co-authored with Tara Altebrando

December 2013  Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

December 2013

Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

original hardcover with Josh Cochran illustrations

original hardcover with Josh Cochran illustrations


ALA/YALSA Quick Pick for Reluctant YA Readers

An Amazon Best Teen Book

An IndieBound Favorite

A Bank Street College Best Book



hardcover, paperback, ebook, audiobook, UK (Hodder)



The countdown to college has begun.

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.
That 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 Leaving, join forces for a novel about that time after high school, when everything feels like it’s ending just as it’s beginning.



★ “Zarr and Altebrando give both protagonists their own, independent stories with drifting best friends, boyfriends dropped, romances sparked, and family problems that remind 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."   Publishers Weekly, starred review

★ ” With authentic and distinct voices relayed through a combination of emails and first-person narratives, the authors create a modern and meaningful epistolary novel. ... a resonant story perfect for any teenager going to college--or simply struggling to make peace with herself and her world.” – Bulletin for the Center of the Study of Children's Books, starred review

"The novel's deeply embedded theme of transition will have tremendous appeal for any teenager coping with change.” – Kirkus

"Authentic and drama filled, this novel offers reassurance to all teens who, regardless of destination, are facing the next chapter in their lives: leaving home.” – Booklist

“This succeeds because both girls are sympathetic characters, especially warm-hearted Lauren and her big, poor, friendly family. I also loved the sheer breezy teen American-ness of it all."  – The Daily Mail (UK)

"Unique, thought-provoking, and honest, Roomies is a five-star coming-of age-novel I recommend HIGHLY." -- Pretty Little Memoirs blog