Also by this author: My Favorite Half-Night Stand, Josh and Hazel's Guide to Not Dating, Love and Other Words, The Unhoneymooners
Published by Gallery Books on December 5, 2017
Genres: New Adult, Romance
Pages: 368 •Format: E-Book •Source: Overdrive
Marriages of convenience are so…inconvenient.
Rescued by Calvin McLoughlin from a would-be subway attacker, Holland Bakker pays the brilliant musician back by pulling some of her errand-girl strings and getting him an audition with a bigtime musical director. When the tryout goes better than even Holland could have imagined, Calvin is set for a great entry into Broadway—until he admits his student visa has expired and he’s in the country illegally.
Holland impulsively offers to wed the Irishman to keep him in New York, her growing infatuation a secret only to him. As their relationship evolves from awkward roommates to besotted lovers, Calvin becomes the darling of Broadway. In the middle of the theatrics and the acting-not-acting, what will it take for Holland and Calvin to realize that they both stopped pretending a long time ago?
Roomies was my first Christina Lauren book, and I have to say that it did not disappoint! I was a little weary going in because I am not really a huge musical theater/Broadway sort of person, but I was excited to read about a mid/late twenties protagonist finding herself (because real talk most people have not grown into themselves completely by that time in their life). I found Roomies to be the perfect blend of New Adult/Adult, and it took a crazy premise- two strangers marrying each other for immigration purposes- and actually made it not only believable, but romantic!
I don’t even know where to start because I adored this story so much, and it was my first 5 star read in a long while! I loved Holland’s personality, how she was a protagonist who was so refreshingly real- just sort of normal looking, with a small inner circle of one close friend, her uncles, and her brother, an aspiring novelist who was by no means a prodigy or even a special snowflake in any way. She was just a girl with a good ear for music and an unfortunate accident on public transit (oh, don’t I know those too well…) that ended up in sort of a whirlwind situation and, in the words of Hilary Duff, “took a crazy chance.” (Yes, I am 100% aware that I am dating myself, but “Why Not” was my jam back in the day).
I loved reading about Holland’s relationship with her uncles, how she had a relationship with them that was independent from that of the rest of her family- she truly was a daughter to them and it never felt like she was a “niece,” she was just an integral part of their family. I also sort of loved how Holland struggled with knowing she was in her 20s and still being financially assisted by them- she is very privileged, no doubt, but I appreciated the acknowledgement that it’s hard to be 100% financially independent out of college this day in age, especially living in a city like New York, and that it didn’t have the glossy lies of YES THIS IS TOTALLY AN AFFORDABLE PLACE TO LIVE/THING TO DO AND A STRUGGLING WRITER WHO WORKS PART TIME CAN AFFORD A CUTE ONE BEDROOM APARTMENT NO QUESTION. Real talk, adulting is hard, especially in a major, expensive coastal city, and Holland’s uncertainty and dependency (which she was well aware of) was refreshing.
No on to the main point of this story- the romance! While I’ve found myself quite burnt out on YA romances over the past few years, I’m happy to report that New Adult and Adult romances are still quite up my alley, and I loved the rather absurd yet fun premise of this one- getting to marry your Irish crush from afar due to a bizarre set of circumstances including expired visas, Broadway and a subway attack. Nothing could go wrong right? Though of COURSE things don’t go *entirely* perfectly, I still thought it was so fun to see their progressing from strangers to something legitimate, and appreciated the at times cringe-worthy and humiliating moments, situations, and confessions that transpired because of course a fake marriage is going to lead to some problems.
I also liked that Holland was a smart girl. Not the pretty girl or ideal girl but not the ugly-ducking-gets-a-makeover girl either, she’s just sort of normal with a good ear for music and a good brain and that’s enough to justify a (fake) relationship with a ridiculously good looking musician…Holland just brought a sense of realness to a story that’s admittedly pretty far fetched and I loved her for it. I haven’t read any other books by Christina Lauren but if they can make all of their protagonists this relatable and representative of everyday women then that’s perhaps the true magic of their narratives.
Overall: Roomies is a novel that should have had me rolling my eyes at the ridiculous premise, but that I ended up adoring for every aspect- the characters, the city, the chemistry, and the love, despite it all. I could reread this one over and over again, and I can’t wait to get my hands on more books by this author duo!