Picture of the book Roomies by Christina Lauren with New York City as the backdrop

Book Review: Roomies by Christina Lauren

Picture of the book Roomies by Christina Lauren with New York City as the backdrop

As I was knee-deep in bookstagram world, I kept noticing an author that would pop up again and again. This author sounded like she writes fun and romantic books, so definitely my style. Turns out it’s not just one author, but the writing duo, Christina Lauren. Christina Hobbs and Lauren Billings are long-time writing partners and best friends according to their bio on christinalaurenbooks.com.

While curious about this author duo, I naively assumed they didn’t have anything set in NYC, so I didn’t look much into them. As I was trying to decide on my next NYC book, I remembered that one of my favorite authors, Sarah Smith, had recommended a book to me after she read my YOU & Me & NYC Tour. I had posted about a subway musician I saw during that tour, which prompted Sarah to make this book suggestion. Of course, I completely forgot the name of the book so had to reach out to Sarah to ask and when she told me it was Roomies by Christina Lauren, I was sold! Finally, I’d get to read one of these famous bookstagram books. The bonus is that it sounded like it would make the perfect NYC tour with music, Broadway, and a little romance to carry me along.

The Book…

Roomies by Christina Lauren introduces us to Holland, a young woman living in Hell’s Kitchen in New York City and working with her Uncle Robert (who is her uncle by marriage to her Uncle Jeff) at a Broadway theatre where he’s the musical director for the hottest show in town. Speaking of hot, Holland has had her eyes on someone hot for the past six months. A subway busker by the name of Calvin is a smoking hot Irishman, but more importantly, an amazing musician. Holland learns his subway busking schedule by heart and admires him from afar. Then one night, she’s attacked in the subway and Calvin comes to her rescue (of course he does), however, he doesn’t stick around for the police report.

What is that about, Holland wonders. When she learns more about him, she discovers that Calvin has actually overstayed his student visa and therefore, wanted to avoid any potentially sticky situations with the cops.

Meanwhile, her Uncle Robert needs a replacement for his top musician who dropped out of the show. Soon, a well-known and talented singer will be taking over to star in the production and Uncle Robert needs a musician that can match that singer’s immense talent. He’s out of options until Holland has the idea that Calvin should audition. Uncle Robert loves him and so does the rest of the staff. One problem though is that Calvin’s visa predicament makes him unhirable.

Holland can solve this problem! How could she, you ask? Well, she could marry him! What could go wrong? It sounds like a perfectly reasonable solution to me. After all, Calvin is a hottie. I’d marry him yesterday! Where’s my Calvin?

How does this marriage of convenience work out? Can they make this marriage seem legit? Will love spark between them? Also, is there more to Holland than just a girl with a crush and an unfulfilled dream? Yes, she has dreams for herself, but I’ll let you read on your own to find out the answers to all these questions.

My Thoughts…

Weird thing happened…right after I posted my #amreading post about this book, I immediately kind of panicked. At that point, I had only read a few pages of the book, but I had read the summary where I read how Calvin was in the country “illegally.” I thought, “Is it okay to call it that?” I prefer to use the term “undocumented.” So when I read the summary, I thought, “Well, that’s what I’ll do when I write about it.” And then I didn’t think much beyond how fun the tour would be with music, Broadway, and a fun romance.

However, once I posted, all of a sudden, I just started thinking about the time period we’re in with all the immigration issues going on and how stressful it must be for anyone in this situation. Many of you know I work with children and their families in the hospital setting, many of which I know are likely undocumented, so this issue is close to my heart. I wasn’t sure if reading something that might make light of these very important issues was okay.

Immediately I thought about deleting the post right after I posted but instead, I waited. I kept it up and was thankful to get a bunch of comments from you all excited about this book and my tour to come.

Thank you all!

So I kept reading the book…Holland is relatable (besides the part where she marries a guy she doesn’t really know), she’s got struggles, she has dreams, she has a crush, and womanly desires.

Calvin is such a sweet guy! You seriously do have to suspend your disbelief in order to believe that a couple who barely know each other would ever do this in real life. Once you do that, you can enjoy the budding romance between the two. After they are married, they actually seemed pretty sensible about it. I think it’s a fun trope, two people thrust together out of circumstances, and see what develops. The lead-up to the characters getting together is always my favorite, that spark…that burning sexual tension, I love it!

