Author: Johanna Atman
Genre: Romantic Comedy
Year Published: 2023
“Nerdection Good Read”
On the day of All Hallows Eve, Brendan falls victim to yet another full house robbery, only this time, his apartment lease has also been terminated and his car stolen. Humiliated, he has no other options than to search online for a place to stay. Brokenhearted model Trixie, dumped on the same exact day, now has a room available to rent under one of two conditions: her new roommate MUST be a single female or a gay male to eliminate any potential heartache. Brendan, a straight male, puts in a bid for the room. With a gay brother to emulate, playing gay to stay for the duration of the year long lease he signs shouldn’t be a hard task. Right?
Fashion model Trixie swears that she is done with men following a total blindside of a breakup. Once booked and busy in her late teenage years, the opportunities slowed to a trickle as she turned the corner into her twenties. With fewer jobs available and a runaway ex-boyfriend, she can no longer afford to pay full rent by herself. In her sobbing state, she is in no shape at all to interview potential roommates on her own. Enlisting the help of her friendly, gay neighbors and trusted friends on account of her own broken gaydar, they are put in charge of picking one from a bunch; they end up choosing Brendan.
Surmising he was “raised right” from the background check conducted in their apartment, they quickly offer him the spare room after convincing Trixie of his strictly homosexual identity. After years of having her needs taken care of by an assistant, then her older sister, Trixie grew accustomed to her every need being catered to. Brendan isn’t the type of man to succumb to the stereotypical princess; not even one as beautiful as Trixie.
From this struggle, tension grows and their feelings for each other begin to evolve. A series of suspicious happenings rattle Trixie’s confidence in Brendan’s story. As his desperation to keep his room increases, the lies Brendan and his accomplices formulate escalate to new heights. Various people around them are roped into the plot with only a single objective: to keep Trixie in the dark about who Brendan truly is.
My Take on Team Roommate: Playing Gay to Stay
From the outset and throughout, we—the readers—are introduced to some exceptionally strong characters. Those who are meant to take up secondary roles outside of being the “MMC” or “FMC”, Male Main Character or Female Main Character respectively, stamp their presence on the plot immediately. Not to take away from the protagonists whose viewpoints we explore in alternating chapters; this is simply to comment on how well done the backup characters are written which is often a missing factor in most romance novels. They feel like real people, performing relatable actions and conducting conversations using believable dialogue. I almost felt them materialize in the room as I read which, I believe, speaks to their authenticity. I’m sure all readers crave the same thing as I did; to be a part of the main friend group in this story. Johanna leaves us daydreaming of sharing experiences with fictional characters. Hats off to her for sucking me into the pages with her skillful use of language.
Something would be amiss if I failed to mention the humor sprinkled on every page of this book. It is part of the reason why the characters are so compelling as mentioned above. It’s not just the puns, it’s the clever comebacks, the witty innuendos and the downright funny scenarios the characters are cornered into. Johanna Atman really gave what she intended to. This book delivers on the comedy half of Romantic Comedy. I have a lot more to say about the first half, the Romance, below.
As a seasoned reader of books in the Romance genre, I’m no stranger to witnessing the usual tropes cycled over and over again with minor changes to the same old story told countless times. Not all steamy scenes are the same. Some writers leave their characters floundering about, readers are often confused about the placement of limbs, both of which make for an awkward read. Johanna Atman, however, knows exactly when, where and how to turn it up! Tasteful vocabulary is used whenever the temperatures rise between two characters. The scenes aren’t rushed at all. They’re well thought out and very well paced.
With this being the first installment of a series, I know I’ll keep my eyes peeled for all subsequent books yet to be released. Ripping through Team Roommate is a fun way to spend several hours. Or if you’re like me, read well into the night under your beddings trying to bargain with yourself to read one last chapter before calling it a day; it is that hard of a book to put down!
Disordered eating, Foul language, LGBTQ+ Content, Pornography, Sex.
About the Author of Team Roommate: Playing Gay to Stay
Johanna Atman enjoys writing comedic romantic novels with gregarious characters and steamy love scenes. She resides in Southern California and is currently working on more books for the Grand Plan Series.
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