Jump to ratings and reviews
Rate this book


Rate this book
Goodreads Choice Award
Nominee for Best Romance (2018)
From subway to Broadway to happily ever after. Modern love in all its thrill, hilarity, and uncertainty has never been so compulsively readable as in New York Times bestselling author Christina Lauren’s romantic novel.

Marriages of convenience are so...inconvenient.

For months Holland Bakker has invented excuses to descend into the subway station near her apartment, drawn to the captivating music performed by her street musician crush. Lacking the nerve to actually talk to the gorgeous stranger, fate steps in one night in the form of a drunken attacker. Calvin Mcloughlin rescues her, but quickly disappears when the police start asking questions.

Using the only resource she has to pay the brilliant musician back, Holland gets Calvin an audition with her uncle, Broadway’s hottest musical director. When the tryout goes better than even Holland could have imagined, Calvin is set for a great entry into Broadway—until his reason for disappearing earlier becomes clear: he’s in the country illegally, his student visa having expired years ago.

Seeing that her uncle needs Calvin as much as Calvin needs him, a wild idea takes hold of her. Impulsively, she marries the Irishman, her infatuation a secret only to him. As their relationship evolves and Calvin becomes the darling of Broadway—in the middle of the theatrics and the acting-not-acting—will Holland and Calvin to realize that they both stopped pretending a long time ago?

368 pages, Paperback

First published December 5, 2017

Loading interface...
Loading interface...

About the author

Christina Lauren

95 books66.6k followers
Christina Lauren is the combined pen name of long-time writing partners/best friends Christina Hobbs and Lauren Billings. The coauthor duo writes both Young Adult and Adult Fiction, and together has produced nineteen New York Times bestselling novels. Their books have been translated into 30+ languages. (Some of these books have kissing. Some of these books have A LOT of kissing.)

We don't respond to private messages here, so please contact us via twitter (@seeCwrite for Christina and @LolaShoes for Lauren) or our site. Thank you!!

Ratings & Reviews

What do you think?
Rate this book

Friends & Following

Create a free account to discover what your friends think of this book!

Community Reviews

5 stars
15,189 (22%)
4 stars
28,187 (42%)
3 stars
18,195 (27%)
2 stars
3,579 (5%)
1 star
968 (1%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 7,417 reviews
Profile Image for Melissa.
647 reviews28.6k followers
November 7, 2018
A love-drunk heart, from what is sure to be an infamous guide on how not to date—told by Christina Lauren's quirkiest literary couple yet (ahem, Josh and Hazel)—spurred my instantaneous reach for Roomies. Eager to stoke those gushy, giggly, infatuated-girl feelings.

I think it’s important to acknowledge—no two meet cutes are ever the same—each relationship has its own distinct opening and underlying beat, much like a piece of music. For some couples, it begins in college with a proposition and a ruined pair of shoes, taking ten years for their notes to harmonize. For others, the intro is slow to build momentum and heard from a distance—a heart captured by the passion driving another.

For Holland and Calvin’s start, it’s the latter. A chance listening session—Calvin playing his guitar in the subway tunnel—leads to months of unnecessary train rides for Holland and a crush teeny tiny obsession. Holland’s first obstacle, finding a way to initiate a conversation. How else is she going to find out his actual name or the color of those Irish eyes?

A little liquid courage and an expired student visa, coupled with Holland nudging her uncle to fill the opening in his Broadway musical with Calvin’s guitar work, leads to a proposition: a vow exchange. Say what? Sure, Calvin is easy on the eyes and extremely talented—did I mention the Irish accent?—but volunteering to marry a complete stranger . . . gutsy. The newlyweds, cohabiting as roomies for appearance sake, are both getting something out of the impulsive nuptials, right?

The way Holland sees things, this is her chance to pay her uncles back for all the support they’ve given her as she bides time, waiting for that spark of inspiration to bite; for her dream of writing a novel to be realized. If only she could find the moxie to start putting words on paper. My truth: I saw a glimpse of myself in Holland. Wanting so bad to write, but instead floating through life waiting for that perfect idea to sneak up and tap me on the shoulder. Guess I should follow the same advice I wanted to give Holls—wake up and go for it!

Not telling both sides of the story—his and her views in rivaling chapters—is quite the departure for Christina Lauren. While it’s easy to see Calvin catches feelings for Holland, that she’s not floating alone in her desire for more, it’s not clear why. What is it about her that draws him in—is it more than just love blossoming from gratitude? Both the storyline and the reader would have benefitted immensely from getting a look in that musically gifted head of his. Unsure of the emotions driving Calvin’s actions, I found myself in the same boat as Holland, left to wallow in a sea of uncertainties. Despite everything, I can’t say Calvin ever gave me a reason to doubt his character or his motives. Great guy—check.

“Come home and kick me in the teeth if you need to, but then kiss me.”

The serendipitous nature of Holland and Calvin’s relationship kept me turning those pages—would the roomies settle in to their actual titles: husband and wife? Theirs is a love story riddled with flirty banter and underscored by a massively important message: don’t let fear or doubt hold you back from chasing your heart’s desires, feed that passion and let it thrive.

I know how those notes sound when they’re coming from across the room, from across the bed. I know how they sound hummed contentedly into my ear with the warm curl of his body all along my back.
Profile Image for  Teodora .
303 reviews1,631 followers
May 14, 2023
3.75/5 ⭐

I'll admit, this smells like a good rom com melodrama
I'll click "Currently reading"
I'll treat myself with mint chocolate chip ice cream


I am going to be completely honest here, this book kind of played with my anxiety. I mean, I am not a fan of marriages that go like this:
"Hey, I'll give a sack of potatoes on you, what do you have?"
"So I have this cute little sheep and two chickens."
"That'll do, let's be man and wife."

For real, it's weird and dangerous. Like, I cannot even conceive to tell you how scary and not okay arranged marriages are or whatever the hell is going on in this book.

I actually enjoyed the falling in love journey. Honestly, even with my anxiety-dead heart. And when I finally thought that this relationship could actually be genuine, everything goes to shite so close to the end that my heart basically hurts in time with Holland's and Calvin's. It was all good by the end, don't worry, but I hated and appreciated the drama anyway.

