For What It's Worth

For What It's Worth

Thursday, September 24, 2020

Review: The Roommate by Rosie Danan

House Rules:

Do your own dishes

Knock before entering the bathroom

Never look up your roommate online

The Wheatons are infamous among the east coast elite for their lack of impulse control, except for their daughter Clara. She’s the consummate socialite: over-achieving, well-mannered, predictable. But every Wheaton has their weakness. When Clara’s childhood crush invites her to move cross-country, the offer is too much to resist. Unfortunately, it’s also too good to be true.

After a bait-and-switch, Clara finds herself sharing a lease with a charming stranger. Josh might be a bit too perceptive—not to mention handsome—for comfort, but there’s a good chance he and Clara could have survived sharing a summer sublet if she hadn’t looked him up on the Internet...

Once she learns how Josh has made a name for himself, Clara realizes living with him might make her the Wheaton’s most scandalous story yet. His professional prowess inspires her to take tackling the stigma against female desire into her own hands. They may not agree on much, but Josh and Clara both believe women deserve better sex. What they decide to do about it will change both of their lives, and if they’re lucky, they’ll help everyone else get lucky too. ~ Goodreads

Source: arc provided by the Berkley Publishing via Netgalley

The bookpusher: Amber from DuLivre

Review: The Roommate is the latest must-read romance. I went into without knowing much or having high expectations so I wasn’t overly disappointed that it still wasn’t THE rom-com that I so desire. (fyi - this isn’t a rom-com but is light, fun & sexy)

Even so, I found a lot to like & a few quibbles along the way.

Clara is a pampered socialite from the infamous east coast Wheaton family. She tries to be the perfect daughter and never cause a scandal that will make her mother be disappointed in her, as has befallen so many in the family, including, recently, her brother. She does need a change though and decides to strike out on her own so she heads to LA to live with her best friend Everett, her lifelong crush, and to try to make him see her in a new romantic light. At the last minute Everette bails to go on the road with his band and instead sublets his room with a renter he found on Craig’s List.

Josh is said roommate and is messy and low-key in all the ways that Clara is organized and uptight. He’s pretty great about following her (laminated) list of rules though and they make the best of an awkward situation until Clara finds out about Josh’s profession as a porn star.

I love how this book made Clara and Josh go outside their comfort zones without changing who they were at their core. Josh helps Clara push outside her sexual boundaries and reconsiders his judgement of rich socialites, while Clara sees there’s more to Josh and other workers in the industry.

There are sexy times but they both keep getting in heir own way because of Clara’s fear of causing another scandal for her parents and Josh being afraid of failing Clara as he did his parents (who he hasn’t spoken to) after getting into porn.

😍What I loved: Clara really learns to break out on her own. She makes unconventional and empowering choices in her professional life. 

Josh is a good guy backed into a corner both personally and professionally. He could have made a lot of bad choices but he thought outside the box and I just really like how that all turned out - especially professionally for all involved..

Josh and Clara were adorable together. Honestly, their sex scenes fell kind of flat (& cliché) for me but I adored those little thoughtful gestures they did for each other & the long conversations they had. There’s also a great grand gesture moment.

😒The not so much: Clara and Josh have a lot of family baggage. This is a HUGE part of the story – it propels the romance and the personal conflict and wasn’t addressed enough for me. Or at all in one case.

This is kind of spoilery so I’ll tag it.

SPOILER –>  Josh’s family rejection was resolved with a 30 second conversation and was all a misunderstanding after the book of him made it seem like his whole family spent a lifetime knocking him down and making him feel unworthy. I guess that wasn't the case?

And Clara’s … the entire book, from basically page 1, keeps talking about how her family HATES scandal, She’s terrified to upset her mother. She lies to her the entire book – yet the author just skips over it to the epilogue where her family loves Josh and is having a family holiday dinner with porn stars and their daughter owns a porn filming business. Yet that conversation is never shown - where she gets the courage to stand up to them, how they react, how she wins them over?

That was a big deal to me and really dragged my overall opinion down.

And I think the author really tried to have it both ways regarding sex work. She (successfully) educated the reader about sex workers but then conveniently made sure Josh never had sex on film once meeting Clara. I'm not sure how readers would have felt about that but I have read a few books that did it well. One of my favorites is the Curio series by Cara McKenna but that's more erotica  <- END SPOILER

There is also a side story concerning Clara’s job with her aunt, a politician and a slimy porn company – again resolved in a way that left me wanting.

I hate dragging on a super popular book - but I also like to manage my own reader expectations and like to read multiple opinions so I know going in what to expect. 