I also don’t think the book made light of Calvin’s situation. I think the book just remained truthful to the kind of guy he is. He’s this cool, laid-back, and sweet guy who probably just goes about his life, taking each day as it comes handling whatever cards he’s dealt with. He’s not without his faults though and doesn’t always make great decisions. Same with Holland.

Holland, Calvin, and her uncles are all good people. I enjoyed getting to know those characters and their relationships with each other. The humor, the style, and the pacing of this book kept me turning the pages. I became fully invested in these characters and the storyline. I’d even go so far as to say that I fell in love with Holland and Calvin. I don’t blame Holland at all for going for the Irish hottie!

Speaking of hot…it’s time for my sneak peek into my NYC Roomies Tour!! I’ll leave some clues about what Broadway show I saw too.😉

Sneak Peek

New York City streets, cabbie with Dear Evan Hansen promotional advertisement


New York City building atop Mee Noodle Shop
I liked the looks of this building and noodle shop. It’s in Holland and Calvin’s neighborhood. Perhaps they ate there?


New York City street, neighborhood walk inspired by book, Roomies by Christina Lauren
The lovely tourist shops that pop up in Hell’s Kitchen and the theatre district.

NYC skyscrapers

Street fair above the 50 Street Station
Always can count on NYC for a street fair

Street fair in Hell's Kitchen in NYC

NYC Street Fair
This concludes the backstage tour of the street fair. 😉

I hope you enjoyed that little backstage tour because I’ll have to let you know now that I could not go on a backstage tour of a Broadway theatre. One of my awesome readers made that cool request, so sorry to disappoint. Due to union rules, they don’t allow that. I think I saw some VIP expensive tickets to certain shows that take you on a tour, however, I don’t have that kind of money. Does anybody want to give me that kind of money? Bueller?

Basically, you have to know someone to get backstage. Once upon a time, I actually did know someone. He was a Broadway star friend of a friend. We went backstage, which basically was in his little dressing room and we also stood at the back of the stage. It was cool for sure but nothing extensive. You don’t get to see long hallways of costumes and props, which is what I pictured. I don’t remember seeing any other area besides that one little room. Sooo it’s not that exciting.

However, my Roomies tour without a backstage tour of a Broadway Theatre will be exciting! I might have a surprise or two and a classic “Lauren” moment. So get excited!

Don’t worry, my sneak peek isn’t over…

Walking around in Holland's New York City neighborhood from the book, Roomies by Christina Lauren
Continuing a walk around Holland’s neighborhood in NYC
tkts booth in NYC
Many of you have asked which Broadway show I saw. Hint: The show I saw is on this board!

Times Square, the characters in Roomies by Christina Lauren spend a lot of time in the theatre district

Golden Doodle
Of course, I saved the best for last. This is Ace. I tried to pet his head and he said, “No thank you, I don’t know you like that. Let’s shake instead.” And he gave me his paw. Much respect for Ace!

That’s my sneak peek! You can check out my full tour here: Roomies NYC Tour.

Opinions Needed

After this tour, I’m thinking about trying something different for my next tour posts, but I’d like your opinions. I’m thinking about after I go on my actual tour, doing my tour post right away and excluding the #amreading and book review post. I figure in my tour post, I can give a brief book summary and my opinion of the book will be sprinkled throughout the post.

Time management is the main reason. Working full-time in an often emotionally and physically draining job can make it hard to get my posts out in a timely manner. Sometimes I just need to veg out.

I also don’t read as many books as I used to before book-blogging. Crazy I know! When I’m working on my posts, I’m not in a reading mode and since it takes me a while to get my posts out, I have quite a chunk of time that I’m not reading. I feel like if I just do the one tour post, then I will read more and that will possibly open up time for more book tour posts—also, potentially stand-alone book reviews of books not set in NYC. I do like reading books set in other places too, ya know? This could also open up the possibility of different types of posts. I’m also a weirdo who likes Instagram so I’d like to have time to post more there too. Perhaps the non-NYC book reviews would go on Instagram? We’ll see! Lots of different possibilities.

