Publication: December 24, 2013
Publisher: Little Brown & Co.
Pages: 288 pp.
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.
Elizabeth's always wondered what life would be like with siblings. Lauren wishes she could have a space of her own. What starts as an email about a microwave turns into a summer that neither girl will ever forget. Lauren isn't thrilled to discover that her request for a solo room didn't go through and she's surprised to hear from Elizabeth. Over the summer they talk about what to bring or not to school in the Fall and gradually Elizabeth becomes more open with Lauren, who will eventually come around to sharing her life, and they begin this sort of friendship. Lauren can come off as a bit judgmental towards some of the things that Elizabeth discusses with her. I think emails are impersonal and in the case of these two as they communicate throughout the summer, sometimes you can get the wrong interpretation.
Sometimes it's easy to share secrets with a stranger that doesn't know you at all. It's interesting that an email starting as an introduction to something more revealing about these two girls and their concept of change, saying goodbye and the fear of new beginnings. I enjoyed getting both perspectives and I think these young women will discover a unique lesson about friendship and first impressions. The writing moves at a steady pace and the characters are realistic. Overall, this is a heartfelt story with revelations about love, life and family with a few tears and laughter along the way.