I was initially drawn to Roomies because it had such an interesting cover and premise. I loved the idea of two strangers getting to know each other over one summer before college. But what I didn't expect was such a complex cast of characters, heartbreaking relationships and two coming of age stories that felt so realistic and utterly honest. I underestimated this novel, and boy what a mistake that was.
Elizabeth, AKA EB, lives with her mom in New Jersey and is excited to move away to California for college. On the opposite side of the country is Lauren who is the oldest sibling out of six, who can't wait to finally have her own space in college. Unfortunately for Lauren, she ends up getting a roomie despite requesting a single. Elizabeth is excited at the thought of having a roommate since she's always been an only child, so she begins emailing Lauren. Over the course of the summer they learn more about each other and their selves. It's the story of how an unlikely friendship can completely change your outlook on life and your future.
What I loved most about Roomies was the honest character portrayal. Both Elizabeth and Lauren's voice was realistic for their age and perfectly highlighted the feelings of a teen leaving their family for college. There are feelings of excitement, uncertainty, regrets, fear, homesickness, etc. But these never felt overpowering and flowed so well from page to page. The reader or listener, learns more about the characters' lives as they learn more about each other. I've read my share of dual POV novels before and I believe this may be one of my favorites. I cared about both girls equally and got excited each and every time the POV flipped. I think this is also in large part to the AMAZING narrators Becca Battoe and Emily Eiden, whose chemistry was perfect. There aren't a lot of YA novels that take place right after high school and before college (I'm not talking about New Adult). Someone FIX THIS because it needs to be a thing.
And then we have the love interests. GUYS, *SWOON*. The best part of the dual POVs was seeing two girls find two equally amazing guys that both complimented them and encouraged them positively. Lauren's love interest, Keyon, was hands down my favorite (more on him in a bit) because he really caused both Lauren and Elizabeth to challenge their feelings on race. This book isn't about race, not by a long shot, but I really appreciated that dynamics of Lauren figuring it out. However, Elizabeth's boyfriend, Mark, is not to be forgotten. I really loved how, after being in a relationship that didn't sit right with her, she found this guy who was willing to wait for her. Mark was the kind of guy that I'd want all girls to end up with. The sweet guy who is concerned for who you are instead of what you can do for them. The contrast between the undesirable guy and the awesome guy was a great aspect of the novel, one that I wish I saw more of in YA.
Finally, there is the ending. I love how it ends with the promise of hope. It's realistic because both girls are entering into a part of their lives where anything could happen. Yet, instead of them having these feelings of uncertainty that we saw in the beginning, they are confident and read to conquer what comes ahead. I truly loved this book and it's the first contemporary audiobook that I actually really enjoyed.