Book review: Roomie Wars by Kat T. Masen

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After her roommate suddenly decides to move in with her boyfriend, leaving her with the remainder of their lease, Zoey decides that enough is enough. She’s done living with fickle women, and she’s going to change her life by looking for a male roommate.  After interviewing a seemingly unending list of men who are either too creepy or too hot to be realistic choices, Zoey finds the perfect roommate in chubby, awkward, pre-med Drew.

Fast forward a number of years, and Drew is smoking hot.  Now a full-fledged doctor, he shed his awkward personality, changed his diet, started working out, and now has a line of women banging down his door.  Zoey, on the other hand, has lost her sparkling personality and gained a lot of weight after the disastrous end to her long-term relationship.  Despite their changes, Zoey and Drew are best friends.

When Zoey needs a date to her coworker Mia’s wedding, of course she asks Drew to pretend to be her boyfriend. But as in any good friends-to-lovers romance, sometimes once you start pretending, it’s hard to stop.

I wanted to like this book.  I wanted to like it so badly, but there was just problem after problem after problem.  The story is good.  And by that, I mean that I can see what the author wanted to do here, and I wholeheartedly approve.  I adore friends-to-lovers romances, and when they start out as roommates, it’s even better.  Her execution, however, was so lacking that I struggled through this book.

If you’re looking for a little background information about me, I majored in Linguistics in college.  Now, in Linguistics, we’re taught to ignore all of the prescriptive rules of grammar that we learned in elementary school and told that if the sentence gets the point across, it’s served its purpose.  I apply this principle to spoken words, not written words.  I certainly do not apply it to a published book that an author expects people to spend money on.

This book needed an editor.  Coincidentally, I also worked as an editor in college.  Throughout this book, I was just itching for my red pen.  It seems that the author could not decide what tense she wanted to write this book in, sometimes changing within the same sentence.

He emerges ten minutes later with a plate of green crap. Settling on the couch beside me, he devours his meal, making these odd sounds. It smelled good but boy did it look like a pile of mush.

(This paragraph not only includes multiple tenses, but is also missing commas and sounds terribly awkward.)

Here’s a tip: If you want to make your book look self-published, if you want to make it feel like it should be a freebie, just forgo editing.  Say, “oh, who cares!” and just publish it without giving it even the most cursory glance.  If you want to make your book look more polished, have an editor take a look.  Can’t afford an editor?  There are numerous people on the internet (myself included) that are SO FED UP with these kinds of mistakes in published works that they would edit it for free.

Anyway, moving on.  Neither Zoey nor Drew are particularly likable characters.

Drew is a womanizer (Zoey often calls him a man whore) who runs at the first sign of commitment.  His longest relationship, if my memory serves me correctly, was four months.  He purposely works long shifts at the hospital to avoid women and can’t even ask his one night stands to leave.  He has Zoey do it.

As for Zoey, she’s so fixated on her ex-boyfriend (who is a horrible, horrible person) that she ignores the rest of her life. When she enlists Drew’s help to make Jess jealous, she stops treating Drew like a friend.  Suddenly, he’s just some hot guy that will make Jess jealous.  She has no regard for Drew’s feelings throughout the entire mess, and when Drew brings that up to her, she actually has the nerve to get offended.

And please, don’t even get me started on the last quarter or so of the book. I’m not going to spoil anything for you, but Zoey could have done literally anything except for what she did.  There are so many things that could have improved her life, and she chose to do that.  It ruined the book for me, even more so than the poor grammar and terrible characters.  It was such a ridiculous thing for her to do in the name of development.

My overall verdict is this: I can see what Masen tried to do here. Tried being the key word. I can’t one-star this (as much as I want to) because she did have good ideas.  The execution is just so, so lacking that I also can’t give it any higher than two stars.

Final rating: ★★☆☆☆