Also, this book was enjoyable for me because I could find little pieces of myself in it.
- I understood all the little scared lies and the little stalking crush Holland had on Calvin; I mean, I don't want to sound creepy and all, but I did have crushes like that and the simple prospect that I'll get to see my crush for 0.2 seconds highlighted my day;
- I have spent six years singing in a choir and music became a beautiful part of my life, so being surrounded by deeply talented and musical people makes my heart swell;
- I am a little bookdragon so I am definitely as obsessed with words and books like Holland is; (I am also thinking about taking a creative writing course so...).

Overall, this book was a tiny, comfy part of myself put on paper and sang for my heart to hear. It was definitely a nice experience.
Profile Image for Cristiina♡Reads.
574 reviews3,302 followers
December 5, 2017
➳The idea of marriage for the aspect of immigration purposes, has never sounded so enticing in this new compelling romance from Christina Lauren…

➳When being granted the presence of an Irish hottie, with the admiration and talent of music, and the love for keeping his lips smooth and soft by applying lip balm every five minutes, one must learn to admire such a specimen. I sure have, thanks to Christina and Lauren and their welcoming presence of Calvin McLoughlin. An attractive musician, who is at first spotted by Holland Bakker every single time she goes to use the transportation of the subway. In a way, she is very creepily watching him from a far because of her obsession with his love and passion towards music. To her, she not only finds that beyond fascinating, but also it makes Calvin even more attractive to her eyes.

➳Though Holland is very shy and is in the struggling times of trying to identify herself and her writing path, she is rescued by Calvin both in the physical way and also in the emotional way when needed. After finally encountering each other after one night filled with pure terror for Holland, Calvin begins to encounter himself as part of her life. Holland not only introduces Calvin to her uncle who is a mayor hit-list in Broadway, but he gets him a job that one cannot resist if following the performing arts. Due to unfortunate past events and the statues of Calvin’s lack of visa, he struggles to accept such a high position of being the lead musician in a play. That’s when Holland comes in to the rescue, saving the day and many others who would have been moping if not have been able to admire the performance of Calvin.

➳Yes, the relationship is all pretend here, pretend there. However, to the eyes of the reader, you can definitely tell the passion and love both Holland and Calvin have towards each other, in a way that can described as true soul-mates that have met under unexpected circumstances. There is a line in which one must admit the truth or let it come out on its own. Calvin decides to proceed with the latter;
“I’ve never done this before. I just know I’m falling for the girl I married...”

➳ In Calvin’s mind, this is all the man thinks about;

➳Overall, ROOMIES is a love story that is filled with pure romance, comedic aspects coming from both characters, and an aspiration towards finding your true self just as Holland achieves throughout the story. Christina and Lauren never seem to disappoint in this department of mesmerizing stories.

➳Order Link:
AmazonB&NKoboGooglePlayAmazon UKiBooks

➳ARC galley kindly provided by publisher, in exchange for an honest review...

➳Follow Me On:
Profile Image for Christy.
3,808 reviews32.3k followers
December 22, 2017
4.25 stars!


Christina Lauren always writes the best feel good romances. Roomies had me laughing, swooning, and kept a huge smile on my face the entire time I was reading!!!

Holland meets Calvin at the subway station. She is captivated by his music the first time she hears him play. It turns into a bit of an obsession for her. Holland goes out of her way to listen to Calvin’s music. It’s mesmerizing. Holland works in Broadway, and even though she’s not musical, she has an ear for it. She falls in love with Calvin’s music.

When a part in her uncle’s show opens up, Holland knows who would be perfect for the job. No one but Calvin will do. Of course Calvin is dying for this opportunity, but he can’t take it. He is in the US illegally from Ireland and has no way of ‘working’ in the show. So… what’s a girl to do? Well, offer to marry him of course. That’s perfectly normal, right?
“I've never met anyone who loved my playing enough to want to put a ring on it.”

This story was so damn funny. And sweet. And lovable. I just adored these characters. Holland and Calvin’s relationship is so fun. You can tell they both have feelings for each other, but with the circumstances of their wedding, it makes things complicated. I rooted for these two! I wanted more than anything for them to be together. They make such a perfect match- it’s just that THEY have to see it.

Roomies is one of my favorite Christina Lauren book to date. It had a lot of humor, a lot of sweetness, and a lot of heart. Both Calvin and Holland were wonderful characters and this book was heartwarming and captivating read! For those who love the marriage of convince troupe, or just love a sweet and sexy romantic comedy type story, this is one I highly recommend!

Profile Image for Melanie.
1,165 reviews98.2k followers
July 16, 2018

ARC provided by Simon & Schuster in exchange for an honest review.

This was maybe the sweetest book I’ve read all year. It was heartwarming, adorable, and just a joy to read. I loved this and I hope if you guys are looking for a romantic contemporary this holiday season, you’ll pick up Roomies upon release on December 5th!

This is a story that surrounds a girl named Holland, who has been around music all her life. Her uncle and his husband practically have raised her, and one of them is a big name in Broadway! They obviously live in New York, and her uncle is under a great deal of pressure trying to find a musical performer who will help his latest hit production be even better.

Holland’s first love is writing, and she is actually an aspiring author, but she still has an amazing ear for musical talent because of her upbringing. She can’t stay away from a subway musician who she has developed a bit of a crush on. One day, Holland works up the courage to actually speak to the mystery man, and they exchange names.

Calvin McLoughlin is an immigrant from Ireland. He went to school at Juilliard and has been waiting for his big musical break ever since. Holland quickly puts two and two together and decides to introduce Calvin to her uncle, believing he will be the perfect fit for his show. And low and behold, Calvin truly amazes them all. Unfortunately, Calvin’s lack of authentic visa makes him unable to join the cast.

Obviously, the only rational choice is for Holland and Calvin to get married so that Holland’s uncle has the perfect addition to his show, and so that Calvin gets to live his dream of performing. And they don’t only fool the US government into believing their married, but they start to fool everyone around them, including themselves.

I love the "marriage of convenience" story trope and this one was so perfect. There are a few sort of steamy scenes, but nothing too explicit. But this book is oh so romantic and it was honestly un-put-downable for me, too. I became so addicted and so immersed that I let all the other books I was reading fall to the wayside. I loved this, and I completely recommend it with my whole heart. I can’t wait to read more by Christina Lauren (AKA: the amazing writing duo Christina Hobbs and Lauren Billings) in the future.

