Roomies by Christina Lauren

Christina Lauren is one of my go-to romance author(s) – they consistently put out bubbly, romantic, and fun books that stand out in this crowded genre. When I found out one of her books is set in New York and focuses on a bunch of people who work on and around a Broadway show, I was sold. It was sweet, just the right amount of dramatic, and oh-so adorable.

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?

Christina Lauren consistently nails the pacing of the plots of their books. They’re always quick, have little filler, and have plenty of fun subplots to support the main plot. This held especially true for Roomies – the plotting was great and had a good mix of action from Calvin’s immigration situation, and plenty of romance. This one was slightly less predictable than the rest of Lauren’s books have been, but it was definitely no mystery.

Holland was relatable to a T – the first scene in the book is one of her drunkenly speaking to her crush for the first time (and embarrassing herself in the process). She’s an incredibly loyal person – she sees herself as in her uncles’ debt, so she continues to work for them even though it’s not what she wants to do with her life. It’s this loyalty to her uncles that leads her to engage in a sham marriage with a perfect stranger – albeit one who she had a massive crush on. She was delightful to watch grow and develop throughout the highs and the lows of her marriage and new living situation. Though she did make a lot of mistakes, it made her all the more relatable and believable as a person.

I loved all of the backstory on Holland’s uncles – it was a bonus love story that really helped round out the main plot and it gave Holland an ideal standard of love to strive towards. Both of her uncles were fun and interesting people that gave a great diversity to the cast and the plots in the book. Calvin, on the whole, was a great character. One thing that was a little over the top was the constant Irish-isms that he used. I get it, he’s Irish, that doesn’t mean he speaks like the Lucky Charms leprechaun. Outside of the stereotypical Irish-isms, he’s in a situation that is relatable for many people – he’s living in the USA illegally on an expired visa. This topic was handled exceptionally well, the book even took the time to discuss all the paperwork and red tape he would have to go through. This level of realism is uncommon in romance books, and it was refreshing.

As a total Broadway/musical nut, this book was right up my alley. Roomies is one of the best books by Christina Lauren that I’ve read so far, and one of the best romance books I’ve read this year. It’s cute, it’s a slow burn, and its pacing is tight – perfect for a cozy weekend read. I’m shocked that Roomies doesn’t have the hype that Josh and Hazel’s Guide to Not Dating has – it’s just as cute and features just as great characters. 4/5

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