I wouldn’t always do it that way. Sometimes I may feel compelled to do a book review for my tour post, so if I’m feeling it, I will! What do you all think?

I’m definitely going to try it out for my next tour because the next one will be Christmas-themed so I want to get it out as soon as possible. I’m already delayed so hoping I get to that one!

Anyway, we’ll call my next tour post a pilot post to see how it goes and then reassess. At the end of my Roomies tour post, I’ll reveal my next book.

So that’s what I’m thinking! Bad idea? Horrible, really bad, and/or awful? Let me know! Thanks!

If you’re still with me, pin this post, will ya!?😉

Thank you for reading!

Roomies by Christina Lauren Pinterest Pin

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  1. Ahh I can’t wait to read about your tour and know what show you saw. I love TKTS..can’t tell you how much $$ I’ve saved with them!!

    My sister worked teaching English to refugees and I’m so glad you touched on how misunderstood this whole “thing” is (for lack of a better way to word. Not to get too political, but legal status is grey area and I agree – I’m not a fan of using the term illegally that broadly. There are many pathways to citizenship – some require you remain in the country.

    Anywayyyyy I might be adding this to my ever growing TBR!!

    1. Yes!! I love TKTS! It’s da bomb! Thank you so much for reading my post! I’m glad you are looking forward to my full tour!😊

      It is such a grey area and I couldn’t not bring it up especially in this time we’re in. I know everyone’s political views are different but this is front and center in our country right now. It’s a fun book, but it brings up the issue whether it intended to or not. I really enjoyed reading it despite what it makes me think of. And I think it’s okay to think of these things even when we’re looking for escapism. I think I got both with this book and I’m glad about that. I’m sure we could go on and on about this topic since it definitely deserves more than what I can do in my blog post.
      I appreciate your thoughts on my post and walking that careful political line with me.😉

      Thank you for reading!!

  2. I added this book to my list. It sounds like a quick read that would have me hooked over a weekend. I love the characters already. Not sure if I’d ever get married like that but he must have really made an impression.

    Your pictures are so fabulous! Love the vibrant colors and I’m looking forward to seeing more on your next post.

    When it comes to time, I understand the need to get to the meat of the posts. As a blogger, I think having that separate review as a lead-in is important and also great for those people that are looking for book reviews. If they are interested in the tour, they can click the link to check out the tour. That means more views for your site. Of course, I may be completely wrong and not sure what I’m talking about. LOL I think in the end it’s how YOU want to organize your site and what’s best for you and your lifestyle. It’s not like it’s not all related, you can start with the book review and segue into the tour.

    1. Thank you for reading and for your compliments! It was a fun read for sure! I think you’d like it.
      Thank you for your thoughts. Very valid points and things I’m considering. There are so many possibilities that I feel like experimenting to see what feels right. I’d like less of a delay between when I go on my tour and when I post about it but also don’t want to lose the variety of it. However, maybe new ideas will come of this? We’ll see!
      Thank you for your help!

  3. Roomies is one of the few Christina Lauren books I haven’t got to yet! It sounds really interesting from your review. I just read Twice in a Blue Moon (and didn’t love it), so I’m taking a bit of a break from them but I’ll probably read Roomies next time I want that type of book.

    I like the idea of trying a new style for your posts next time around with the Christmas tour. I think it’d be helpful to read a quick review of the book and then immediately dive into your personal experience! It probably does get you a bit more blog views if you split them up, but if you’re posting more consistently the new way then it might even out?

    I’m sure we’ll all share our opinions when you post next time 🙂 Also – yes to reviews of books not set in NYC! Might as well!

    1. Hiiii!!! Thank you for reading my post!! I definitely enjoyed this book! Hope you like it too! Sorry you didn’t live the other one. Can’t love them all I guess!

      Thank you for your feedback about changing up how I post. I really appreciate that. It’s so helpful. I think I’ll at least try it and see how it feels. And definitely continue to share your opinions when I do it. It really helps!

      Woohoo! I need to read books not set in NYC too! I have to get transported to another place too.😉

      Thank you thank you for reading and for your valuable input!