Blog | Twitter | Tumblr | Instagram | Youtube | Twitch
Profile Image for chan ☆.
1,051 reviews48.9k followers
May 19, 2021
when i tried to read this a couple of years ago, i dnf'd because i was put off by the heroine's bold acceptance of nepotism. but as one does, i picked this up again for a video.

and it was... fine. the marriage of convenience aspect was intriguing i suppose but the hero and heroine felt like they weren't on even footing. holland watched calvin busking for SIX MONTHS before daring to approach him. so by the time they marry for convenience she's infatuated. and sure he was sweet to her but i couldn't tell if it was because he was really into her or because of what the marriage afforded him.

not terrible, just not entirely memorable.
Profile Image for Warda.
1,152 reviews18.3k followers
May 26, 2020
“But I also think she sees herself as a supporting character, even in her own life story.”

Romance books always have me feeling single as fuck but also hopeful and I’m a soppy mess right now. This book was almost a dream and so passionate. In goals and in love. I so badly wanted more!

What am I supposed to do now? Where can I find me own Calvin?!

‘Tings’ I LOVED:
• Our main female protagonist. Hella relatable!
• The love interest and his Irish accent. Calvin was a beautifully, flawed mess.
• Holland’s precious brother.
• Her supportive uncle and his husband. Everyone needs people like them in their lives.
• The sex.
• The slow-burn romance
• The sex, ya’ll!
• Kicking toxic best friends to the curb.
• My baby Holland following her dreams and being a confused puppy overall.

‘Tings’ that bugged meh:
• The slight unnecessary drama that was incorporated to propel the story forward. Why do authors do this?!

Otherwise, this book was perfect! Perfect, I’m telling you.
Profile Image for Anne.
3,917 reviews69.3k followers
July 9, 2021
This is the story of a girl who falls in love with a boy and his guitar.


Also, he's kinda in the States illegally. And due to a convoluted plot that could only happen in a romance novel, she marries him so he can save her uncle's Broadway musical. <--because only his amazing guitar riffs will do!


Ok. I only picked this up because it was on a list somewhere as a humorous romance novel, and I was in the mood for a rom-com.
However, it doesn't market itself as a chuckle-a-minute story, so that was my bad for not delving a bit deeper before snagging it.


For the most part, though, this was cute.
The one weird thing about it was that it seemed to gloss over the big issues that already came with the story (like marriage to a stranger & them moving in with you - and this creates zero problems whatsoever? I beg to differ, sir!) and then manufacturing drama from weird stuff that didn't make a lot of sense.


The only thing I felt could be legitimate drama was when she got busted for having a 6 month crush on him before their marriage. I had to agree with him on the ewwww factor. However, it was off-putting (considering this is a romance) that he never noticed her before she got coshed over the head by the subway hobo, and even more off-putting that he didn't step in to do a more manly rescue than to call the police and report that she fell on the tracks. <--my hero!


Plotwise this was ok as far as romances go. I tend to gravitate towards the funnier stuff, but it was still sweet.
So. I guess I kinda liked it, but I didn't like it like that because I couldn't relate to either of those guys or their life issues.

Profile Image for Patty ~ Wrapped Up In Reading Book Blog.
1,260 reviews9,956 followers
November 28, 2017
*****FIVE++++++++ STARS*****
{ARC Generously Provided by Authors}

I've had the thought almost without realizing it--the encroaching awareness that I feel settled but in truth can’t see my future at all. I have a temporary job, a temporary marriage. Will anything ever be permanent? What the hell am I going to do with my life? I only get one shot at this, and right now, I’m finding my value only in being valuable to others. How do I find value for me?

I just spent an entire day getting lost in this amazing book! ROOMIES deserves all of the stars for a rating. The plot, characters, and even the vibrant description of the music made this story simply sublime! I never wanted it to end. I fell in love instantly with Holland and Calvin and their slow-burning romance had my heart pounding with anticipation, but never did I feel that there was a lull in the progression of their story. It’s so hard to find a book that has the perfect pace to keep me fascinated from beginning to end, but this one knocked me off of my feet! It’s definitely going on my ”BEST OF 2017” list.

Holland Bakker lives in a small apartment in New York City that her uncles help pay the rent on. She works for her uncle Robert whose musical is a huge hit on Broadway. Holland’s life is in limbo. She’s not pursuing her dream of becoming a writer. It seems as though she’s stuck in a rut and doesn’t know how to move forward. There’s one thing in her life that brings her joy and excitement—a handsome and gifted guitarist whom she sees several times a week playing outside her train station. For six months she’s been crushing on the guy but never has gotten the nerve up to talk to him, then everything changes when she is nearly mugged and pushed on to the train tracks by a homeless man, and her crush comes to her rescue.

When she wakes up in the hospital Holland is a little surprised when the police and hospital staff assumed she was suicidal. She learns that sexy guitar man never reported to the police what actually went down on the subway platform. A couple of nights later, her friend drags her to a dive bar to see a local band play and is floored when she sees a familiar guitar player. Holland approaches him after his set and Calvin’s apologetic demeanor and sexy Irish accent quickly wins her forgiveness. She’s still replaying their conversation over in her head days after their encounter at the bar. When the lead violinist who has several pivotal solos in her uncle’s Broadway show ends up quitting, Holland has an epiphany. She knows that Calvin could take over the lead and he would be brilliant at it and with a little convincing she gets an audition set up for Calvin. He blows everyone away with his raw talent but drops a bomb when he confesses that he can’t accept the job because he’s been in the country illegally for the past four years.

Holland normally plays it safe and never does anything truly crazy but her love for her Uncle and her desire to help Calvin achieve his lifelong dream has her ”proposing” that they get married so that Calvin can get his green card which would allow him to be in her uncle’s show. From the very moment she approaches Calvin with her crazy plan, you can feel this intense chemistry between them. Calvin is so incredibly sweet and charming it was easy to fall madly in love with his character. What makes the story perfect is that the heroine was also just as lovable. Her inherent nature to always put others before herself and her inability to see that she was someone worth loving made her character so endearing.

I was dying from the anticipation for when they would realize that their relationship was far from ”fake” and well when it happens let's just say we are taken on a rough and wild rollercoaster ride full of angst and emotions. Theirs is not an easy road to true and everlasting love but I always say it’s the level of angst that makes the ending that much sweeter.

