Friday, January 10, 2014

Roomies by Sara Zarr & Tara Altebrando: My Roomie Story + Giveaway

The blurb as seen on Goodreads:
Release Date: December 24, 2013
Publisher: Little, Brown Books For Young Readers
288 Pages

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.

Find Sara:
Find Tara:

Find Sara and Tara on tour in these cities!

  • 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]

My Roomie Story

I should start this off by saying that I'm a drama queen, and a hothead, and I fully admit it. Before heading off to college, I had never had a roommate before--not a sibling with whom I shared a bedroom, nor did I partake in any sleep-away camps. So to say I was ill-prepared for the change that it would bring forth would be an understatement. First off, roommates were assigned by the simplest questionnaire that featured questions like: "What is your major?" "Do you smoke?" "Do you like to go to bed early or stay up late?" That was how my university determined what girls (and guys) would be spending a year together, trapped in a single room that without decor looked like a room in a prison. Because my first roommate and I were both English majors, who were non-smokers, and preferred to go to bed later, we were deemed a match. (A match from hell, it seems.) Needless to say, my experience did not go as planned. Let's called said roommate "Ann," so she can have a little privacy, eh?

I knew things were going to go badly after our first weekend there. I went to school in Flagstaff, Arizona. It's a beautiful area, but in late August, it is humid as hell and I do not handle heat well. So my father, being the doting man that he is, purchased me (though he told Ann and I that it was "for the both of us") this huge fan that was so forceful that it sounded like a lawnmower and could've frozen hell. ...It was the greatest gift I ever received. Too bad every night, after facing it towards myself, and falling asleep, Ann would move it so that it was aimed in her direction. I took revenge by moving it back. I was unaware that things were only going to get worse from there.

A few weeks before move-in day, Ann and I had coordinated what each person was bringing before we moved into the residence hall over email. Ann was bringing the microwave, TV, game system and DVD/Blu-Ray player that her parents had already purchased for her. So that means my contributions were lacking. I brought some silverware and dishes, the cleaning supplies and DVDs for us to share. I thought it would be okay for me to use the TV as well. Apparently not, she got very angry when I invited a new friend over to watch Ponyo on her TV. She asked me not to use the TV again unless she was around... Really?... Like I can't handle pressing a button on a remote and sticking a disc into the DVD player without needing to be counseled.

Then she got mad when I used her dishes, even though I had washed them thoroughly and was planning to put them back when I was finished. But it was perfectly alright to use mine. Then she insulted my Kurt Cobain poster, and my zombie posters. No. That crap did not fly well. You can insult me all you like, but Kurt is a god in my eyes. Then she started staying up super late on her computer when I had an 8AM class Monday through Thursday. All I could here was the "click click click" of her mouse and keyboard. I almost shoved a mechanical pencil through my ear. It was even worse when I would wake up to her extremely obnoxious iPhone alarm every morning that she would sleep through for like thirty minutes. Even when I shouted her name to turn it off, she wouldn't wake up. I cannot listen to that alarm sound any more without getting a headache, and wanting to cry.

The final straw though was one day, I came back to our room to hear her talking trash about me to some of her friends. Ann was upset because I hadn't given her two dollars yet after she paid for a pizza that we shared with some of the girls in our hall about two weeks before. Two dollars... She was angry about two dollars. This girl had just received a new laptop from her parents, brought every tech device known to man with her to college and she was complaining about two dollars. And she didn't come talk to me, no. I had to hear about how upset she was as she badmouthed me in the place where I was supposed to feel comfortable and safe. Maturity at its finest, folks. I reacted the only way I knew how. I borrowed two dollars in pennies from my friend and future roommate, and threw them on Ann's desk before grabbing my mattress off of my bed and dragging it across the hall into my future room. Thankfully, a few of my friends (including my old blogging partner, Edwin) joined me in moving all of my crap out of my room and making this massive pile in my other friend's room. ...I'm so proud of myself for rising above the situation and acting with dignity and grace.

Overall, I'd say it was a bunch of minor things that added together drove me up a wall until I had to file a roommate switch and move in across the hall with my beloved friend, Heather, or else I probably would've thrown Ann's laptop, and TV off of our third story balcony. Because I'm such a good person.

Thanks to Little, Brown, I am offering up one copy of Roomies to a lucky US reader. Just leave a comment here telling me one of your roommate stories (preferably a horror story just because I find them so hilarious) and don't forget to leave an email so I can contact you if you win! 

I will draw a winner on January 17th with the help of

Big thanks to Little, Brown for allowing me to participate in this promotion (and allowing me to vent about the horrible "Ann" experience)!


  1. Hehe...keepin' it classy, Em. :) Your misery made me smile, but I understand how not ever having shared a living space with someone could leave you woefully unprepared for a dorm life. Glad you made it out unscathed.

    Also, I just realized I owe you an email. If I can shirk some of my duties here a the office, I'll respond soon. Otherwise, it'll be sometime this weekend. :P

  2. had a horrible one who looked through my stuff when I wasn’t there

    bn100candg at hotmail dot com

    1. Wow! That's so rude! What a violation of privacy. Sorry you had to go through that!

  3. Well I did not have a good experience my first year, but my second year was better as my roommate and I got along really well. I don't have a big horror story to tell from my first one, partially because I don't even want to think back to those days and remember them.

    1. ahh sry forgot my email address: butterflypetals7(at)gmail(dot)com

    2. It's probably good that you don't have a good story. I, on the other hand, am unable to let things go so I will probably remember this for the rest of my life. I'm glad your second experience was better!

  4. mine tore down all my beautifully made snowflakes and joined a sorority and was pretty rude all the time


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