REVIEW: Roomies by Christina Lauren

In brief: Holland has a crush on the busker in a sort-of/kinda out of her way subway station. Little does she know that soon she will be in a marriage of convenience with him to save her uncle’s musical.

The good: So fun!

The not-so-good: I gobbled this one so fast.

Why I chose it: I really like Christina Lauren’s books because they aren’t afraid to be enjoyable!

Year: 2018

Pages: 368

Publisher: Hachette

Setting: New York City

Rating: 10 out of 10

Christina Lauren writes books that are smart, sassy and full of good times. I kick myself repeatedly for not devouring their books sooner.

I had planned on reading Roomies as a commute read for the week. Sadly, it didn’t last that long because I kept reading it at home too. The premise and characters had me addicted and there was no way I could stop at just finishing the chapter. I needed more, seemingly falling under the same spell that Holland has for Calvin. Roomies is a delightful read that absorbs the world around you. The story is told from the first-person point of view of Holland, who is kind of at a loss of what to do with her life. She’s done a MFA and wants to write, but she just can’t seem to touch that keyboard. She knows she is very lucky working for her uncle on the hit Broadway play, It Possessed Him, and living in an apartment mainly paid for by them. So, she should be happy, right? The main source of Holland’s happiness comes from watching a guitarist busking at a subway station. She’s done it for months and she has even given him a name in her head. Her best friend thinks she’s insane but the crush is wounded somewhat when Calvin fails to stick up for Holland during an altercation. But when her uncle Robert’s show needs a new musician, Holland thinks of Calvin immediately. Everyone agrees that he’s talented but Calvin has a problem. He’s in the US illegally. A comment about a marriage of convenience takes hold in Holland’s head, and to repay her uncles for her generosity, she marries Calvin. (OK, she gets to live with a hottie but that is ENTIRELY secondary).

You probably know how this marriage of convenience will end up, but that’s beside the point. The journey is full of fun, heartache and wit. Calvin and Holland have the It Factor, which can be extremely difficult to craft in a book. Their dialogue sparks on the page and best of all, they are friends. It’s not insta-lust or a random hookup (after all, they are married), but a relationship with awkwardness, arguments and surprise family visits gone wrong. The story isn’t a one plot romance either. Holland is a well fleshed out character with dreams and fears. She is also fiercely determined for her uncles and brother to be proud of her eventually. There is also a toxic friendship that is really well written, with a hugely cringeworthy moment.

Another strength of the book is the mystery of Calvin. By only knowing Holland’s side of things, the reader is on equal footing with her to try to work out what he’s getting out of this marriage. A dream job, sure. A nice apartment with a better looking roomie – absolutely. Fortunately, Calvin is pretty good at dropping hints and it’s only Holland who misses their meaning. I quite liked not knowing him inside and out.

Full of delightful characters and a fun story, Roomies is like chilli chocolate – sweet with a bite.

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