to look like the girls will not be friends -- or even roommates -- by the time fall rolls around.

Readers who enjoy realistic YA fiction dealing with these sorts of issues will enjoy this book. It's well-written and the characters are relatable, though readers may not always agree with their decisions or opinions.

I listened to the audiobook, and while it was a fairly good production, I thought the two girls sounded too much alike, despite being voiced by different actors. I don't think this was an issue in the writing, and each segment was set apart with the date and location so it was easy to follow when there was a change between characters, but the two did sound fairly similar, so if I paused in the middle of a segment and came back to it later, it sometimes took me a little while to remember who was speaking. But it wasn't enough to really lessen my enjoyment of the story -- just a minor quibble.

(Reviewed from an audiobook borrowed through my library system.)

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