My rating in stars: 4 stars
My rating in words: Really liked it
WHAT IT’S ABOUT:
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 big-time 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 realise that they both stopped pretending a long time ago?
MY THOUGHTS (SPOILER-FREE):
Well, it turns out there really are some pretty decent new adult books out there, and Roomies is one of them. Though it may feel like the only new adult books to be found are about college girls having sex, don’t despair and try Roomies! Because Roomies is a pretty great and not to mention fun adventure. Obviously I can talk all day about how romantic it was, or how funny it was, but really, you can get all that from the blurb. So why don’t I change up this review thing and give you 5 more reasons why you should give this a try, if you’re in the mood for romantic and funny, but also need just a little more:
1. The marriage of convenience trope
Let’s start with the obvious one, alright? So naturally, this book features the marriage of convenience trop, where two people set up a fake marriage. In this case, Holland marries Calvin, a hot Irish musician whom she has coincidentally also admired from afar for many months, so he can play in her uncle’s show and save it from going under. Going into this, you probably already know whether or not you’re a fan of this trope. If you are, I’m convinced you’ll love it, also because though it may seem far-fetched, it is written rather realistically as Holland and Calvin struggle with the massive amount paperwork and stress about their interview. And if you are not a fan of this trope, then now is my cue to tell you about the other things Roomies has going for it, such as…
2. Lots of music talk and a Broadway setting
I love music and honestly I could not only listen to it all day, but I could also read about it all day (and I pretty much read Roomies in a day so that says it all). Music is a huge part of Roomies. Calvin is a musician and Holland grew up surrounded by music. She works at the same theatre where her uncle is musical director and well, music is just everywhere. Not to mention, how cool is this Broadway setting? I kind of imagined the set of Hamilton the whole time (because yes I am obsessed), AND I totally pictured Ramón, the lead singer from the show, as Lin-Manuel Miranda. That is, until the book mentioned Lin-Manuel Miranda and I needed to change my mental picture… But moving on…
3. Actual tough career questions
Holland is 25, has a degree in creative writing and is hoping to become a novelist, and yet… she hasn’t written in years. She has a temporary job as an archivist and merch seller at the theatre, where she has a crappy boss and a dwindling self-esteem. She is at that point in life so many of us have or have had, where you’re kind of floating along from day to day, wondering what you really want to do with your life. And I for one, have been looking for this kind of story for ages and was thrilled to see Roomies really delve into that.
4. The pain of growing apart from a friend
Another tough issue about growing up that Roomies really handled well, I thought, was friendship. And not the kind of friendship that had me rooting from them and wishing I had it too, but no… a friendship that’s slowly been turning negative over the years. Holland and Lulu have been best friends for many years, but the question is if Lulu is really actually still a good friend to Holland or if they are just sticking together out of habit. It’s a tough subject, but I loved how the book handled this.
5. The best uncles ever
A relationship I would very much like to have myself is the relationship Holland has with her uncles. Holland has always been more close to her uncle Jeff and his husband Robert, than she has with her actual parents. In fact, they really fullfill that parental role in her life and in this book and I fell in love with both of them. They are so supportive and kind but also felt multidimensional and I just loved all the scenes Holland had with one or both of her uncles.
That’s it! I just have to mention the reason why I didn’t give this the full 5 stars and that is the ending. I thought the ending was dragged out, and issues seemed dragged in out of seemingly nowhere, just to make the plot run a little longer and keep the happily ever after out of reach for just a bit longer, and this annoyed me greatly. But despite that one issue, I highly enjoyed this book and would definitely recommend to any romance lover out there who’s looking for some great new adult romance!
“But this…writing about how it feels to listen to music, to have found him–it almost feels like I’m writing a description of how my organs work together, what keeps me breathing. I don’t think I’ve ever felt this before. ”
“The thing about this music is that if you just stand here and listen, you’ll never appreciate it. You’re supposed to be part of it—part of the party. I think that’s why I like it so much.”
“I rarely admit this ambition anymore because it seems to always garner this exact reaction: an odd combination of surprised and impressed. And I can’t tell whether people respond this way because they like the idea that I want to do something difficult and creative, or because nobody looks at me and immediately thinks She’s got stories buried inside her.”
“As I slip in, I wonder whether, in ten years, I’ll hear a riff or an opening chord to one of the songs and be transported back immediately to this time in my life. It makes the shadow thought follow—what will I feel when I think of these times? Will I think, Wow, those were the hardest days, trying to figure out who I was? Or will I think, Those days were so easy and free, with so little responsibility?”
“I’ve had the thought almost without realizing it—the encroaching awareness that I feel settled but in truth can’t see my future at all. I have a temporary job, a temporary marriage. Will anything ever be permanent? What the hell am I going to do with my life? I only get one shot at this, and right now, I’m finding my value only in being valuable to others. How do I find value for me?”
“There is a high that comes from live shows, a collective energy in a large group of people all gathered for one reason. The beat slices through the melodies and then drops; the crowd bounces and undulates like ripples of water.”