My Roommate's Girl by Julianna Keyes
Publication Date: June 12, 2017
Rating: 4 stars
Source: eARC from NetGalley
Summary (from Goodreads):
The day a judge gave me the choice between going to prison or going to college was the day I vowed to stop stealing. Never again would I see something beautiful and beyond my means and take it, just because I wanted it. Just because I could.
When I moved in with Jerry, it was with good intentions. I needed a place to live while I got my degree, and he needed a roommate.
Then I saw Aster.
Blond and beautiful, good, pure, sweet, smart…and Jerry’s girlfriend. She was everything I never thought I could have. Except…maybe I can.
So I put a plan into action. Yeah, I’d probably go to hell, but it would be worth it. I wanted Aster. I wanted her yesterday and tomorrow and every possible way.
But you know what they say.
Be careful what you wish for…because you just might get it.
What I Liked:
Y'all, this should not have been a book for me, based on the title and synopsis alone. In what world would I be okay with a guy literally trying to steal someone else's girl - especially his roommate's? It sounds bad, I know. I wasn't all that excited to read this book when I first heard about it, but I've read five of Keyes's previous books and I have yet to be disappointed. With a little push, I decided to give this one a chance, and I'm glad I did. Keyes always has a way of surprising me, with every book I read. I should just turn off my brain and try every and any book she writes, because clearly she writes romance novels that work for me!
My Roommate's Girl is told mostly from Aidan's POV - the first 30% is, anyway. Aidan used to steal cars, got caught, went to juvie, but was offered a second chance and a fresh start. He was placed in a program that helps troubled teens, a program that got him on his feet and into college, where he is pursuing a degree in social work and he has an on-campus job. Aidan is done stealing... until he meets Aster, his roommate Jerry's girlfriend. Aster is perfect in Aidan's eyes, and he decides that he wants her, badly enough to break up her and Jerry. When his plan works, he doesn't expect to feel bad about it. He doesn't expect Aster to find out so quickly. He doesn't expect to actually fall for her. He doesn't expect to find out that she isn't who she seems to him, anymore than he is to her.
"Be careful what you wish for" is right! Aidan wanted Jerry's girlfriend and he devised a plan that would break them up - which, in his mind, would "free" Aster to be able to have sex with anyone, but specifically, him. Some plan, huh? Aidan is so shameless and without inhibitions. I like that he goes after what (who) he wants, though you really want to smack him at first. I'm not saying what he did was okay or right, but I forgave him after a while, and so did Aster.
This story constantly surprised me. I fully expected a story that involved cheating and sneaking around behind Jerry's back and all kinds of forbidden romance that I hate (because of the cheating). But. There is no cheating in this book. No real sneaking around. Jerry and Aster break up fairly early on in the book, which eliminates the possibility of cheating. Also, time moves by in this book, days and weeks at a time. It isn't until the 50% mark that Aidan and Aster do anything physical together - fine by me. I was happy that there was no cheating (in terms of Aidan and Aster).
There also was no love triangle, which was surprising. It turns out, Aster and Jerry had been together for a while (a year, I think? I can't rememeber), and they loved each other, but it almost seemed fake, like plastic. I don't know how to describe. Like a bland kind of love? Eventually Aster realizes that she didn't really love Jerry - and Jerry didn't really love her. He didn't even know her (because she didn't let him know her). Anyway, after they break up, Aster doesn't pine for Jerry, and Jerry doesn't pine for Aster. No messiness. No love triangle. No rebounds. No make-ups.
I adored Aidan. He's shameless, determined, stubborn, and a little wicked. He's trying to better, but going after his roommate's girlfriend probably isn't a sign of trying to be better. He actually feels bad about taking Jerry to the party that ruined things for Jerry and Aster. Aidan realizes he made a mistake. I liked seeing Aidan grow a conscience and realize that his actions have real consequences that affect real people. Aidan grows a lot during this spring semester of college, and not just because of a girl (Aster).
Aster was a mystery at first, because in Aidan's eyes, she is so perfect. Hot, smart, kind, a good girl. But it turns out that she wasn't always "good", she still isn't "good", and she shouldn't necessarily be on that pedestal that Aidan has her on. I like that Aster had a lot more depth to her than we initially see. Aster is a nice person and she's very likable. I feel like I would get along with her really well - she's an introverted extrovert and she is pretty awesome when she isn't yelling at Aidan.
The chemistry between these two picks up after Aster breaks up with Jerry. It's not an instant thing - Aster isn't looking for a rebound - but you can see it simmering beneath the surface. These two make each other burn and there are a lot of intense scenes full of chemistry without anything physical happening between them. In fact, they don't have sex until the midway point, if I remember correctly. I liked this setup - the romance didn't feel rushed, and the story progressed nicely, around the romance. No insta-love, lots of chemistry and a number of hot sexy times - perfect for a New Adult romance novel.
Of course there is some drama around the climax, but it's not too bad! One thing I hate is dramatic, over-the-top climax scenes that lead to one of the protagonists messing up, and then a grand gesture is needed, and blah blah blah. The drama wasn't too bad, and while one protagonist does mess up, it doesn't take long before they are back together.
In addition to the yummy romance, there are quite a number of good friendships in this book. Aidan has good relationships with a number of other college boys in the same program as him, who are trying to do better for themselves. I love the one guy who is not a college student but a 23-year-old who got married to his sweetheart. How adorable! And on Aster's side - she kind of has no friends but she makes a friend (and a surprising one - this girl is not who I expected to be friends with Aster!). I always like to see positive, non-toxic friendships in books, and this book had some good ones.
In general, this is a fantastic New Adult novel that has a steamy romance, some "tough issues" that don't dragged the story into a dark story, a strong male and female lead pairing, positive friendships, and a good story. I was rooting for Aidan, on his journey to be a better person. I'm glad he got his happy ending!
What I Did Not Like:
I can't think of anything that really stuck out to me except that I wasn't totally sold on Aidan at first, because of the active role he played in breaking up Jerry and Aster. Of course, given how their relationship seemed, I didn't think they should have been together in the first place, but Aidan playing a role in forcing the breakup was a low move. The good thing is that he recognized this and grew from it, and I liked him more for that. But yeah, initially I was turned off by this whole thing. If you experience the same, keep reading! Aidan won't disappoint you.
If you like New Adult contemporary romance, this is a great new standalone novel to try. I've moved entirely away from New Adult "powerhouses" like Colleen Hoover, Jamie McGuire, and Elle Kennedy, but I'm 100% sold on Keyes's books (New Adult, yes, but also her adult books). There is no love triangle or cheating or sneaking around in this book, I promise!
4 stars. I know Keyes has said that this would be a standalone novel only but I wouldn't mind reading about some of the other characters! But I'll always look forward to reading more from her, regardless. Hopefully some adult romance novels next! You think her New Adult books are hot? Hehehe...
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