Here are my overall ratings on the book:

Hero: 5++++
Heroine: 5++++
Plot: 5++++
Angst: 5
Steam: 5
Chemistry Between Hero & Heroine: 5++++

ROOMIES releases on December 5th! It’s one I highly recommend you read ASAP!

Amazon: http://amzn.to/2AghL5X

 photo 17631979_zpsogt4rrvf.png
Profile Image for Susanne.
1,159 reviews36.8k followers
November 27, 2018
4 Stars.

What Happens when you talk to your Crush for the First Time Ever? Instant Marriage? No Way. Way!

Meet Holland: Everyday she goes to the Fiftieth Street Station in Manhattan to listen to a musician who plays guitar there most days and nights. She absolutely loves his sound. His looks don’t hurt either. She is crushing hard till one day she actually works up the courage to talk to him after a drunken night out with her best friend Lulu. Turns out his name is Calvin, he’s Irish and he’s even sexier up close.

When Holland’s Uncle Robert gets in a jam with his Broadway show and needs an addition to his cast, Holland has a solution. Audition Calvin. Of course, he gets the job. The only problem? He is an illegal immigrant. Enter Holland’s solution to marry the guy. It’s almost an afterthought in her mind. After all, her Uncle Robert and his husband Jeff practically raised her and she feels it’s the least she can do for them. Who knew it’d be so hard to be around the guy she’s been drooling after for six months?

Meet Calvin: Juilliard trained, music is his life. Playing in the subway and in bands, he always imagined that he’d be making it big by now, life, however doesn’t always turn out the way you think it will. When he gets the chance to be on Broadway he takes it, hoping it could be advantageous for both he and Holland.

So, “Roomies” it is. Can this relationship possibly work? With a girl like Holland who has crushed on this guy for ages and a guy like Calvin whose motives Holland can’t quite trust? What can I say except for the fact that there are sparks, some sweetness, witty banter and wild energy that makes you wonder.

What started out slow, grew into a delightful story between the unlikeliest of pairs, who I couldn’t help but root for. There were no “cover my eye” moments, which for me, was a plus! Christina Lauren’s “Roomies” is an endearing, fun and super fast read. Truth be told, it made me want to believe. If only these situations actually happened in real life. Maybe at the Car Wash or the DMV. BAAH!

If you’re looking for a light, fun read that will take you out of the doldrums, this is it.

This was a buddy read with Kaceey!!

Published on Goodreads on 11.26.18.
Profile Image for Kaceey.
1,065 reviews3,607 followers
November 25, 2018
It’s rom-com weekend! Pop the popcorn, slip into your jammies and make friends with your most comfortable chair!

Holland has found herself hopelessly love-struck with a talented subway musician. Even going so far as traveling miles out of her way every day just to see him.
In her mind she’s created a fantasy, fairy-tale romance with him. Oh but alas, she doesn’t even know his name! All that will change shortly.

As fate would have it, Holland’s uncle Robert needs a new musician for his Broadway show and she’s quick to offer up her secret crush. Robert loves his musicianship and knows he’s the missing piece of his Broadway puzzle. One tiny problem. He’s here in New York on an expired visa. What can Holland possibly do to help her uncle...and maybe even help herself!

What started as a very slow read (which I even considered putting aside) quickly changed directions and turned into a sweet, romantic comedy that once again left me with a smile on my face.

This was a very fast read that I devoured in just one day! Christina Lauren delivers an entertaining, enjoyable read that will squeeze your heart and make you a believer in love.
Highly recommend!

A rom com weekend buddy read with Susanne!💖
Profile Image for Nissa | Of Pens and Pages Book Blog.
337 reviews997 followers
December 11, 2017
5 stars!

Review and Paperback Giveaway at Of Pens and Pages.

There was never a dull moment reading this book! Fantastic banter and chemistry, great pace and flow, a wonderful and relatable heroine and a guitar-playing Irishman who will melt your heart with his music and accent. Plus, it's a slow burn, marriage of convenience romance, so duh. Of course, it's a win for me.

Holland Bakker had no idea she'd go from admiring the uber-handsome and talented busker she dubbed as Jack at the subway to actually talking to him and getting to know him, let alone marrying him, but that's what happens. She wants to do something to help her uncle Robert, the man who gave her a job in Broadway—all backstage since she's not as musically talented as her uncle—and when an incident happens that might leave his play hanging, she knows she's found a way to actually do something.

Ugh. I’ve married him, and he has no idea I’ve been writing Holland/Hot Busker fic in my head for months.”

Calvin McLoughlin has been staying illegally in the US since he graduated, hoping he'd reach his dreams in New York. Four years later, an opportunity finally comes knocking on his door. Unfortunately, his decision to stay illegally bites him in the a** and he can't accept the part to play in one of his favorite plays on Broadway. But then the pretty girl he kind of saved at the subway, who is coincidentally related to the man behind the play, offers to marry him, and the rest is history.

I've never met anyone who loved my playing enough to want to put a ring on it.”

I love Calvin and Holland, both as individuals and as a couple! Holland is a twenty-five-year-old woman who hasn't figured out how to do what she wants to do in life. She put everyone in her life first and did everything she can to help them. She did a lot of growing up in this book, and I'm so happy she did! Calvin knows what he wants from the very start and is passionate about his dreams and music. While it looks like Holland gave more to help Calvin reach his dreams, I think Calvin helped her just as much. He pushed her to step out of her comfort zone and encouraged her to pursue writing, her real passion.

I love that the whole applying for a visa thing did not go on the back burner like some marriage of convenience novels of this nature tend to do. We saw how nerve-wracking it is, saw what Holland and Calvin needed to do—the forms, the interviews, everything. And most importantly, we saw how difficult and emotionally taxing it is for the couple. Because of that, I felt more connected to them as a couple and as people.

It's pretty light throughout the story, but there were a few angsty scenes here that made my heart ache. Fauxmances and marriages of convenience tend to become messy when lines are blurred and people involved in the arrangement aren't sure if it's still just a purely business deal or a gateway to happily ever after. Since Calvin and Holland are practically strangers, there are a lot of things they don't know about each other, things they might not understand at first.

