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.Author: Sara Zarr and Tara Altebrando
Shelves: Realistic fiction

There comes a moment in every young girl’s life when she must make a personality-altering decision. Leading to it is the dangerous activity of musing about the unknowable, the axioms that we inexperienced females largely don’t have any proof for. When one of us starts wondering whether being kicked in the nuts is all it’s hyped up to be. Is it really so bad, or is there a massive conspiracy going on against us? Even if it isn’t so, a girl’s mind is like Sponge-bob and won’t leave until the jellyfish is in the net- no matter how stupid hunting a jellyfish in water is(because it IS!IS!IS!). Making your choice, some of us do it subconsciously for once made, it is irrevocable and indelible, and minds just can’t handle the burden of making the wrong one.

Roomies is the story two somewhere around and about the ends of this process. One(Lauren) is about to face the pervert Janus, while the other(EB)(kill me now!) already made choice time and time ago, and is seeking to get another shot for she’s not sure she made the right decision. In one summer, they size each other up, one takes imaginary advice from the other’s soon-to-be-boyfriend’s-father and they both try to find a level platform with each other, and respective families and best friends.

On both sides, there are many similarities but their stories only converge in emails, for the most part. There may or may not be a phone-call and a visit to Las Vegas involved. At first glance, the two girls appear reasonable protagonists but the book moves on, the story plants layers and grime and junk and dust motes(pretty!) and industrial cleaner to the previously-transparent window.

But let’s talk about food; I’m eating non-veg foods again, so long as it comes from KFC. I know I’m weird, and also, Lauren works in a sandwich shop, making sandwiches and smelling of onions and cabbage(this I’m assuming) and poor Roald Dahl families. EB too has a summer job and the most awesome ever if you want outdoors- she works gardens! A Summer in Gardens![Excuse the hyperventilation]

There are a lot of themes over and under the surface- to kick or not to kick, friendships and the whole trollop you can expect. It’s a very polished story, but not necessarily interesting. During the middle, I almost gave up because it was so un-dramatic, blase and trivial; there’s pay-off at the end. I’d also like to mention there were hardly any new and/or surprising elements to the story, and what made up for it were the characters and their polarized familial relations. EB has an estranged mom who goes after this married man, and a father who turned out to be gay and left them years ago; whereas, Lauren is suffocating while taking care of her legions(LEGIONS!) of siblings that she has to take care of in her home made for four.

It’s Pan-induced-panic, it’s m-m-m-m-madness, it’s family time!

Hard lives solve out, parents take care, tears are shed and I ate it all up, like I always do.

Romance. Duh. Boring and predictable and a bit fun, except that’s because it’s summer and everything’s always fun is summer. Just ask Phineas and Ferb.

It’s a 100 and four days of summer vacation,
and school comes along to end it.
The annual problems of…

You get the gist- if washing monkeys can be fun, so can this!

What I was sad to find missing was Sara Zarr‘s trademark prose. I don’t know, there was something lacking in the writing department, and I haven’t read any Tara Altebrando to guess where hers was and where Zarr’s. It wasn’t beautiful nor prolific. Another fact I found questionable was that EB and Lauren only appear to develop as healthy, likable folks and most of the change is in circumstances. There is growth but strange, new ones that I appreciated whilst the things I didn’t[appreciate] never seem to have been resolved. I also found a lot of comments that EB makes about being whores and tramps offensive, and she so often was extremely judgmental of own mother, while accusing Lauren of the same, which I didn’t get at all.

Anyway, I thought I’d like it, then went on to not, and then further along the way, I actually did. So thank you so much Little, Brown Books for Young Readers.

Email: You control the conversation and can turn it off and on at will. you can edit and revise and shape your words and use a thesaurus if you want, to avoid sounding dumb.

Someone! Go! Tell! UrbanDictionary! About! This! URGENT!

PS: She gets another chance and they both do- kick arse and what-I-shan’t-mention!

This was a cautionary tale, nuts are not toys…


2 thoughts on “Roomies

  1. You should try Tara’s The Best Day of Your Pathetic Life… or something. I read it years ago and have some fond memories. I haven’t read a Zarr, though. I don’t think I heard of her ever before. Weird!

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