Release date: January 12th
Oh my lordt I loved this book so much!
It’s heartbreaking and beautiful. And there’s such a homey, incredibly friendly, inclusive and cozy feeling to this whole story I just want to move to Vermont right now! I cried, and cried some more, and then I got all warm and fuzzy and even though this is in fact NOT a True North book – it’s a standalone dammit – it’s now my favourite of all Bowen’s books taking place in the True North universe. I’m still on a reading-high (and also slightly red-eyed from happy-crying in the end) and I just can’t recommend this book enough!
Synopsis: This is a story about two sweet guys who’s been hurt in different ways. (But still damn young. They’re in their mid twenties but act way more mature, just FYI). Roderick has run back home to Vermont after a bad relationship, broke and dejected. And when his parents won’t even let him in the house because of his “life choices”, he ends up sleeping in his car. He lands a job as a baker at The Busy Bean Café, and he’s determined to turn his life around.
Kieran, a part-timer at the Busy Bean, is taciturn in the extreme. But he’s mostly just insecure and hiding a crushing secret, and I don’t only mean his sexuality either. That he followed Roderick in high school and got caught spying on him giving head under the gym bleachers doesn’t help when he’s introduced to the Busy Bean’s new baker either. But when the two end up as roommates, sharing a house, beautiful things happen.
This is a happy-read. It really is. There is low-key angst and yes I cried a whole lot. But it’s just such a beautiful story about the most beautiful of all things – love. I don’t care if that makes me sound sappy because it’s true. It’s all about love. And not only the romantic kind either. It’s just freaking awesome and wholesome. Hallmark-material for sure.
I loved both Roderick and Kieran. They’re adorable and sweet, trying to hide their hurts just in different ways. And they’re oh so endearing.
Roderick is the outgoing one – as well as the out one. But much of it is a front as a way of hiding what he himself views as his fuck-uppery. His parents have literally and figuratively closed the door on him. His ex forced him to hide their relationship, and when it ended badly he’s now pretty much alone in the world.
Kieran is a sweetheart. But instead of keeping up a happy facade, as Rod does, he keeps everything bottled up inside being quiet and withdrawn. He’s still very much a part of his family but feels like an outsider. There’s tension and resentment, mostly between him and his father, and he feels trapped and stuck in a rut. He desperately wants to get away from the family farm and make a living on his art.
These two guys circle each other, both insecure in their own way. And when they finally let go of their fears it’s epic.
But this book is funny too. Bowen is hilarious as always. But because of all the feels, the humour isn’t the main takeaway for me. There are plenty of dick-jokes (my favourite kind of joke) and it’s also surprisingly educational. I know way more about cow-breeding now than I ever thought I would. I’ve also learned that it’s absolutely possible to write a sexy scene that includes detailed descriptions of gay bull-jerking and still keep the sexy mood. Who knew?!
It could have been too much, with both Kieran and Rod having their own issues. It could have felt forced or overdone with the drama. It wasn’t though. It was perfect. Because even if there were tragedy galore, Bowen worked her usual magic and portrayed it all in a very understated yet still compassionate way. Not downplaying anything, just not focusing on the angst. It was hopeful and sweet even when it was tough.
In reviews, I always try to also include what I didn’t like with a book. I always aim for balance. Probably because I depend on other peoples reviews when choosing my next read, and I tend to not trust overly gush-y 5-star reviews. But finding something about Roommate that didn’t sit right with me is actually impossible because I loved it all. The only thing I can think of to mention is that I had trouble picturing how Roderick looked like. That’s it. Kieran was described enough that I had a clear picture of him in my mind, but for Roderick I had to improvise. And that may well be because I read too fast and missed his description (I tend to speed-read when I get too excited). So basically, this was the perfect book as far as I am concerned.
So. Just read it. You won’t regret it.
*A free copy of this book was kindly provided by the author