Whitney Atkinson's Reviews > Roomies

Roomies by Christina Lauren
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bookshelves: read-in-2018, smutty, healthy-romance, romance

I just recently read The Hating Game by Sally Thorne, a book that revolutionized my reading and made me realize I should delve more into adult romance rather than grasping New Adult by the throat and begging it to give me new, unproblematic content. So I decided to pick up this book because I mean, come on. Set in NYC about musical theater and a fake relationship trope? I’m here for it. And although I flew through this book in a day or two, my expectations were ultimately let down.

The main downfall of this book is that I just didn’t buy it. I know books are fiction and I’m not encouraged to keep a checklist of what’s plausible and what isn’t, but there were so many moments in this story where I just wasn’t sold on the concept. Their fake marriage is literally illegal, but the story made the stakes feel so low. Holland’s inner monologue didn’t really explore the situation she was in, and it felt like reading this book was going through the motions instead of taking me on a journey. The plot of this felt cyclical and repetitive: there’s legal trouble, there’s a miscommunication, they go to the theater, they have sex, repeat. For a story about characters skirting the law, there were such low stakes and the story felt so mundane.

Plot-wise, this was just… okay. I was expecting an absorbing story about broadway and actors/actresses and singing, but the love interest who’s actually in the musical isn’t even a character in that musical, he’s just a guitarist for the orchestra. That detail was bothersome because the book talks about how famous he got and people would mob him on the streets, but it was hard to believe that some random guitarist in a musical’s pit would garner so much attention? Like I know this book is playfully touching on Hamilton and the musical within this play mirrors its success, and so it was like the fanbase in this book was fangirling over the triangle player rather than any of the actual actors on stage like lin manuel miranda. It just seemed shaky and unrealistic, and once again, him being so separated from the actual musical doesn’t give us the chance to really be situated in a scene where the musical theater aspect is given a lot of screen time and imagery.

It doesn’t help that the writing of this was pretty un-spectacular. The dialogue was good and I was never cringing at horrible inner monologue, but I was bummed at how much opportunity the author had to carve out details, and she didn’t.

Going along with all this, it seems a lot of moments in the plot that could’ve been drawn out for angst or good storytelling were just glossed over. Particularly, and this could be a spoiler, I was so disappointed at how anti-climactic their first sex scene was. In romance books it’s pretty much a trademark that the first kiss and first sex scene is a really important moment, and without outright spoiling it, I’ll just say that this book blew it, and sadly no pun intended. I almost wanted to stop reading it because it was so anti-climactic and irritating. I know this could have been an attempt to make the romance more “realistic” as far as not having a ~glamourous~ first time/relationship in general—which I appreciate the effort to make the story as realistic as possible—but I’m also horribly selfish and I wish I could’ve had that moment of fate and destiny and swoon-worthy material, ya know?

One massive thing that I will say redeemed this book a lot is something that’s so hard to find in books but this author did masterfully—THE CHARACTERS ACTUALLY TALK TO EACH OTHER!!! Using miscommunication as a trope is one of my biggest pet peeves in books, so the fact that these characters would encounter a problem and then IMMEDIATELY be like “How do we fix this? What did I do?” was so mature and refreshing to read. Even though some of the drama is petty and spurred by side characters who I wanted to flick away like an annoying gnat, the no-barriers approach to their relationship is so unheard of in romance and I definitely applaud that.

Going off of that, I also liked how these characters dropped any glamor with modesty or shyness and weren’t afraid to discuss intimacy or “taboo” subjects in new relationships like sex toys and past relationships and stuff. Once again, the transparency is so appreciated.

Overall, the story didn’t really feel plausible or as angsty as I would want it to be, but it was still a fun read with refreshingly honest characters. I’m slowly compiling a list of books with healthy romance, and this one goes on it even though it’s not the best book in the entire world
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Reading Progress

June 9, 2018 – Started Reading
June 11, 2018 – Finished Reading
June 12, 2018 – Shelved
June 12, 2018 – Shelved as: smutty
June 12, 2018 – Shelved as: read-in-2018
July 18, 2018 – Shelved as: healthy-romance
July 18, 2018 – Shelved as: romance

Comments Showing 1-2 of 2 (2 new)

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Megan Myers Perfect review! I gave it 3 stars too. The Hating Game was one of my favorites this year!! This was a cute story but doesn’t compare to Hating Game or Colleen Hoover romances. Cute. Enjoyed it but 3 stars 👍🏻

Meaghan Traynor Omg this is sooooo true. I know this is an old post but I couldn’t agree more with what you said

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