Title: The Roommate
Author: Rosie Danan
Summary: The Wheatons are infamous among the east coast elite for their lack of impulse control—except for daughter Clara. The consummate socialite, she’s over-achieving, well-mannered, and predictable… until her childhood crush invites her to move cross-country. 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.
Note: an eARC of this title was acquired via NetGalley.
Omg, y’all, this book!
I remember reading the summary on NetGalley and immediately requesting a copy… but then I (predictably) waited too many months to actually sit down and read it. (Although I did get to catch a conversation between Christina Lauren and Rosie Danan pre-publication!) While the summary gives a vague ~idea of how the plot will go, it leaves a lot out, too. It’s essentially a meet-cute between two people at different crossroads who partner up because each has what the other doesn’t… but also laugh-out-loud funny, had me texting my boyfriend screenshots with the 🥵 emoji, and was so engaging that I gobbled it up over two nights.
When reading romance, I often find myself either getting all of the pining and wistful, butterfly feelings of courtship and love OR the straight-up x-rated graphic details. Some books have a lot of the former and almost none of the latter. Or sometimes a little bit of the latter but it’s tame or fade-to-black. And then some have a mix of both but the plot itself is lacking or unrealistic or the whole thing reeks of misogyny. What Danan successfully achieved was the perfect mix of two slightly clueless people falling in love while also peppering her book with some of the most blatantly sexual (yet sex-positive) prose I have ever read in a contemporary romance. By making Josh a porn star and Clara touched-starved, she was able to introduce a relationship that made sense both physically and emotionally. Does Josh “need” to give Clara her first partnered orgasm? Absolutely not—but it was certainly fun and sexy to read. The unresolved sexual tension was practically dripping off the page, and I was wistfully reminded of days spent lounging in bed reading fanfic.
Although the plot felt a bit far-fetched for your typical romance novel, I still enjoyed and appreciated how it tapped into current social issues regarding the porn industry, the (often) negative attitude people take toward sex work (and porn in general), and the refreshing take on sex positivity and female sexual pleasure. Would I have enjoyed The Roommate without the sex? Yes. Would I have enjoyed it without the romance? Also yes. The beauty is that I got to experience both—and found a new favorite author!