Thu
Jun 15 2017 3:05pm

Julianna Keyes’ My Roommate’s Girl Explores Dark Pasts and Second Chances

My Roommate's Girl by Julianna Keyes

Aidan and Aster are an unlikely pair in the beginning of Julianna KeyesMy Roommate's Girl. Aidan is a college student who has been given a second chance at life in the form of a second-chance type program at Holsom College. He’s been able to keep up everything by working at the school library participating in the mandatory extracurricular of frisbee baseball and keeping his head down. All this changes when he moves off campus and meets his roommate, Jerry, and titular roommate’s girlfriend, Aster. What begins is mainly an obsession with Aster where Aidan makes some unsavory moves to make a connection between him and Aster happen.

It’s hard to talk about this book and avoid spoilers because there is so much going on. The first third of the book is very heavy on Aidan’s perspective but later goes to the back and forth. The back and forth between hero and heroine perspectives is classic Keyes as evidenced in her Carina Press Time Served series and her independently published Burnham College series. Aster does serve as a solid foil to Aidan’s initial obsession, namely she’s not what he expected. Aster has actually served time in prison, shares a background of an unreliable mother and a drug addicted father. Meanwhile, Aidan’s parents are stuck in an endless loop where Aidan’s father gambles precious items away and his mother puts up with that behavior. Both protagonists are in the second-chance program. Aster for her arrest, Aidan for his court appearance after committing grand theft auto on a bait care. As a result, the two share a connection and background that goes beyond attraction.

I will admit I did not understand why Aidan was obsessed with Aster at first, beyond her looks. In Keyes’other works, we normally have some kind of flirtation and build up to the relationship/mutual attraction. I’m glad that Aidan’s preconceived notions of what Aster is like are dashed pretty quickly. As for that roommate portion of My Roommate's Girl, Jerry, as a character, is sort of a nothingburger so it’s really Aster and Aidan’s show. Between the two protagonists, Aster has a grittier background as well as story whose tone is similar to that of the hero, Oscar Hall, in The Good Fight.

Readers may find it easier to sympathize with Aster versus Aidan partially due to the extremes Aidan is willing to go to make things just so in his world. For example, getting Jerry and Aster to break up by hiring a prostitute to sleep with Jerry is not exactly the most heroic measure. Aster has actually faced a series of consequences that Aidan has never had and has a greater appreciation for the cost of her actions. Aster knows what criminal repercussions are like giving her a greater awareness on how her actions reflect on her public image.  

Holsom College is a bit of a departure from the Burnham College series. Whereas Burnham College dealt more with the standard issues that face young adults, Holsom College’s hero and heroine have to face a more somber reality. There is also a heavier presence of older adult influencers within the Holsom College series. Within the second chance program, Aster and Aidan deal with adult advisors there to support the young adults as they navigate college. The staff push Aster and Aidan to rise above the struggles they’ve faced. Aster has an easier time doing this due to her sense of self. It’s really Aidan that struggles grasping his true potential. The climax of the book sees Aidan faced with a choice to revisit his past or move forward with his future at the cost of aiding his friends. Holsom College has a more serious tone and it would be interesting to see where another installment might go. However, if you’re looking for a standalone new adult romance, pick up My Roommate’s Girl if you want introspective characters within an ever changing plot.

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Learn more about or order a copy of  My Roommate's Girl by Julianna Keyes, available now:

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Sahara Hoshi reviews for Wicked Lil Pixie and is a lifelong reader of romance. Favorite genres include new adult, paranormal romance, contemporary romance and erotica.

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1 comment
Kareni
1. Kareni
I've read other books by Julianna Keyes; this book sounds good, too.
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