Jan 14, 2014



Sara Zarr & Tara Alterbrando

Little Brown Books for Young Readers


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 Owens has gotten her fateful letter from Berkeley which dictates the name and contact information of who she will live with for the next nine months. She's a little nervous, a little excited about getting to know her new roommate, Lauren Cole. 

Their lives are as vast as the distance of their home towns.

Elizabeth, or "E.B." hails from the Jersey Shore with her mom and is traveling as fast as she can toward the California shore and her newly outed gay dad.

Lauren, the product of a big family, only lives a town away from school but wishes it were more like a state away. 

The girls converse together over their last summer through emails back and forth and bond over each other's boyfriend, best friend, and unique family problems. 

The emails between the girls offer a subtle contrast between how we present themselves online versus in real life and how much the we try to read "between the lines" into each other's lives based on a few sentences.

Here's the thing: Despite their frequent chats online, they never actually meet in real life. 

This dual-authored story provides a realistic look at the ebb and flow of change in relationships.

Rating: 4/5

I received this prepub(now published) from Netgalley, courtesy of the publisher.

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