- Roomies by Sara Zarr
With email and texting enabling instant long-distance communication, future college roommates Elizabeth and Lauren don’t have to wait long to establish who will bring the mini-fridge and who will bring the microwave. Their exchanges begin at the end of June, sixty-five days before they meet—days they’re both counting, but for different reasons. Jersey girl Elizabeth wants to escape the condo she shares with her increasingly absent mother, who devotes her time to work and dating married men. Lauren, on the other hand, has a loving—and large—family, with five significantly younger siblings requiring much of her time and attention in their crowded San Francisco home. Before they make their separate ways to UC Berkeley, both girls will learn to navigate the many relationships put in flux by such major life transitions, trying to form new bonds with old friends, struggling to separate from parents, and exploring romantic love and all its trappings. Zarr and Altebrando take an empathetic, realistic, and relatable look at this complicated time in middle-class American adolescence and all the anxieties and elations that accompany it. With authentic and distinct voices relayed through a combination of emails and first-person narratives, the authors create a modern and meaningful epistolary novel. Contemporary struggles to handle the constant availability of communication and information emerge alongside more timeless themes of self-discovery, family, and romance, creating a resonant story perfect for any teenager going to college—or simply struggling to make peace with herself and her world.