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Posted July 25, 2013
Originally published in the 80s, Roommates—recently revived and republished—is an enrapturing, gratifying journey that magnificently illustrates the soaring highs and gloomy lows of the college experience, and how it has the sheer power to change lives forever.
The story begins Carrie's freshman year, set at Stanford, and immediately picks up on the lives of her roommates, the phenomenal actress Megan, and the devastating beauty and brains, Beth, as well. Carrie's imminent "flaw"—her tenacious and resilient loving, despite the occasional rejection—sets her up for a world of possibilities in college, as well as a whole new realm of heartbreak. However, Roommates is not just Carrie's story; it's Megan's, it's Beth's, it's her brother, Stephen's, and it's the mysterious and brooding Jake's. Their individual plots all overlap, and the relationships between these five Stanford students, are unmistakably laced together—and forever will be. This makes for a very complicated, very intricate web of a story. I found it a little too soap opera-esque for my taste, but have to admit how well-concocted it is—Katherine Stone is a flawless writer with such a compelling, lyrical voice.
I like how there's a bit of a thriller subplot that doesn't make the book solely about romance; it was refreshing and gripping, although nothing terribly exciting. As with most of Stone's novels, the depiction of love is cloyingly sweet, grandly optimistic, and rather chaste. If you don't like the guaranteed happily-ever-after story line and the inherently perfect cast of characters (seriously... all of them are attractive, nice, smart, generous, brave, etc. etc.), then you may want to stay away from this book. As for me, I do quite enjoy the spice in novels of today's time, but I still enjoyed Roommates's mellow, sentimental tone.
For a glittering narrative that spans not only the young adulthoods of five unforgettable characters, but also their creeping pasts and unpredictable later lives in 1970s America, definitely give Roommates a try.
Pros: Beautiful style // Well-explored, lovable characters // Evocative of the decade and the campus spirit of Stanford // Nice blend of romance, passion, and drama // Connections between characters satisfyingly elaborated upon and probed // Jake's difficult past and his emotional turmoil particularly resonated with me // Juicy plot twist I never saw coming
Cons: Every character (aside from the obvious villain) is good-natured through and through, which I found unusual // A bit too sugary sweet... but that's the appeal! // On the wordy side... not the kind of book you can read in one sitting
Verdict: There's plenty of suspense and danger, as well as love, light, and laughter to go around in the hopelessly romantic—and fabulously nostalgic—Roommates. Days of Our Lives meets a tame, university-level Breakfast Club in an all-American story that flows like magic and is bound to captivate fans of conventional love stories. If you pine for a good ol' traditional romance, then Katherine Stone's 1987 novel—which just happens to be the prolific author's first—is THE book for you.
Rating: 7 out of 10 hearts (4 stars): Not perfect, but overall enjoyable.
Source: Complimentary copy provided by author in exchange for an honest and unbiased review (thank you, Katherine!).
Posted January 10, 2012
No text was provided for this review.