Thursday, April 17, 2014

Do you ever wonder how it feels to leave home and begin life in a college dorm with a roommate? Do you ever wonder if your friends in high school will still be your friends after you guys break away from each other and go to college? Or would you and your assigned roommate even get along? To many people leaving home and going to college is exciting because they have all this freedom to do what you want. No parents breathing down your neck. However, if you really want to know the emotions that are felt during the transition from high school to college life on a dorm, you should read Sarah Zarr and Tara Altebrando’s book called Roomies.

Roomies is a book that displays to teenage girls named Elizabeth and Lauren who are about to become roommates at UC Berkely. Elizabeth is from New Jersey and Lauren is from San Francisco. The book starts off with Lauren and Elizabeth emailing each other just to get acquainted and get things situated for living together in college. However, they end up becoming very close and revealing their personal lives to each other. They start to get so comfortable with each other that they are revealing secrets and they haven't even met. The thing that makes this novel fascinating and difficult to read is the fact that there is a constant switch between the two girls lives. So the reader is allowed to see two different perspectives. The reader will have to adjust to this pattern of the switching of point of view quickly in order not to get confused. At the same time, you have to see what gets stirred up as a result of these back and forth emails between Lauren and Elizabeth. They are counting down the days to actually meet up. 

This book would be great for high school students because it exemplifies the emotions and feelings that are felt when high school students are transitioning into the life of a college student living on campus. Also, the plot intertwines with the topics of love and friendship. Zarr and Altebrano does a good job of putting the reader into the mind of a teenage girl in Roomies. You have to read this co-authored book and get to know Lauren and Elizabeth. Here is the website if you are interested in more information.


Karra Badakhshanian said...

This book sounds really interesting! I think it would be great for a Young Adult audience, like you stated, because many transitioning high school students worry and think about all of these topics you brought up. I actually really like the idea that each chapter is in a different point of view between the two main characters. I have read books like this before and I loved them! Some examples of other books like that are: The Help, As I Lay Dying, The Ohter Wes Moore, and Dash and Lily's Book of Dares. I think this format promote critical thinking and really engages the student in the book because they have to keep up on who is talking and each persons personal story. From your description, I think this book could only be used in English Language Arts or maybe a Writing for College Class? But mostly, it sounds like a book for pleasure which is great too!

Sarah Millen said...

Hi, Frank and Karra,

I agree with you both. This would be a wonderful text for adolescents to read. I have some students who are about to graduate and head off to college in the fall; they've expressed concerns about being homesick, supporting themselves, and getting along with their future roommates. I will certainly recommend this novel to these girls.

I also enjoy the different points of view formats in novels. The Death of Bees (the first novel I reviewed for Book Wind) illustrates this format as well.

I like that the characters formed a relationship well before making the jump into dorm living. That way, much of the girls' potential social anxiety should have been lifted, leaving a smoothly paved entrance into cohabitation. They didn't go to college alone--they went to college as friends, supporting each other through the usually most difficult weeks of college.


Vanessa Chairez said...

Hi Frank!

I have to agree with you that this book seems to be a good fit for high schoolers who are nervous about college. I like that you get to see the point of view from two different girls.

I think this could be a good book for high school seniors to read and to have a classroom discussion on college. This way if they have an questions or concerns they will feel comfortable asking the teacher about it.