Roomies by Tara Attlebrando and Sara Zarr

RoommiesLittle Brown Books for Young Readers, 2013.

I only vaguely knew the music of The Supremes when I went off to college. By Christmas break of freshman year I could sing every word of every song they ever recorded. Actually, to be honest, I could probably do that by Columbus Day. I could also sing “It’s My Party and I’ll Cry if I Want To,” but I didn’t, though I occasionally succumb to temptation these days, principally to annoy my kids. Adjusting to living with a stranger–and their music–is a huge part of the freshman year experience.

Lauren and Elizabeth are about to be college roommates. Their lives show little in common: Lauren’s from California, where they’ll be going to college, Elizabeth is from New Jersey. Lauren’s looking to get away from roommates; she has a room full of siblings at home. Elizabeth, an only child, is looking for that sister experience. The roommates get in touch after their room assignment letters arrive. Over the course of the summer they carve out the beginning of their roommate relationship, even as they begin to discover who they are in a post-high school world.

I found Roomies an engaging read. I enjoyed bouncing back and forth between the two characters and their different worlds. The story and characters felt very real in their expectations, their questions, and their fears about what was to come. Both young women changed immensely over the course of the summer. The book leaves the reader at the threshold of the school year with two new roommates who have not yet met—a lovely ending for readers who like to hold on to the possibilities in their own imaginations.

Roomies by Tara Attlebrando and Sara Zarr brought an astonishing number of freshman year memories back to me. It captured perfectly that on-the-cusp feeling of kids who have graduated from high school and mentally moved on but not yet become college students. I think this book will become a favorite high school read.

I received Roomies as a promo galley courtesy of Little Brown Books for Young Readers and NetGalley.

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