I received this book for free from Purchased in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.RoomHate by Penelope Ward
Published by CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform on February 3rd 2016
Genres: Contemporary, Romance
Barnes & Noble
Sharing a summer house with a hot-as-hell roommate should be a dream come true, right?
Not when it’s Justin…the only person I’d ever loved…who now hates me.
When my grandmother died and left me half of the house on Aquidneck Island, there was a catch: the other half would go to the boy she helped raise.
The same boy who turned into the teenager whose heart I broke years ago.
The same teenager who’s now a man with a hard body and a hardass personality to match.
I hadn’t seen him in years, and now we’re living together because neither one of us is willing to give up the house.
The worst part? He didn’t come alone.
I’d soon realize there’s a thin line between love and hate. I could see through that smug smile. Beneath it all…the boy is still there. So is our connection.
The problem is…now that I can’t have Justin, I’ve never wanted him more.
Author's note – RoomHate is a full-length standalone novel. Due to strong language and sexual content, this book is not intended for readers under the age of 18.
Study after study has shown that women apologize more than men do, to a degree that almost turns those constant apologies into white noise. Theories abound as to why, but one thing most of them agree on is that women have a much lower threshold for what they consider to be offensive behavior that necessitates an apology. These studies came to my mind repeatedly during this book, in almost every conversation Amelia had. She was one of those women; constantly apologizing for their very existence. At one point, she apologized to Justin for how she looked. “He’s right. I should take more pride in my appearance.” You know what, Justin? It’s 2:00 in the fucking morning, the two month old baby she’s a single mother to is colicky and hasn’t allowed her to sleep in days, her shirt is dirty because she’s trying to breastfeed, alone in her own home, I may add, and she has no one to watch her daughter long enough to even take a shower. Fuck you and your judgemental bullshit.
In fact, Justin is the reason I couldn’t rate this book higher. I liked Amelia, when I wasn’t rolling my eyes at the apologies. I liked the story, I liked the twists and turns that it took. But Justin had this ability to be the sweetest guy on earth one minute, and complete pile of shit the next. “Don’t take this the wrong way, but why do you look like a whore?” That little gem came toward the end of the book when they were officially together. Earlier in the book, he asked her why the lobster dinner she was making for the three of them smelled like “dirty snatch” and completely slut-shamed her before she headed out on a date. A date he apparently didn’t want her to go on, despite the fact that he had shown up at their shared house with his girlfriend and proceeded to have loud and almost constant sex with her, forcing Amelia to listen to it every night. Comments regarding that outfit included “…your tits are hanging out all over the place” and “…if you go out looking like that, he’ll only want one thing out of you.” (Those aren’t exact quotes. I listened to this book, and it’s hard to find them again. They’re as close as I was able to write down at the time, though)
But then he would show up unexpectedly in the middle of the night and take the baby so that Amelia could take a shower and get some sleep. He would give up his own room at their house so Bea could have a proper nursery. He was a great friend to Amelia, and a wonderful surrogate father to Bea. I would find myself falling under his spell again, then that dick side would come out again. (And not the good kind of a dick side). The slut-shaming and body-shaming was constant. Part of the problem is that I’m guessing he was doing all of that because he was jealous and didn’t want Amelia going out with anyone else, even as he knew it was wrong because he had a great girlfriend. But I don’t know that for sure, because the whole book was from Amelia’s POV, so we never get a chance to hear Justin’s side of anything.
Amelia and Justin were childhood best friends who lost touch when Amelia left the island (where this house is) to live with her dad. Justin has never forgiven her for leaving. Justin also lost me a little bit here. Amelia was 15 years old. She found something out that rocked her whole world, so she ran. He’s still pissed about it and holding her against it. Dude. She was 15 years old. Show of hands; who made great, rational, mature decisions at 15? Also – after she left, she tried to contact him, but he refused to take her calls or speak to her. But apparently it’s all her fault. She apologized for that incident over and over and over during this book. Justin is angry at Amelia for leaving, for not realizing that he was in love with her back then. He told her he was angry about it literally seconds after she told him that she had been in love with him and he expressed shock because he had no idea. He had no idea and it was fine, she had no idea, and it inspired a decade’s worth of hate and bitterness.
Overall, I can’t say I loved this book. Cocky is one thing. Justin’s particular brand of arrogance and swagger was toxic. I rated this as high as I did because of my feelings for Amelia and the story itself. Even with all her apologizing, Amelia was relatable and down-to-earth. She was a great mom, and while I wanted her to tell Justin off, she didn’t completely take his shit. Also, massive props to Penelope Ward for making Justin’s ex, Olivia, a normal woman who has moved on from her break up, not a scheming, screeching harpy. She does have a minor role here, but it’s nothing more than that, and there’s no drama involved with it. I would recommend this one, but cautiously.