Roomies Audiobook Review and Giveaway

RoomiesBook: Roomies by Sara Zarr, Tara Altebrando, Hachette Audio, December 2013

Book Info: Borrowed audio via Overdrive (and review copy provided via Netgalley.) Running time: 10 hrs. Read by: Becca Battoe, Emily EidenAlso available in hardcover or e-book, 288 pages from Little, Brown

Roomies is a YA/NA hybrid about two girls getting ready to leave for college. Part of the excitement I felt upon reading Roomies by Sara Zarr and Tara Altebrando is that I never had a college roommate experience myself. I imagined how much fun living in a dorm would be, and couldn’t help but feel I was missing out on that rite of passage. But there are practical concerns about living with a perfect stranger – what if you are total opposites? In Roomies, we get a look at the online meeting of two potential college roommates who get to test the waters before they become actual roomies.

Roomies is two stories in one, and is about Elizabeth (EB) in Florida and Lauren in San Francisco. Elizabeth is an only child and eager to go to Berkeley and bond with her roommate. Lauren, on the other hand, has a full house with lots of siblings, and longs for a single room at Berkeley. Lauren prefers the quiet life and Elizabeth is very outgoing- will these two find a common ground as roomies?

Sara Zarr and Tara Altebrando are co-writers of Roomies. I’m familiar with Zarr’s writing, and if I had to guess I’d venture she wrote Lauren’s chapters. But, really the writing is seamless among the co-authors. Lauren and Elizabeth are polar opposites so it’s easy to tell their voice apart, but the writing style is very cohesive.

It’s clever to tell a college roommate story before the students actually arrive at school. Lauren and Elizabeth correspond via email, but since they’ve never “talked” miscommunications occur. I liked seeing the relationship evolve as they break the ice. They actually meet at the perfect time to support each other through some family and boy drama over the summer.

I like that Roomies focuses on this pivotal time in the characters lives. Leaving home for the first time is huge, leaving friends and loved ones behind, and striking out on your own. Plus, moving clear across the country is a big adjustment and the book addresses questions about race, sexuality, and East Coast/West Coast differences. Would love to see more books tackle this important time of life.

Roomies audiobook

I listened to the audiobook of Roomies, performed by Becca Battoe and Emily Eiden, two new-to-me narrators. (Battoe is best known for narrating Fifty Shades of Grey, and Eiden for Paranormalcy) I believe Battoe is Elizabeth, and Eiden is Lauren, and they both sound like how I’d imagine the characters to sound. Lauren is more quiet and serious, while Elizabeth is bubbly and outgoing. Both performers use different voices and accents for the characters, and it was easy to tell the Lauren and Elizabeth chapters apart, so I’m glad I went with the audio version.

Roomies is a fun read that also has some depth to it, and it’s a perfect book to hand to the high school graduate in your life.

My Roomie story:

As part of a fun Roomies campaign we are asked to share our own “Roomie Story.” Like I said earlier, I never did live in a dorm. My first “roomie” was my boyfriend (now husband.) I moved with him from Los Angeles to New York, so not only did I have a new roomie but also a new city to get acquainted with! Plus it was the winter, so I had my first ever experience with snow! I’m more of an introvert type like Lauren in Roomies so I’m used to quiet time but we embraced the NY nightlife and had lots of fun exploring the city. We ate out a lot but shared in the household chores, and I don’t remember any arguments about one of us being too messy. It turned out we were ideal roomies!

How about you? Did you live in a dorm? Any funny or awkward roommate stories to share?

Sara Zarr and Tara Altebrando are currently on tour promoting Roomies. Go say hi if they are hitting your city:

  • January 12, 2014 – New York, NY: McNally Jackson [venue link]
  • January 15, 2014 – Salt Lake City, UT: The King’s English [venue link]
  • January 16, 2014 – Provo, UT: Provo Library [venue link]
  • February 4, 2014 – San Francisco, CA: Books Inc, Opera Plaza [venue link]
  • February 5, 2015 – Petaluma, CA: Copperfield’s Books [venue link]
Congrats to Amy who won a copy of Roomies, courtesy of Little, Brown. Thanks to everyone that entered and shared their roomies stories! 

14 thoughts on “Roomies Audiobook Review and Giveaway

  1. BermudaOnion says:

    I’ve got this in ebook form and look forward to reading it!

  2. Daphne says:

    you’re lucky you never had to put up with crappy roommates! i agree that once I moved in with my boyfriend (now husband), I didn’t really have any issues.

  3. Quinn says:

    This book sounds interesting. When I went to college I roomed with a friend, so I didn’t have any of the worries that Elizabeth and Lauren have. I think I will read this, but I will definitely listen to the audiobook.

  4. Scatty says:

    My new roommate is awesome! I knew she really liked cooking and our first night in the apartment she made salmon with rice and broccoli. It was so good!

  5. I had my brother and cousin living with me for a while, but after MONTHS of not paying rent, eating all my food, leaving disgusting dirty dishes in their rooms, and having people over in my house without asking me first, I booted their butts out. I did NOT like the stench that came from their rooms or walking into my own kitchen to see some nasty dude my cousin had stay the night because she was drunk, standing naked in front of my open fridge door, drinking milk straight from the carton! Never again did I let anyone live with me that was not in a relationship with me and paying their far share! LOL

  6. This book is sitting on my tablet, but I haven’t started reading it yet.
    Honestly, the only reason this book grabbed my attention was because I saw the word “Berkeley.” UC Berkeley is my dream school!
    I don’t really have a roommate story… well, unless you count the two nights I spent in a hotel with three other girls during a journalism trip. It wasn’t that bad, but one of the girls had a habit of walking around the hotel room in only her bra and underwear, which was extremely awkward.

  7. Mindy D says:

    This book sounds really good, I’d love to win it!
    Thanks so much!

  8. Christy says:

    I’m excited to read this one! Thanks for the giveaway 🙂

  9. Candice says:

    I’m glad you didn’t have to deal with a roommate (other than your then boyfriend); they are the worst! I’ve had good ones, but I feel like I lucked out with those few. The most recent ones that I had though were not so good. I feel like I could go on for hours about all the bad experiences! But I won’t. 🙂

  10. Amy Sachs says:

    You’re lucky you never had to deal with roommates! I had two crazy ones before deciding that commuting was the way to go! Regardless, I’m
    Looking forward to Roomies!

  11. I’ve had roommates … horrid experiences .. bringing strange men home, not cleaning after themselves, STEALING my expensive perfume and looking me dead in the eye when they smell of it and saying, “No! I didn’t TOUCH your perfume!” Definitely not worth the expense-trimming. My Not-So-Bebe-Girl Autumn has run through THREE (count them, three) college dormmates. The first one was loud, and allowed other people to go into my daughter’s food stash and help themselves. The second was moody, and would get angry for no apparent reason all. of. the. time. The third had intimate encounters with various guys in the room, which kept my daughter out of her own (rather expensive) room. This year she is studying abroad and has housemates, but her own room and space. Next year, she’ll be in a single room on campus or in her sorority house (I think likely the sorority, since we pay for it even though she’s not lived there yet).

  12. bn100 says:

    had a bad one that looked through my stuff when I wasn’t there

  13. bookgoonie says:

    Urgh! I dont have one. Married at 18. I hope for Sid that she gets all those experiences.

  14. Mindy D says:

    The only room mate I’ve ever had was my sister. We shared a room for 15 years! It had its pros and cons, but it kept us close 🙂 We’re only 3 years apart, so we could talk about a lot of things. Thanks for this!

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