It's not as steamy as this duo's previous works, but it's still filled with sexual tension and its fair share of bedroom antics, if not sweeter than the others. The feel of this book is more similar to Dating You/Hating You, the book they released before Roomies, than Beautiful Bastard, but the humor, great flow and character dynamic, and a writing style that's entertaining and addictive is still very present.

Roomies is a sweet, fun, and romantic read that was perfect to end the year on a high note. I know there are still a few days to go before we say goodbye to 2017, but this book definitely made my year in book blogging a more fun one.

Special mention to Robert and Jeff Okai for being amazing uncles to Holland. I love their family dynamic, Holland and Robert's especially.

Tropes: Marriage of Convenience, Celebrities—Broadway
POV: First Person, Female POV
Standalone: Yes

*ARC received in exchange for an honest review.

Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram
Profile Image for Larry H.
2,484 reviews29.4k followers
November 14, 2018
After reading two particularly heavy books, I needed something a little lighter, something that wouldn't leave me emotionally debilitated. Once again this year, I turned to Christina Lauren, two writers whose work I've become a tremendous fan of. (This is the fourth book of theirs I've read this year; the fifth, Autoboyography , was among the best books I read last year.)

I know when I pick up a book of Lauren's I'm bound to find a charming, poignant, utterly engaging, sexy story, full of appealing characters. The plots may be predictable but I usually have a smile on my face when I'm done reading their books, and Roomies was no exception to that rule.

Holland Bakker knows she wants more out of her life, but she doesn't know how to get it. She has always dreamed of being a writer but for some reason can't seem to coax a single word out of her brain. She has depended upon the kindness of her uncles—one of whom is the musical director for one of Broadway's hottest shows—for her NYC apartment and her job, which doesn't fulfill her, but at least she feels part of something.

The only thing that has given her joy over the last six months is her weekly jaunts into the subway station near her house to listen to a street musician whose guitar playing absolutely dazzles her. (The guitarist himself is pretty dazzling, too.) She's never made any contact with him beyond putting money in his guitar case every time she sees him, but she's getting obsessed enough with him that she's even given him a name—Jack.

One night, armed with the courage only alcohol can provide, Holland decides to speak to him—and then fate intervenes, when a homeless man comes after her, wanting her cell phone. The next thing she knows she winds up on the train tracks. Although her musician crush rescued her from a dangerous fate, he disappears before the cops can question them. When she runs into her savior at a concert a few days later, she learns that the Irishman's real name is Calvin—and he's even more talented (not to mention even sexier) than she thought.

In an effort to repay Calvin for his heroics, and help her uncle out of a bind, she gets Calvin an audition for her uncle's Broadway show. He wows everyone, and gets offered a plum position in the orchestra which is sure to make him a star. The only problem? Calvin is in the country illegally, since he let his student visa expire a number of years ago and never did anything about it.

In an effort to help both her uncle and Calvin, Holland makes an impulsive decision and suggests that she and Calvin get married so he can get his green card. She's not willing to admit that she actually has feelings for him, but she figures, how bad could it be to have him around for at least a year? Of course, the fact that she finds him increasingly more sexy every day complicates things, but the chemistry between the two is palpable. But are Calvin's feelings real, or is he just trying to act more authentic to pass their immigration interviews?

"It's not until he's said those words that I understand what really draws me to this. It's unlike anything I would ever do. I am shit at taking risks; I'm bored to hell with my life already, and I'm only twenty-five. Maybe the reason I can't write about fictional life is because I haven't actually lived."

From reading this plot summary, you may have suspicions about how the book will unfold, and you'll probably be right. But that doesn't lessen Roomies ' appeal. Holland and Calvin seem utterly believable and completely likable, and I found myself quickly getting invested in their story. You want to root for these characters, you want to shake them when they do stupid things or when they don't say the things they should. And that's the appeal of Lauren's storytelling.

Roomies took a little longer to get rolling than some of their other books, but it's still a fun read, and it once again shows me why Christina Lauren is becoming one of my favorite go-to authors.

See all of my reviews at itseithersadnessoreuphoria.blogspot.com, or check out my list of the best books I read in 2017 at https://itseithersadnessoreuphoria.blogspot.com/2018/01/the-best-books-i-read-in-2017.html.
Profile Image for jessica.
2,533 reviews32.3k followers
November 4, 2018
there is a difference between a romance novel and a romance-supported story. a romance novel solely focuses on the relationship between two people, whereas a romance-supported story is a book where the main focus is on a plot, but also exhibits frequent romance elements that assist that storyline. i went into this hoping for a romance novel, but ended up getting a romance-supported story instead. sigh.

i thought a little more romantic connection between holland and calvin could have really elevated the story and sold it better. it also would have made me a tad bit happier. as someone who has lived abroad and have friends who have married spouses of different nationalities, i know how unrealistic the plot is, so i really needed that extra oomph to turn my attention/distract me.

regardless, i thought the writing was good and the pacing was decent. and i also really enjoyed the exploration into broadway and music production - that was probably the highlight for me. overall, i thought this was one of christina laurens better novels that i have read, which is why im rounding my rating up. but if youre going into this strictly for the romance, be prepared for it to be a slow burn.

3.5 stars
Profile Image for booksnpenguins (wingspan matters).
757 reviews2,302 followers
October 28, 2018
But this...writing about how it feels to listen to music, to have found him--it almost feels like I'm writing a description of how my organs work together, what keeps me breathing. I don't think I've ever felt this before.

I’m not an avid NA/contemporary reader, but I do love me some Christina Lauren goodies from time to time.
I find their writing easy and entertaining without resulting cheap or vulgar, and every time I engage in one of their stories, I can rest easily knowing they will provide me at least a couple of smiles and that weird-but-nice fluttering feeling at the bottom of the belly that usually comes with love.
Or colitis.

What can I say. Excuse me while I put my sappy pants on.

Holland is an aspiring writer in NYC, who’s doing an underpayed job as she waits for her career and adult life to take off. During an accident at the subway, Holland meets Calvin, the beautiful stranger with a gift for music she came to develop a crush on, and realizes that this might be her chance to get something done, both for him and for herself.
So, as I’ve already mentioned before, I’m pretty familiar with these authors and their work.
I’ve read seven a pair of contemporaries and the novellas from the Beautiful series, and I’m planning on reading Autoboyography soon.
Don’t look at me like that. Sometimes even a fantasy-lover like me needs something to light up the mood. And don’t say I’m the only one.
I'm always satisfied and giggly after I'm done with one of CLo's novels, and although I always appreciate a book that makes me think, I can also recognize the appeal of a story that's supposed to not make me elaborate too much.
If you’re looking for something light and sexy, but with the right amount of soft angst, just know you’re in for a treat.
Oh, and I forgot to tell you. There’s musical and Brodway talks! Lots of it!

