There is a woman out of focus on a bed in her underwear, gripping the sheets.

Book Review: The Roommate

I have been hearing about The Roommate by Rosie Danan since it came out in 2020. One of my favourite book influencers says it’s one of the sexiest books she’s ever read—which is saying something. I’m not a big Harlequin romance reader, so generally, the books I read are pretty tame when it comes to the spice factor, but I was intrigued. Knowing I was going on vacation for a week with nothing but time to relax and read, I figured this was my time to give this spicy novel a try.

House Rules:
Do your own dishes.
Knock before entering the bathroom.
Never look up your roommate online.

The Wheatons are infamous among the east coast elite for their lack of impulse control, except for their daughter Clara. She’s the consummate socialite: over-achieving, well-mannered, predictable. But every Wheaton has their weakness. When Clara’s childhood crush invites her to move cross-country, the offer is too much to resist. Unfortunately, it’s also too good to be true.

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.

This definitely wasn’t what I expected. I forgot about the premise before I read it (that’s the one cool thing about downloading books to a Kindle and then forgetting about them—it’s not as easy to read the synopsis before you read it), so Josh being a porn star was actually a surprise to me, which took everything in a different direction. It was fun, though, and I read it in a day.

What didn’t work for me

Clara: I just didn’t understand her. She is this rich girl who came from money and who had a PhD, but she travelled across the country without a plan to follow a boy she had a crush on for 14 years…that just seems almost stalkery. And then she never puts her education to use. If you’re going to get a PhD, you’re going to use it. She just seemed a bit flat and boring and made weird choices, but I did like her with Josh, who made up for her in spades and kept me reading. And her family stuff was kind of random considering how the book ended. It was overly complicated. And her declaration near the end seemed a little out of character. She just confused me, can you tell?

What I liked

The sex positivity: Without a doubt, the thing I liked the most about this book was how positive everyone thought about sex. Sex workers were portrayed as good people who just had a job to do and sex was meant to be enjoyed (safely) by everyone around. It was really refreshing to see.

The spice: Let me tell you, friends, this book is HOT. There actually wasn’t as much sex in it as I thought there was going to be based on the very little I knew about it going in, but when there was intimacy…it was very well done.


An illustration of a woman and a man sitting on a green couch. The woman is reading a book and the man is looking at her. The background is pink with neon hearts.

“Every body is different, but none of them are wrong.” —Rosie Danan, The Roommate

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