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?
I’ve been dreading this moment. Having to write a review for my favorite book of the year. How does one go about that? I haven’t even been a fully functional human being since I finished reading Roomies a week ago. I haven’t even been able to start let alone finish reading a book since then. How am I supposed to write a coherent review? HOW?
Holland doesn’t know what to do with her life. One would think that a twenty-five-year-old woman with an MFA in creative writing would have her crap together but that’s not quite the reality. You see, Holland loves words almost as much as she loves the busker on the Fiftieth Street station but they don’t seem to love her back. Ever since she graduated from Columbia, she hasn’t been able to write a single word. That’s how she ended up working in Broadway… selling t-shirts and taking pictures for social media.
After a night involving a tipsy Holland, a crazy-drunk man and the train tracks, Holland finally meets her crush. Calvin, former “Busker Jack”, was her knight in shining armor that night.
Holland gets Calvin the audition of a lifetime as a thank you for saving her life. It’s the perfect plan. Until they discover Calvin is in the country illegally. There’s gotta be a solution for that, right?! Of course there is! Holland is going to marry Calvin. She is going to be his knight in shining armor now and there is nothing anyone can do about it. Her uncle needs Calvin, Calvin needs her uncle and Holland needs a purpose.
The. Perfect. Plan.
Holland is one of the most relatable characters I’ve ever read. I can relate to her on so many levels it’s not even funny. She’s twenty-five and hasn’t found her purpose. You might think “so what, there’s probably a fifty year old out there who hasn’t found her/his purpose either” and you might be right. But nowadays it feels like pretty much every twenty year old has everything figured out and if you don’t have your crap figured out at that age, most people think you are a failure and Holland gets that. She feels that pressure like we all do. She wants to write but doesn’t have any words. She wants to give back to her uncles for everything they do for her but doesn’t know how. And that—her realness—is what made me fall in love with this book (aside from Calvin, of course). Holland’s character jumps out of every single page in this book. She’s real, hilarious, quirky and lovely. Everyone is going to enjoy watching her find her purpose throughout the story.
Oh my gosh. Let’s talk about “Busker Jack”.
I found the man of my dreams inside this book. Calvin is literally what my dreams are made of. I CAN’T EVEN with him. He is Irish, confident but not cocky, creative, adorable, hot as sin, funny, humble, thoughtful, sweet and I’m stopping now because I could go on forever. He made my heart melt and burst out of my chest at the same time, he made me blush and then swoon when he blushed—he BLUSHED y’all, I’m dead.
I admire that he risked staying in the US illegally after studying in Julliard and not seeing his family for years to make his dream come true. He loves his country but he also loves this other country where he can make his dreams a reality. I can totally relate to that. I think some of you will too.
If you’ve been reading my reviews for a while then you know there’s nothing I love more than a fake relationship story. And it is hard for me to find amazing ones. Well, this one just ruined me for future fake relationship stories. If it was harder before then I can only imagine how hard it’s going to be from now on.
What makes this fake relationship different from the rest (for me) is that Holland and Calvin are not making an effort to not get together. They are not playing around. They are not fighting their attraction but they are not rushing it either. They are just getting to know each other and see what happens, which I found very refreshing. Their connection never feels forced even though they are faking a marriage. And I totally secretly—not so secretly now—would have jumped at the opportunity of faking a marriage with Calvin like Holland did. Her crush on “Busker Jack” is adorable and I absolutely relate!
I swear I’m not hyping up this book just for the sake of it. I really, truly, honestly consider Roomies one of the best modern romance stories I’ve ever read. It’s books like this one that make me want to shout from the rooftops that I love romance and that everyone should give romance books a try.
I hope at least one of you buys and reads this book as soon as you finish reading my review because I can’t recommend it enough.
5/ 5 flowers
Massive thanks to Gallery Books and a very lovely person for sending me an advance copy of this book in exchange for an honest review! I’m forever grateful!