The Roommate Pact by Allison Ashley is, without question, one of the best romances of the year. One word—BANTER. It’s swoon-worthy, clever, hilarious, and heart-pounding all at once, making for a story that’s too easy to binge through. No matter how much you want to savor each page, you can’t stop turning to the next, needing more and more and more.
Claire Harper and Graham Scott are brilliant on their own and everything together. How Ashley weaves their independent heartaches into a beautiful tapestry meant for healing is no small feat. The story is pretty evident from the title, but by God, how it gets there is an acute marvel, especially for those who adore the hurt/comfort trope and all the vulnerability it brings to the table. It’s also a treasure for anyone who loves letters of any kind because Graham’s emails are some of the most achingly tender bits of writing I’ve read in a while.
As much as the story is a romance, healing and overcoming fears are at its center. This is a story about real fears that hinder people from going after the things they don’t want. Ashley progresses the daunting third-act breakup in a way that I’ve not seen done before because it’s entirely predictable in the best way possible. It happens organically. Claire notes from the moment we meet her how traumatic her father’s death was, and she consistently makes it clear that she cannot handle being with a partner whose job puts them at risk. And for Graham, it’s not just his job but his lifestyle. When they start as friends with benefits—that’s it. This isn’t getting it out of their systems, but this is a fully transparent agreement, as both parties know each other better than anyone else.
For this reason, when it comes, it’s neither shocking nor upsetting but entirely understandable, trekking the story along through a character’s journey beyond the plot’s. Claire needs to believe and fathom that life is a risk worth living regardless of profession, and hardships can come whenever. Yet, even if this is something human beings know deep down, coming to terms with it after a loss is hard, and The Roommate Pact makes that clear. With how the story handles these moments throughout the novel, Ashley’s writing shines best in telling a believable, hopeful narrative.
The Roommate Pact by Allison Ashley is full of heavy beats instilled between sizzling chemistry and a gorgeously heartfelt friendship. How Claire takes care of Graham when he’s injured and how he responds result in some of the most tender and achingly wholesome scenes that balance their banter brilliantly with unbeatable heart. It’s a feat in every way that one minute I’m kicking my feet, and the next, I’m clutching a digital ARC to my chest, wanting to cry.
The depth of this novel comes entirely from the warmth threaded along every line. It’s apparent with every word that Ashley cares about these characters, and as a reader, you feel it. You understand it, and you care just as much. The side characters are as endearing as the main characters (some of whom readers know from Would You Rather). This is a story about the quiet moments of familiarity weaving together to emphasize how important it is to marry the person who sees everything that you are and still loves you for it. How Graham sees Claire, flaws and all, and how she protects his heart, makes the novel a sweet, blissful delight.
The Roommate Pact by Allison Ashley is now available wherever books are sold.
Cover Image Credit: ©Allison Ashley | MIRA