Anyway…while I was at the hospital, high on painkillers and praying for chicken wings, my mum got this for me and I practically devoured it.
It was familiar territory, so I knew exactly what to expect right from the beginning, yet I was a little disappointed by the fact that it takes a little to find its footing.
I mean, it’s not like I expected it to start with a bang or with something à la CSI Miami, but I sure as heck wasn’t impressed by the fact that it took me almost a good half of the book to get properly into it.
Stupid info-dump syndrome.
The writing is super colloquial, though, and this helped a lot. I like how the authors can create such great monologues that are filled with pop culture reference and deep thoughts at the same time.
The main character, Holland, who is also the narrating voice of the story, is super likeable and relatable. She's a fangirl who hyperventilates over her favorites, a hard-worker who's incredibly passionate about her writing, and she’s got balls, but she’s also still unfledged and too depending on other people’s judgment.
On her defense, it’s part of her character and it’s wonderful to see her grow so much and take her life by the leash, during the course of these 300 pages.
What I love the most about her is that she’s not a whiner and she definitely doesn’t take shit from anyone. She knows what she wants and she does whatever she can to reach her goals. Oh, and she can handle a giant steak.
Now that I think about it, I may I have a crush on her.
Calvin is…well, he’s a super faithful music genius who also happens to be extremely good-looking.
And did I mention that HE’S GOT A FREAKING IRISH ACCENT?! Because he does.
I mean… What’s not to love, here?
He’s basically perfect on paper (see what I did here?), maybe even too perfect. So much perfect that when he slips, it disappoints you a little.
But we forgive him, because his heart his big and he just wants to play his guitar and eat his cereal wearing nothing but his boxers.
Jokes aside, both Holland and Calvin have their little flaws and moments (I swear I rolled my eyes so hard I saw my brain at least three times because of these two), but they’re genuine enough for it not to be too much of a bother.

Back to the romance, now. Holland and Calvin as a couple. Um, did I tell you they're the cutest? And gooooosh, did I ship them hard? There are times in your life when you’re reading a book and a pairing appears and you just have to go and ship it, like the god of everything bookish himself ordered it to you. This was one of those times.
Even if the story felt a bit exaggerated and fairytale-like, and even if I found myself on the verge of shouting out loud in frustration more times than I’d like to recall, I immediately rooted for Holland and Calvin, because they felt sincere with their hearts, were good for each other and always talked their way through their problems.
On the other hand, the story was a little repetitive and predictable at times, and, aside from the Uncles, I don’t really care for the other side characters.
Lulu brought out the crime in me.
If I had a friend like her, I’d try to shove her under a bus at least twice a day.
Scratch that. I’d never be friends with someone so toxic and manipulative.
The others, well, they were pretty forgettable.

On this note, let me tell you how grateful I am that there’s no love triangle and that the love drama doesn’t drag around for entire chapters, because it would just have spoiled the whole thing.
The whole thing being the romance. And the…uhm, rest.
Adult novels are really not my thing. I usually laugh at the various "Spank me here, grab me there" and get embarassed by the boldness of certain authors, but I’m not a prude and I don’t mind smut in the books I read, as long as it’s not too explicit and/or surreal, and Christina Lauren’s books always deliever.
So, as much as I’d like to say I read it for the plot alone, I’d probably be lying.

Call it Christmas Sadness (Chri-christ-mas sadness), call it what you want, but I really liked the fluff and domesticness in this one. I kind of craved its warmth, because it wasn’t cringey and extremely cheesy.
I am always a huuuuuuuuuuge sucker for a well-developed fake-marriage trope, as well.
I was going to give this book 2.5 stars, but I decided to round it up to 3 full stars, because seriously, how could I not?

I think there’s going to be a sequel? I mean, I very hope so, because I wouldn’t mind reading more about my favorite pink-loving writer and her unbearded knight in hipster armor.

Bravo, C Lo <3
Profile Image for Whitney Atkinson.
915 reviews13.9k followers
June 12, 2018
I just recently read The Hating Game by Sally Thorne, a book that revolutionized my reading and made me realize I should delve more into adult romance rather than grasping New Adult by the throat and begging it to give me new, unproblematic content. So I decided to pick up this book because I mean, come on. Set in NYC about musical theater and a fake relationship trope? I’m here for it. And although I flew through this book in a day or two, my expectations were ultimately let down.

The main downfall of this book is that I just didn’t buy it. I know books are fiction and I’m not encouraged to keep a checklist of what’s plausible and what isn’t, but there were so many moments in this story where I just wasn’t sold on the concept. Their fake marriage is literally illegal, but the story made the stakes feel so low. Holland’s inner monologue didn’t really explore the situation she was in, and it felt like reading this book was going through the motions instead of taking me on a journey. The plot of this felt cyclical and repetitive: there’s legal trouble, there’s a miscommunication, they go to the theater, they have sex, repeat. For a story about characters skirting the law, there were such low stakes and the story felt so mundane.

Plot-wise, this was just… okay. I was expecting an absorbing story about broadway and actors/actresses and singing, but the love interest who’s actually in the musical isn’t even a character in that musical, he’s just a guitarist for the orchestra. That detail was bothersome because the book talks about how famous he got and people would mob him on the streets, but it was hard to believe that some random guitarist in a musical’s pit would garner so much attention? Like I know this book is playfully touching on Hamilton and the musical within this play mirrors its success, and so it was like the fanbase in this book was fangirling over the triangle player rather than any of the actual actors on stage like lin manuel miranda. It just seemed shaky and unrealistic, and once again, him being so separated from the actual musical doesn’t give us the chance to really be situated in a scene where the musical theater aspect is given a lot of screen time and imagery.

It doesn’t help that the writing of this was pretty un-spectacular. The dialogue was good and I was never cringing at horrible inner monologue, but I was bummed at how much opportunity the author had to carve out details, and she didn’t.

