EB has been brought up by her single mother since she was little and her dad announced he was gay. On the other side of the country, Lauren helps look after her five siblings and dreams of a room to herself. At the end of the summer, they will both be heading off to college. When they’re assigned as roommates, EB sends of an email to say hi, which soon turns into a summer of correspondence that teeters on the edge of real friendship.
It’s nice to see a story about friendship now and then. There are love interests involved, but Roomies is mostly about how you can get to know someone you’ve never met. How sometimes it’s easier to tell that person things but also how easy it is to misunderstand people through emails. It’s all about tone, or the lack of it.
Having two authors helped Lauren and EB’s voices to be distinct, although I got the feeling they became more similar as the story progresses. It’s an easy read, and enjoyable enough, but lacked any real oomph.
I did feel there was maybe a bit too much going on, perhaps neither author wanted to sacrifice their drama. The parental woes, and even some of the romance aspects could have moved aside to focus on the preparation for moving out. There are some lovely moments that sum up the contradictory feelings you have when making such a big step.
Race. It’s so tricky, even though we’re all supposedly enlightened and color-blind. I don’t want it to be a Thing. But it kind of is a Thing, isn’t it?
There were several occurrences of the characters wondering if they were having racist thoughts or acting “too white”. I don’t even know what acting white is (middle class it seems but that has nothing to do with skin colour). I don’t know if they were trying to make a point about interracial relationships being OK but it just came across as a bit weird and that maybe they think no one is truly OK with it? Perhaps it’s a cultural thing but I can’t imagine ever “warning” people before an introduction that they’re black. That just seems strange. People are people. The sooner that is just second nature, the better.
Roomies is published by Little, Brown in the US (and Hodder here in the UK) and is available now in a variety of formats. Thanks go to the publisher for providing a copy for review via NetGalley.
Disclosure: I received a copy of this book free of charge for review purposes only. Receipt of a book does not guarantee a review or endorsement. My reviews are my honest opinion and are not biased for the purpose of personal gain.
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