BOOK REVIEW: Christina Lauren “Roomies”

34466910Title: Roomies

Author: Christina Lauren

Genre: Contemporary/ Romance

My Rating: 4/5 stars

 

In this adorable read, Holland Bakker is the niece of one of Broadway’s biggest musical directors. While she doesn’t have a talent for music, she works alongside her uncle at his theater doing odd jobs and taking photos, and over the years has developed a love and ear for beautiful music.

Cue Calvin, the gorgeous Irish subway performer who Holland has been crushing on from a distance for the past 6 months. She knows that her uncle has been searching for a replacement musician for his show, and after a chance meet-up with the handsome busker, Holland decides it’s to bring it up with him. Only one problem: Calvin is an illegal immigrant.

So on a well-intentioned but spontaneous whim, Holland proposes an arrangement with Calvin. No, literally, she proposes to him. This way, Calvin can stay in America and her uncle gets a new star.

Soon though, the line is blurred between Calvin and Holland about what is friendship and what is arrangement, and soon it’s obvious that this has become more than just a marriage of convenience.

My thoughts:

There was a lot to love about this sweet, huggable little book. Before starting this, I worried that Roomies would be boring and flat since the “married first, fall in love later” trope is so worn out. However I will say that the authors have managed to keep it fresh and unique and oh so adorable.

This is the first book I’ve ever read by Christina Lauren (Christina and Lauren, respectively), and I was very impressed by the readability and the easiness of the writing. I flew through Roomies and never did it feel like a chore to read. Holland, our narrator, was funny, sweet and most importantly, relatable. At first you question the unrealistic nature of the plot and the motives of a woman who would willingly marry a stranger, yet these authors made me believe in it. Before you know it, you’re thinking, of course Holland would offer to marry Calvin.

I loved the relationship between Holland and Calvin, of course, but I also really enjoyed the non-romantic relationships in this book, both positive and negative. The relationship that Holland had with her uncles and her brother was very sweet and authentic. I also especially liked the representation of Holland’s toxic friendship with her “best friend”. It shows the very realistic truth that not all friendships are meant to last and sometimes you outgrow people, and that’s okay.

Holland is a college graduate who has no idea what she wants to do with her life. Obviously, she’d love to write her great American novel but so far feels stuck and uninspired. I relate to this as well, even though I’m not a college graduate exactly but I can definitely feel the pain of being so unsure and aimless in this adult life.

Altogether, as mentioned before, Holland was an all-around extremely sympathetic and engaging character to read.

Warning: this book does contain some mature content. This is basically one of the only reasons I knocked a star. I realize that this isn’t an issue for many people, but I rate my books based on enjoyment and I personally am not a fan of that sort of content. Otherwise, the story is very entertaining and the characters very lovable. Very excited to read more from these authors!

 

Christina Lauren: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads

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BOOK REVIEW: Leila Sales “This Song Will Save Your Life”

22014863_1813506502012766_621267476_nTitle: This Song Will Save Your Life

Author: Leila Sales

Genre: Contemporary/Fiction

My Rating: 4/5 stars

 

I’ve owned the book This Song Will Save Your Life for several years, initially attracted by it’s eye-catching cover and intriguing title. It’s sat on my bookshelves for several years, waiting to be discovered, realized, and felt. I’ve heard this book calling out to me on several occasions since being bought, begging to be read. Finally, for some unknown reason,  I had the urge to pick this up a few days ago, and I am so thankful that I did.

This book was such a journey, and so heartfelt. I understood it’s main character, saw myself in her, and knew her. The story follows this main character, Elise, who’s a social outcast and does everything she can to change it. She spends an entire summer researching all the things that “cool” people do, wear, and know. She reads up on the lives of celebrities that she doesn’t care about, TV shows she doesn’t watch, and to her dismay, popular music that she hates. Then when it’s time to put this newfound knowledge to use, Elise realizes that none of it would ever make her cool. The trendy clothes that she spent a fortune on, the person she’s pretending to be… they always see through it. She can change how she appears all she wants, but she can’t change who she is. She can’t change the ill-timed questions or comments, born from a social cluelessness that she’s struggled with her whole life. Nor can she change the years of loser persona that she has perfected and her peers have come to know her as.

Somehow, Elise happens across an underground nightclub, where music rules the night and the people have no idea who she is during the day. No longer is she Elise, the loser. She’s Elise, aspiring DJ.

Elise’s story hit me so deep. While I was fortunate to be homeschooled and a part of a relatively accepting group of fellow homeschoolers, I was definitely never cool. When I was enrolled in private school for a short time, I was teased, and I absolutely know why. I was actually one of the most annoying kids ever. I liked to raise my hand in the middle of class because I had a comment or story relating to what the teacher was talking about. I picked my nose in public. I wore oversized hoodies and I never, ever, brushed my hair. I was the last of all the girls in my grade to get a training bra. I said things out loud that I probably shouldn’t have. I was a social nightmare.

When I left school and started interacting with new people, I was so excited to start over and try to be a cooler person. However, I learned the same thing that Elise did: it’s not cool to try.

This book also deals with having suicidal thoughts and cutting, and while I’ve never harmed myself in that way, I’ve had thoughts of killing myself before. However, this story stresses the fact that sometimes, people aren’t driven to kill themselves because something significant and horrible happened to them. Sometimes, it can be because a group of girls forced you to clean up their mess after lunch. It’s not about cleaning up the mess, though; it’s about that and every moment leading up to it. For Elise, it had been every torturous thing that happened to her, every mean thing anyone had ever called her, all the time she had spent trying to be cooler, trying to be better, and all her work being good for nothing. For me, it was every boy I had ever cared for rejecting me. It was finally being in a relationship, and not being happy. It was being treated like crap by the only boy who had ever liked me and wondering if this was how I was going to feel for the rest of my life.

Elise found her happiness, though, and so did I. Her story is inspiring and beautiful, and it touched me in a way that few stories have. I didn’t expect to love this book so much, but now that it’s a part of my life, I’m so happy to be able to share it. Elise’s story mirrors many of our stories, and it deals with some of the same pains and heartbreaks that we have faced.

This is my favorite book I have ever read that deals with suicide. It’s an encouragement to all those who struggle with suicidal thoughts, and an anthem to all those who have overcome them.

Please read this book.

 

Leila Sales: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads