4.5 stars. I went into Roomies expecting a great read and I was not disappointed. Sara Zarr co-authors Roomies along with Tara Altebrando. Zarr is one of my most favorite authors. Her books are so genuine and real, it is as if she is providing the reader with a window into the characters' lives. The voice she gives her characters is just so tangible. Roomies is not a light and funny read. While it is young adult and is centered on the beginning of an exciting time for two young girls it deals with heavy topics: saying good-bye to parents, moving on, leaving friends, first sexual encounter, economic struggles and family tension.
Roomies is told through two alternating point of views: EB and Lauren. Each girl lives on the opposite coast from each other. EB lives in New Jersey and Lauren lives in San Francisco, both are headed to Berkeley in the fall and have been assigned as roommates. Their communications and relationship is told through email exchanges and sometimes text messages. Their daily lives is told through the first person point of view.
The last summer before college. Each girl struggles with her next step in life -- to be independent, to leave her parents' house and to never again be a child. Some of this can be heartbreaking, I could not help but see it through the eyes of the parents (my own daughter goes off to college in 4 years).
Friendships change, people move on, keep an open mind. These are the messages I took away from Roomies. So often we communicate mainly or maybe even only through electronic means -- either with family, friends nearby or people we never met. But so much cannot be conveyed through a text or an email, while sometimes people say so much more through email or text that they never would have said in real life. I liked how Roomies danced around this issue, because whatever our take -- do you mourn the loss of letters in the mail? -- text and email or electronic communications is how people communicate now.
Roomies is a book that made me remember and made me cry.