FICTION

Never Kiss Your Roommate

Wattpad. Jun. 2021. 352p. pap. $10.99. ISBN 9781989365816.
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Gr 9 Up–This novel follows two queer characters, Evelyn and Seth, through their experiences at boarding school. Both characters are not thrilled about going to Seven Hills International School for Boys and Girls, but they quickly find reasons to enjoy their time there. Evelyn gets off to a rocky start with her roommate, Noelle, who has a reputation for being tough and difficult to live with. However, the two begin to fall for each other after Evelyn takes the blame for Noelle sneaking off school grounds. Seth is bisexual and becomes interested in Jasper, who identifies as pansexual, after watching him on stage directing his own play. The story includes many events outside of the two budding relationships: the reason Noelle came to Seven Hills, Evelyn’s nightmares, Jasper’s play, and the mystery of who updates “The Chitter Chatter,” a blog that exposes secrets about students. The narrative is slow in the beginning and unfocused by the middle, with too much going on for the developing relationships to be truly enjoyed. The mystery aspect the story is predictable and the language is simplistic, even though the content is for more mature readers. Noelle is Black and the race of most other characters is not mentioned.
VERDICT Some teens may enjoy this title, but there are better options for queer romances.

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