Book Review | Roomies by Christina Lauren

Roomies by Christina Lauren
Adult/New Adult Contemporary Romance
Kindle edition, 368 pages

My synopsis: Holland Bakker is a 25 year old uninspired writer with a huge crush on a subway musician named Calvin McLoughlin. Thanks to her family ties, she’s able to set Calvin up with an audition in front of a famous musical director as a way of not only thanking Calvin for saving her from an attacker on the subway but getting him the big shot he deserves to make a name for himself. Everyone is absolutely blown away by Calvin’s talent but disappointed to find out that he is in the country illegally. To appease everyone, Holland offers to marry Calvin—the craziest and most exciting thing she has ever done. Though their marriage is fake, Holland’s feelings are very real and continue to develop as they grow closer.

I’ve said it many times but it’s always worth mentioning for any of my new visitors (thanks for stopping by): I am not drawn to books which focus on music or contain musical themes. It’s a very strange and unsettling experience—reading a story about something very special to you that just doesn’t seem to sound right on paper or in the words of someone else. Not every musical experience is soul stirring or meditative, so I become a bit annoyed when authors consistently describe it that way.

I read a Fool’s Gold book by Susan Mallery in which the female protagonist is a gifted singer who suppresses her talent as a means of avoiding becoming anything like her celebrity-musician parents. In one scene, she becomes stupidly hypnotized at the sight of a karaoke machine, believing she could not not sing a song. Susan Mallery is one of my favorite authors and I adore her Fool’s Gold series—that one was not one of my favorite installments.

Fortunately for Christina Lauren, I ended up truly enjoying Roomies and found the blend of musical tropes to be mostly pleasant.

The “marriage of convenience” theme generally only appeals to me when it occurs between people who loathe each other (The Billionaire Bachelor by Jessica Lemmon is one of my favorites). I’m undoubtedly a sucker for the perfectly imperfect pair—two bickering stupid-heads who can’t help but love each other. That is not the case in this story, unfortunately. Holland has a somewhat sad crush on Calvin which involves her taking the subway as often as she can to drop change in his guitar case and anxiously fail at making conversation with him—except for one evening with the aid of liquid courage.

Although pitiful, I think Holland’s infatuation with the devilishly handsome musician will be all-too-familiar with some—including myself. Who of us hasn’t had a crush on a classmate, co-worker, or maybe hipster barista, whom we would try to pass by daily with the hopes of catching their attention?

Holland’s and Calvin’s development as a couple over time was sweet but predictable. There were moments of hilarity throughout, including Holland’s failed attempt at surprising her husband with a blowjob from under a restaurant table.

What eventually made this story for me is how much Holly resonated with me as a person. She is a twenty-five-year-old woman in the city with an impressive degree in creative writing and yearns to make a real life for herself. She feels guilty about how much she leans on her family just to get by and feels utterly lost and unsure. She is described in the book as being the supporting character in her own story—a sentiment which hit home for me and genuinely reflects how I feel right now with my life.


Verdict: Fortunately for readers, Lauren crafts a story that explores more than just a fake marriage between a sad girl and her rock-star crush—independence and finding yourself.


Twitter: @jasminesreading
*2018 Reading Challenge Update: 76/200

2 thoughts on “Book Review | Roomies by Christina Lauren

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