  4. Other priorities take precedence, I think we can all attest! With that being said, I’m sure that the new take of your tour posts will be just as enjoyable to read!! I’m excited to see what you’ll do with that, and I’m especially excited for the Christmas-themed one 😉 <3

  5. Awesome writeup! Cannot wait for this tour! Still so pumped that you did book I suggested 😀

    As always your photos are beautiful and I cannot wait to see the full tour–and I’m so happy you enjoyed the book!

    I think that’s awesome you were so sensitive to the immigration issue. It’s a sad and devastating topic today unfortunately. Thank you for mentioning the reality of the situation, but I also think it’s okay for you to enjoy this book–it’s meant to be fun and enjoyable.

    Ooohhh you’re changing up the format! That’s awesome! Totally fine with you consolidating review/tour posts–I actually think that’s a great idea! Or you could also do the review post on Instagram with a bunch of photos that preview the upcoming book tour? Whatever you decide, it will be great! thank you for taking the time to give us such thoughtful and amazing tours!

    1. Thank you so much Sarah for all your support! Yeah, it was on my mind so I felt like I should mention it. And yes, it was definitely a fun book to read. I definitely enjoyed it. I loved Holland and Calvin. I thought they were so sweet! I didn’t mention her best friend at all oops but she was annoying! It’s always good to have one of those kind of characters though to make you root for the heroine even more. Right?

      Thank you so much for your feedback! I’m so glad you like the idea. I hope it will work! I absolutely love your idea to use Instagram in that way. Hopefully it will build momentum for my tour post. I also really have started to feel like doing it this way kind of makes me lose momentum for my tour post. Because when I’m on my tour, I post about it on Twitter and Instagram and people get into it, but then I follow up with a book review post when maybe people are ready for the full tour post? I don’t know! I’m going to experiment! Thank you so much for your awesome input! I really appreciate it!!❤️

  6. We used to live at TKTS when I lived in CT. It’s the best way to get cheaper Broadway tickets if you have the patience to wait in line (and don’t care too much what you see). It’s sort of a right of passage for NYC.

    I definitely think you have to do what works for you, book blogging-wise. I actually feel you, too. I read so much less as a book blogger; it’s hard to find the time to read and blog. Funny how that works out.

    I find that people don’t love single, lonely book reviews. I only write them on occasion these days. Blog readers love to see book reviews along with recipes or travel or SOMETHING. I would definitely merge your book tours with a summary, especially if that is easier on you, as well.

    PC books are hard to come by, and terms are always changing. That one is so tough too–thank you for addressing it. ‘Illegally’ is not my favorite term since people are people and are also facing a lot. Illegal seems so negative and doesn’t address the fact that sometimes refugees, migrants, immigrants–they all don’t always have a choice or are truly running for their lives or from hardship. Plus, how people get here and live here is a factor. Everyone deserves the shot at a good life. I won’t get political lol.

    Great post for all that it brings up. I am glad that the book portrayed everyone as what they were first: human beings. Xxx

    1. My fam and I have always relied on tkts. I’m going to share my experience with it and my feelings about lines. Haha!

      Thanks! I’m glad you can relate. It would be great to read books set elsewhere too. I mean, it doesn’t seem like I’ll run out of good books set in NYC but still, I like reading a variety of books. And of course it would be cool to take this show on the road!😉

      Yeah, I know what you mean about single lonely book reviews. I’m still open to it but I definitely want to try this new style. It’s actually how I thought I would do it from the start, however, I just didn’t want my tour posts to be crazy long, so we’ll see! I feel like I don’t even necessarily have to do a typical review. I like your idea of summary and tour, which is what I actually recently started doing in case people are reading the tour but not the book review. Thanks for your feedback! I feel better about trying it. I know I’ll have to figure out other kinds of posts too so I’m not only doing one thing? We shall see!

      Thanks for your thoughts on the book and on the immigration issue. Right? We all want to be careful of not getting too political but it’s hard not to in this day and age. I think everyone who commented was able to write thoughtfully about it without it being like, “oh no, we’re getting political!” I think that’s great. I appreciate the discussion. I love your thoughts on the subject. I completely agree. Thank you for sharing!

      Thank you for reading my post and for your continued support!