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ROOMIES by Sara Zarr


by Sara Zarr, Tara Altebrando

Age Range: 12 - 18

Pub Date: Dec. 24th, 2013
ISBN: 978-0-316-21749-1
Publisher: Little, Brown

Two college roommates begin to influence each other’s lives before they even meet in this co-authored contemporary drama.

EB Owens is an independent Jersey girl trying to break free of a boyfriend she’s outgrown while steering clear of her single mom’s messy dating life. Lauren Cole is a San Francisco native who helps out with her five younger siblings while working two jobs and worrying constantly about money. When University of California, Berkley’s student-housing office matches them as roommates the summer before freshman year, they begin an email correspondence that leads to confessions, misunderstandings and epiphanies. EB thinks Lauren is too judgmental about her mom’s love life, while Lauren is upset when EB accidently reveals a secret to Lauren’s best friend in a misfired email. EB is sensitive about her divorced gay dad, while Lauren is touchy about dating a boy from a different race. Even though readers might wonder why these two never avail themselves of Skype, the narrative reliance on email means there is real tension as fall approaches. Will EB and Lauren be able to overcome their differences before their move-in date? The main characters’ back stories are engaging, and the large supporting cast of friends and family members (especially Lauren’s sweet brothers and sisters) are well-developed and integral to the girls’ growth.

The novel’s deeply embedded theme of transition will have tremendous appeal for any teenager coping with change. (Fiction. 12-18)