Roomies by Tara Altebrando and Sara Zarr + Gift Guide

Friday, December 13, 2013

Remember when I posted about the books that I'm reading? I'm happy to report that I finally finished Roomies by Tara Altebrando and Sara Zarr, which I loved. 

Inspired by Estelle's of Rather Be Reading blog gift guides , I created a gift guide for the characters in Tara Altebrando and Sara Zarr's novel, Roomies, a novel about the conversations between two freshman roommates the summer before college starts.

Roomies by Sara Zarr and Tara Altebrando

A couple pages into the book, I was hooked. You know how I love characters and authors from familiar places and Elizabeth (EB), one of the characters in the book, is from New Jersey. Lauren, the other roommate, is from California, another place I love. However, what I loved even more was how familiar the characters seemed-- experiencing the trepidation of meeting new people, starting college, and living with someone you've never met. 

I've long held the idea that the relationships, the friendships that I had before college would stay the same, despite the differences in environment that we were going to face. I was first of my friends to leave for college and even with the few hours of "college" (aka orientation) I could feel the friendships between my friends and I changing. Roomies never actually goes to the first day of college but the same experiences are in play. 

Lauren and EB start an email exchange to try to get to know each other before they room together. Soon, they find themselves sharing information that they don't share with their best friends--- their new romances, their family issues and more. For EB, she wants to escape her mother, who keeps dating the wrong men, and for Lauren, she's afraid leave her large family, in which she plays a large role in. As they find themselves, where they stand in their lives, their friendship with each other becomes more defined. 

What's interesting about Roomies are the statements about friendships and online interactions. Both Altebrando and Zarr capture the feelings of hoping that the friendships made in high school would carry over to college and finding similar friendships in college. They also capture the feelings of knowing someone completely online and at the same time, not knowing them at all, with the fear of meeting them in real life. Will the online personalities match up with the personalities in real life? Who is the other person really?

Overall, Roomies was one of my favorite books for 2013 and it's perfect as a Christmas present since it's released on December 24th. If you can't get it for Christmas, I've put together a gift guide with gifts that are perfect for the characters.

Lauren: She has a big family so it'll be perfect to frame those pictures with these gold magnetic polaframes from PIQ (1). Also, she works with her boyfriend at his father's deli shop, which is pretty much how her relationship with him began. What better to remember that than this sub sandwich pocket pouch (2)? Just a random thought but I totally think she'd love these paper airplane push pins (3) because they're quite unique.

EB from Roomies by Tara Altebrando and Sara Zarr Gift Guide

EB: She's a landscape architect major and while she probably can't bring the plants she's used to working with into her dorm room, why not have these plant cards (1) or these cute planters (2)? Definitely quite original. With her mom, EB's a huge Veronica Mars fan, these VM phone cases  (3) are pretty much the bomb.

Review copy provided by the publisher


  1. Loving these gift guides, especially those little planters!! Oh, and I'm such a book worm, I need to check out this book! Thanks for sharing!

  2. Ohhhhh my gosh how adorable is this!! Those are so perfect!! I loved this book and so happy to see a Roomies-inspired post! :D

  3. Aren't the planters adorable? I'm a huge fan of Wind and Willow. Thanks!

  4. This book sounds like it'd be a good time! College is an amazing and very new and different experience and I love seeing that this book captured it all. Thanks for this review, I'll be adding this to my TBR pile!

  5. Have fun reading it! :) Definitely a great book and super cute as well.


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