Going along with all this, it seems a lot of moments in the plot that could’ve been drawn out for angst or good storytelling were just glossed over. Particularly, and this could be a spoiler, I was so disappointed at how anti-climactic their first sex scene was. In romance books it’s pretty much a trademark that the first kiss and first sex scene is a really important moment, and without outright spoiling it, I’ll just say that this book blew it, and sadly no pun intended. I almost wanted to stop reading it because it was so anti-climactic and irritating. I know this could have been an attempt to make the romance more “realistic” as far as not having a ~glamourous~ first time/relationship in general—which I appreciate the effort to make the story as realistic as possible—but I’m also horribly selfish and I wish I could’ve had that moment of fate and destiny and swoon-worthy material, ya know?

One massive thing that I will say redeemed this book a lot is something that’s so hard to find in books but this author did masterfully—THE CHARACTERS ACTUALLY TALK TO EACH OTHER!!! Using miscommunication as a trope is one of my biggest pet peeves in books, so the fact that these characters would encounter a problem and then IMMEDIATELY be like “How do we fix this? What did I do?” was so mature and refreshing to read. Even though some of the drama is petty and spurred by side characters who I wanted to flick away like an annoying gnat, the no-barriers approach to their relationship is so unheard of in romance and I definitely applaud that.

Going off of that, I also liked how these characters dropped any glamor with modesty or shyness and weren’t afraid to discuss intimacy or “taboo” subjects in new relationships like sex toys and past relationships and stuff. Once again, the transparency is so appreciated.

Overall, the story didn’t really feel plausible or as angsty as I would want it to be, but it was still a fun read with refreshingly honest characters. I’m slowly compiling a list of books with healthy romance, and this one goes on it even though it’s not the best book in the entire world
Profile Image for Jenny••Steamy Reads Blog••.
987 reviews1,823 followers
December 21, 2017
“I’ve never done this before. I just know I’m falling for the girl I married.”

I absolutely fell in love with this book. I knew what I was getting going into it, a marriage of convenience, a marriage to save a guy from being deported. What I didn’t know, I was getting an amazing love story. It was sweet, lighthearted, sexy, funny, and it was exactly what I needed. I will be honest, the first 30% was rather slow for me. Once things started picking up, I couldn't put this book down.

The attraction and the build of the relationship between Calvin & Holland is simply beautiful. There is instant chemistry that continues to ignite throughout this book, leaves you breathless in the end.

I want more to this amazing couple. I just simply didn’t get enough.
A book I hands down recommend to everyone that loves sweet. It’s has everything I want in a book❤️

Follow us on facebook Follow us on instagram
Profile Image for Chelsea (chelseadolling reads).
1,478 reviews19.2k followers
February 14, 2018
Contemporary-A-Thon Challenge #1: read a book that has been recommend to you - COMPLETE!

Y’all, this book was really good. Like, I FINALLY loved something by Christina Lauren again, good. This surprised me so much and I am SO HAPPY that I read it! Probably gonna re-read it again in a few weeks because I’m already itching to revisit these characters. Happy sigh
Profile Image for Pavlina Read more sleep less blog  .
2,434 reviews4,573 followers
December 6, 2017
4-4.5 cute stars

I had so much fun while I was reading it.It was sweet,cute, lighthearting and sexy.The book keep my interest throughout and I was intrigued with the concept of a fake marriage contract.


Roomies has it all, steamy moments,lovable characters,and an intense and full of emotions romance.Calvin is a swoon worthy hero,I adored him and I fell for him hard.Holland is funny and cute.I could easily relate with her.They try to deny the connection both are feeling but this can't be for long.These two were so intense.

Roomies is a fast paced read,if you are looking for a quick, fun and sweet story this one is perfect for you!


Profile Image for TheCrazyWorldOfABookLover.
362 reviews862 followers
July 2, 2018
CURRENTLY ON HUGE SALE! | http://amzn.to/2jqoINh

“Mo stóirín, I fear I’ll like you too much.”


Reading a book by Christina Lauren is ALWAYS a treat and a guaranteed awesome read. Light, fun, touching, and with their signature humor, Roomies was no exception.

First things first. From here on out, I only want to be referred to as ‘“Mo stóirín.” Because Irish speaking musicians is my new favorite thing.

Roomies tells the story of Holland Bakker (told primarily in her POV), whom I would like to point out is hysterical. I lived for her dry humor. Holland works in theater thanks to her well known uncle. In fact, most things Holland has are in thanks to her uncles. She’s perhaps just a little spoiled, but NEVER unappreciative. So when the opportunity to help her uncle comes in the form of marrying a virtual stranger, she jumps at the chance because 1.) she’s a little bored with her life and 2.) it doesn’t hurt that she’s been pining for her soon to be husband from afar for months as she’s been listening to him perform street music.

Holland convinces Calvin to go along with a fake marriage (don’t want to give too many specifics as to why ;) ).

He blinks, and a beat of silence passes between us where I think he’s asking, Well? Are we doing this? His fingers rub my waist gently, as if to remind me there’s no pressure.
I swallow, giving him a smile that says: Fuck yes we are.
Calvin turns back to Devon. “Dev, this is my fiancée, Holland. Holls, this is Devon.”
And I die.

There’s something about the “marriage of convenience” trope I LOVE. And reading about Holland and Calvin go from trying to figure out how to navigate a fake marriage to falling in love while also trying to chase their own dreams was just so damn adorable.

"But he kisses me like it’s love, and as he pushes faster into me, he sounds like a man overcome with love, and when he rolls so I’m on top of him, he watches me with something that looks a lot like love in his eyes."

I already pointed out how much I adored Holland. But Calvin..he was something else. Christina Lauren has written a range of heroes in the past: Asshole, player, comic book nerd, smooth talking lover. But Calvin was just …just a GOOD guy. A genuinely sweet, good, caring, patient amazing guy.

“I think you might be the best girl there ever was.” .

I loved Holland and Calvin together. Loved the humor. Loved the side characters. Roomies was a super fun and entertaining read and something fans of Christina Lauren will no doubt enjoy!