The end was a pretty big letdown for me - the driving force to a lot of these plotlines were ignored or wrapped up too quickly but I will say I'm happy to have read The Roommates. It was the light, sexy fun read I was looking for and solid on the romance front. 

29 comments:

  1. Everett sounds like a complete prick. Imagine your best friend moving in a complete stranger, a male she doesn't know and a random person looking for a room to stay with your female friend. Clearly he had no concern for her safety, luckily it seems to work out though and Josh sounds like the man this wanker Everett wish he was. This sounds super cute but not that head over heels swoony type of romance we all seem to be craving. Those are impossible to find. So glad you still enjoyed this one though Karen, brilliant review!

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    1. I think the romance was solid and adorable (yes, Everett is a wanker lol but it's not really about him so it's fine)

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  2. I love how you list the book pusher. :) I’ve seen several glowing reviews for this one so I have it on hold on Overdrive. The loose plot lines sounds annoying but I’m still looking forward to it.

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    1. I think you'll love it Tanya!

      I wanted to start crediting the bloggers more in some way so if someone got me to pick up a book this is what I'm going to do int he future :-)

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  3. For me, a book is always more about the emotional experience, and so I guess I was so swept up in the feeling the story gave me, that I was ok with the loose ends you mentioned. I was a fan of Clara's evolution. I thought she grew tremendously during the book.

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    1. I totally agree! But in this case I was also caught up in and wanting to cheer her on when she finally confronted her family. That was a big part of the story for me and, in some ways, bigger than the romance.

      But overall, I rally enjoyed it!

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  4. You're not the only person who wanted more family resolution. I agree that it was a bit too perfect of an ending, but I had so much fun and Clara was a delight. I got the audio so I can't wait to "read" it again!

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    1. I'm glad you found a book that gives you ALL THE FEEEEEELS Amber!!

      Even though I was a little let down with the end it was the fluffy read I was looking for so thank you!

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  5. This sounds like a pretty mixed bag. I think it is important to go into a book with the proper expectations because it can greatly impact the way you experience it. I appreciate you helping to set those expectations to this seemingly popular book!

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    1. And I still recommend it!

      Sometimes when a book is so hyped I go in expecting more and then I find issues and even the people who loved it never mentioned them. If I had known, I would have been better prepared.

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  6. I had to read the spoiler, I just can not stay away

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  7. Sounds like it has a lot of good stuff going for it and a few issues too, but it sounds fun and interesting. It does sound like a few of the plotlines and various things could have been addressed a little more in depth... still, glad you mostly enjoyed it!

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    1. I did! I think there were more positives than negatives. Just could have been closer to a 5 star read for me than a 3 because of not wrapping up certain things.

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    2. Oooh this sounds like a fun read! Bummer that the ending was a letdown though! Will have to check it out. I’m intrigued by the plot 😊 thanks for sharing and hope you are enjoying the weekend!

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  8. I really need to read a romance soon. I've been immersing myself in too much darkness. I read the spoilers though and they might bug me but the romance sounds fun so I am torn, lol.

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    1. I think if I had known ahead of time that some things would be unresolved i would have been fine with it because the romance is cute.

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  9. That sounds like a good romance. I'm glad you liked it.

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  10. I am always on the look out for a good romance read and it sounds like this could be another one! I love that they challenged each other and had to come out of their comfort zones to develop. But a shame about the main driving baggage still not being unpacked enough.

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    1. It was just an important thing for the heroine and I would have liked the scene where she confronted them. But still fun!

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  11. Sounds like a great book with some loose ends that could have been handled better. I get frustrated too when things are all worked out a little too easily.

    Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction

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  12. I've seen this around, it sounds fun! That does sound weird about the family stuff in the spoilers. I don't think you're dragging the book, just pointing out an honest critique! I'm glad you're still happy to have read it, despite the issues.

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  13. I think I enjoyed this one more than you, but the lack of resolution regarding their parents dig but me. I just chose to overlook it in favor of everything else that I liked. 😉 There aren't too many books out there trying to educate or talk to people about women's pleasure, or putting a positive spin on the porn industry.

    Lindsi @ Do You Dog-ear? 💬

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    1. I've read several so I guess it wasn't such a novel concept for me and the parent issue was so major to the plot that I was peeved it wasn't addressed. I was waiting for that moment when she confronted them so I could cheer and it never came.

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  14. Wait a minute... He's a pornstar?! I'd never have guess that. I've read a few books about pornstars and even when I enjoy them they leave me with issues. huh. I'm glad I'm forewarned before reading this one! :)

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    1. Yeah. I think she worked around it in a way that it's not as awkward as it seems and something most readers will be fine with.

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