cover image Roomies


Sara Zarr and Tara Altebrando. Little, Brown, $18 (288p) ISBN 978-0-316-21749-1

Elizabeth Owens, EB for short, lives in New Jersey and is gearing up to head across the country to study landscape architecture at Berkeley in the fall. Meanwhile, in San Francisco, Lauren Cole is the oldest of six and an incoming freshman at Berkeley, too—she and EB have been assigned as roommates. EB, thrilled to get to know the girl she’ll be living with, is the first to write, setting off a summer-long correspondence filled with miscommunications and surprisingly intimate connections as the girls vacillate between excitement and anxiety about what the future holds. Zarr (The Lucy Variations) and Altebrando (The Best Night of Your [Pathetic] Life) give both protagonists their own, independent stories with drifting best friends, boyfriends dropped, romances sparked, and family problems that reminds readers that not all adults are finished growing up, either. The authors give the story big doses of humor, sensitivity, and sweetness, along with a complex and realistic cast; EB and Lauren’s stories amount to two great novels in one. Ages 12–up. Agent: (for Zarr) Michael Bourret, Dystel & Goderich Literary Management; (for Altebrando): David Dunton, Harvey Klinger. (Dec.)