Roomies is out December 5th! | http://amzn.to/2jqoINh

Find Me On:
InstagramFB PageFB BlogBlogTwitter
Profile Image for Riley.
427 reviews21.1k followers
July 11, 2018
5th read for #smutathon
Challenge: Fake Dating

Omg. omg. this was so good. I'm dying at how cute it was
December 13, 2017
This book receives 5 out of 5 AMAZING Stars! This was just what I needed to lighten up my mood! This book was absolutely hilarious, surprising, romantic, fun, open-minded and more! I loved escaping into this book! I loved Holland and Calvin! They were awesome seperately but even better after their "nuptials".

I laughed so hard I almost peed my pants! Okay, I know some of you are thinking "TMI, GROSS!" (Thank you motherhood!) Anyways back to this awesome book, I loved the romance and loved the family drama.

I also loved that there was an #LGBT+ couple in the mix. Holland was a hot mess but I just loved her! Calvin was completely a fiction husband to say the least! I mean who can go wrong with a sexy guitarist who is uber talented and uber awesome.

There's so much that goes down, but not too much. I am so thankful that I had the pleasure of reading this book and will definitely be checking out the authors' other works! Oh that's another thing, this book was written by two ladies and I had absolutely no idea and all I wanted was more!

I received this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for ♥Rachel♥.
1,851 reviews846 followers
December 6, 2017
I had high hopes for Roomies and while I liked the story, I didn’t love it.

You get the gist of the overall story from the description, so I won’t rehash it here. I think this is a case where the story would’ve benefited from a dual POV because my biggest issue was that I wasn’t sure that Calvin wanted Holland like she wanted him for much of the book. It felt very one-sided to me, I knew Holland was crazy about Calvin, but didn’t feel it on his end. If we would’ve had Calvin’s POV maybe I would’ve felt differently? Who knows. I didn’t feel much chemistry between them, and they didn’t even get together until well over . Until then, I wasn’t sure Calvin was even attracted to Holland.

Holland’s self-doubt and insecurities kind of tainted the story for me as well, because I didn’t see any evidence to the contrary. She didn’t start believing in herself until the very end. Holland kept wondering why someone like Calvin, talented and amazing, would want to be with her besides the benefit of a green card. I didn’t feel a magnetic pull between them, so I kind of wondered the same thing. This is a romance, so it all worked out, but I still feel a bit underwhelmed by the whole thing. I’m in the minority with my reaction, so who knows, maybe it was just me.

A copy was kindly provided by Gallery Books via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Profile Image for Eliza.
594 reviews1,374 followers
January 9, 2018

I really put my speed reading to the test with this one.

I expected this to be a fun and easy read - something that would make me laugh, too. But, it was none of that. Instead, I found myself quickly growing bored & irritated with Holland and the entire story. It got to the point where I wanted the madness to end, and I almost dnf'ed it.

When you read the back of the cover, the idea sounds fun and light. Intriguing even. But the contents, I'm sorry to say, don't live up to the expectation and intrigue. The whole thing is just so ... foolish and unbelievable? I couldn't take it. And yes, I know it's supposed to be a "comedy." But none of it was funny. At least, not to me.

Another thing. I didn't like Calvin. I really didn't. Perhaps, it could have been because he's not my "type," but I didn't think he was cute, sweet, or anything. To be brutally honest, he was quite bland.

The same goes for Holland. I thought she was weird and flat-out crazy. Also, Calvin and Holland's relationship was messed up, I'm not going to lie. I couldn't wrap my mind around the whole thing, nor could I stop getting bad vibes from the entire book.

Okay, I will admit this: Holland is a pretty awesome name.

Overall, I expected to read something similar to The Hating Game, which wasn't a book I loved either, however, it was funny and entertaining enough. But, unfortunately, this book completely disappointed me. Colossally. However, I've read a lot of positive reviews (which is why I bought it) so maybe it's just me.

Also, to those of you wondering why this even got 2 stars from me, well, the only reason I didn't give it 1 star was because I finished it - meaning, I'd had some curiosity to see how it would end. Plus, the writing wasn't horrible. That's it.
Profile Image for Rachel  L.
1,826 reviews2,187 followers
November 22, 2017
4.5 stars!

“You’re too beautiful to be inexperienced in love.”

Roomies is a charming book that sneaks up on you and grabs your heart! Holland has had a crush on subway musician Calvin for months who then saves her when she gets attacked on the subway. Recognizing his musical talent, she is able to get him his big break in broadway. There’s only one problem, he’s from Ireland and has been living in America illegally for the last four years.

Holland finds a crazy solution, she decides to marry Calvin so he can be in the show. Marriage of convenience turns into lovers, and maybe something more. But how can either of them know if this relationship is real?

I loved this book. It started off a bit slow at the beginning, but this is a story that BUILDS. By the end I was so in love with this couple and wanted them to find their happiness. I see a lot of reviews calling this book sweet, and I totally agree. But it did have small doses of angsty bits that gave my angst whore self the hit I needed to bring this rating up!

Holland was an amazing heroine, unsure of where she was in life and yet not at all annoying. She didn’t see herself clearly, others around her did and Calvin always wanted what was best for her, trying to put her needs before his as much as he could. To me this was also a slow build romance, starting out strangers then friends then lovers, then finally more. You need to have the patience for this couple because it’s well worth it.

This is a story you savor, one you think about when you set the book down and continue to think about once you’ve finished it. I highly recommend roomies, it’s a perfect book to curl up with.

“I think you might be the best girl there ever was.”
“I think you’re the best boy there ever was, too.”

ARC provided by the publisher via netgalley. All/any quotes in this review came from an advance unedited copy and may be subject to change in the final product.

Follow me on ♥ FacebookBlogInstagramTwitter
Profile Image for Kat.
Author 8 books350 followers
May 22, 2022
Another super-cute romance by Christina Lauren. In this one, Holland and Calvin wind up in a green card marriage in order to get Calvin playing his guitar in her uncle’s New York production. He moves in with her to make it look real, and along the way, things start becoming a little more real than either intended.

I LOVE “real or not real” scenarios, and the chemistry between Holland and Calvin was great in this one. As they slowly work their way into something that might fool them both into being a real relationship, real feelings start getting hurt. Couldn’t put this one down!

Please excuse typos/name misspellings. Entered on screen reader.
Profile Image for Khadidja .
556 reviews387 followers
January 8, 2018
I tink i love this so much and i also tink i want an Irish boy like Clavin.

RTC .....i tink?
Displaying 1 - 30 of 7,417 reviews

Can't find what you're looking for?

Get help and learn more about the design.