The moment you sit down in a theater, you can feel the energy. Whether it comes from backstage with performers rushing around just before the curtain goes up, or from the audience giddy with anticipation for the show, the air hums with electricity. That’s how I felt reading Christina Lauren’s Roomies (Gallery Books; December 5).
If you’re a theater nerd, or you just love musicians and Irish accents, Roomies is 1000x your catnip. Roomies is charming, captivating, and at times, laugh-out-loud hilarious.
Set in NYC, Holland Bakker is a would be-writer who works behind-behind the scenes on Broadway. She’s developed a long-term crush on Calvin, a wildly talented busker she sees in the subway on her way to work. After she’s pushed onto the tracks in the station, Calvin comes to her rescue then disappears, putting into motion a series of events that puts him on the Broadway stage and the pair of them in front of a justice of the peace.
Roomies cements Christina Lauren as a one-click author for me. Publishers Weekly called it “fresh” and “sensual,” and it’s true, Roomies isn’t just a meet cute in the subway. They’ve imbued the story with this sense of musicality, as if there’s a silent conductor in the background, stretching phrases as Calvin and Holland get to know each other and their song swells and contracts. It’s an extra bonus to a story with all the elements you know and love in a Christina Lauren story — the charm, the smarts, the sexiness and the laughs.
Can we talk about Holland?! I absolutely loved her. It must be her midwestern upbringing frosted with a couple of years in the big city, but you definitely want to be friends with her. Her internal dialogue will have you cracking up. She’s alternately filled with self-doubt and self-confidence as she struggles with having a MFA, but not quite being a writer. Although just 25, she reads a little older — those midwestern roots? — and, well, like I said, I loved her.
Calvin is intuitive, sensitive but flirty as hell, and gifted beyond belief. Musically, I mean. Of course, musically. But he’s not perfect. And watching these two flirt and get to know each other is great, G-R-E-A-T great.
Christina Lauren continues to raise the bar on the modern rom-com, deftly creating believable characters you’d want to know in real life. Their heroines in particular are strong and brave (and humble!) when trying to find their ways in the world. It makes Roomies a standout among the many romances hitting shelves. If you haven’t read Christina Lauren yet, what are you waiting for?!
If you’re in the Los Angeles area, the Ripped Bodice is hosting a signing with Christina Lauren on December 10 to celebrate the release of Roomies.