Secrets, danger, and suspense are the three things that make Rachel Sargeant’s The Roommates a special highlight of 2019.
Released in mid-November, The Roommates rounds up the 2019 year with a thrilling conclusion. Sargeant’s newest novel comes after the success of her previous psychological thriller, The Perfect Neighbours.
Sargeant is a Kindle top ten bestselling author, so I had high expectations when it came to her latest release. From the ups and downs of student life to family drama, to deceit, I was not disappointed in the drama of it all. The story follows the lives of four new freshers, Imogen, Phoenix, Teagan and Amber. They are very different girls who do not immediately appear to have much in common, yet have to unite when tragedy strikes, and they are the only ones close enough to the problem, to solve it.
One of the most successful parts of the story is how real the girls are. They are not simply characters, but vivid and lively, I can see them and imagine them down to every detail. Sargeant has an incredible way of making her work realistic, and this is what makes it so gripping. Imogen (Imo) experiences intense anxiety and worries about life after a family tragedy, and her negative and anxious thoughts about university are very relatable for student readers. Phoenix is more outgoing, and her eccentric outfits and bubbly personality were very familiar to me. We all know a Teagan and Sargeant has done incredibly well when using both her and her children’s experiences, in creating Teagan’s snotty yet soft-centred character. Lastly, the troubled Amber was crafted extremely well, handled sensitively and portrayed with such empathy that as a reader, I felt a strong connection to her story. The girls felt like they could so easily be my flatmates and I commend Sargeant in creating such vibrant and realistic characters.
The writing was comfortable and easy to get in to. Though it did not necessarily do anything special to break the mould in typical writing, I felt this added to the realism of the story and I enjoyed that I could focus on solving the puzzle of the story, without having to solve a puzzle in her writing too. This is a book anyone can sit back and relax into and will understand without having to strain too hard. The most interesting elements in the writing came with the small and sporadic sections on ‘Baby Daisy’. These were by far my favourite parts of the entire book. They added such a uniqueness and came as a break in the narrative. These sections of the story added a mystery element and I was very curious to see how this side story would be connected to the main plot in the stories conclusion.
There were a few opportunities where I felt like Sargeant gave away a few too many details for certain elements to be a complete surprise, but this does make the writing very accessible for readers who are first starting in the genre and want to ease into a story where they stand a chance at guessing elements of the plot. If you are the type of reading who needs all those extra details in order to create a bigger picture, this is the book for you.
I loved the ending, and I liked that it felt properly planned out. We’ve all read those books where the ending has clearly been left to the end to make up and has not properly linked to the plot. Sergeant’s ending links everything in the plot together and feels so well thought out and that is the type of ending that I can be satisfied in as a reader.
If you are looking for something with a bit of grit as a new year read, I’d give this one a go!