So after a summer of waiting…. and waiting…. and WAITING… it’s finally here. In a matter of days, I will be leaving to go off to college.
Craziness, really. I’ve wanted it to come for so long, and now it’s finally here. While I’m SUPER excited to be going off, there are a lot of things I’m going to miss and a few doubts I still have.
Like, how is my puppy going to get on without me? What’s my family going to do with me (and my two triplet sisters) away? What if I forget to bring something or bring too much? What if I melt in the SoCal heat? And what are my roommate(s) going to be like? Will I like her/them? Will she/they like me? What if we don’t get along, what then?? WHAT WILL HAPPEN???
I’m not so sure about the answers to all these questions, but luckily I know a thing or two about the last few. Not because I’m able to read the future, but because I read a certain lovely little novel called…
ROOMIES by Sara Zarr and Tara Altebrando
When Elizabeth receives her freshman-year roommate assignment at the beginning of summer, she shoots off an email to coordinate the basics: TV, microwave, mini-fridge. She can’t wait to escape her New Jersey beach town, and her mom, and start life over in California.
The first note to Lauren in San Francisco comes as a surprise; she had requested a single. But if Lauren’s learned anything from being the oldest of six, it’s that you can’t always get what you want, especially when what you want is privacy.
Soon the girls are emailing back and forth, sharing secrets even though they’ve never met. 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.
With humor and heart, Sara Zarr, National Book Award finalist for Story of a Girl, and Tara Altebrando, acclaimed author of The Pursuit of Happiness, join forces for a novel about that time after high school, when everything feels like it’s ending just as it’s beginning.
While I don’t know who my roommates are, and therefore don’t have the opportunity to write to them, this book was like a balm soothing my burning questions.
Though Lauren and Elizabeth start out as strangers assigned a room together, they slowly get to know each other and even become each other’s confidantes in the crazy summer before college. As their home lives become more difficult, they vent to each other about their problems.
But it’s not all sunshine and roses for the two future roomies — things take a turn for the worse only a few weeks before they’re set to move in together. There’s bound to be a disagreement when two very different strangers are set to live in such close quarters, and Lauren and Elizabeth have a major falling out when trying to help each other with their problems turns judgmental; it’s all too easy to judge a person who you’ve never met. They also step over some boundaries and become a little too entangled in trying to solve each other’s problems.
Without spoiling the ending, I’d like to say that I learned some important lessons from this book:
- It’s important to communicate all of your feelings to a roommate about an issue you are having — how else will they know what’s wrong? (That kind of sounds like solid relationship advice in general, actually. You’re welcome.)
- It’s also necessary to be able to understand each other and what your roommates’ limits are; overstepping these limits is the surest way to upset your roommate.
- Solutions can be reached, if only you are willing to try. Freezing out your roommate and declaring the problem ‘unsolvable’ will not help anything. Only through dialogue will things be fixed.
After what Lauren and Elizabeth went through even before they moved in together, I feel certain that I will be able to fare better — if only by learning from their mistakes.
Roomies also eased my anxiety about going off to college in general. Seeing how both Lauren and Elizabeth coped with leaving assured me that all my emotions were normal. It’s okay to feel both excited and scared at the same time — you’re leaving everything you know for new and wonderful opportunities.
This book is heartfelt, messy, and real, and I highly recommend it to anyone going off to college someday, or moving in with a roommate, or even just for the curious. Which is why…
…I’ll be doing a giveaway for a Hardcover copy of Roomies! That’s right, MY FIRST GIVEAWAY! Spread the word, I hope to get a lot of entries! I’ll try to mail the book to the winner before I leave for college.
** UPDATE: I have finally been assigned two lovely roomies, and I’m so excited to meet them in person! (Shoutout to Rachel and Alexis is they are reading this!)