Overall Grade: ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️
After Kendall Ryan’s The Boyfriend Effect, I was ready for My Brother’s Roommate because the most compelling person in that former book was Maren’s brother, Wolfie. As a reader of romance, my favorite iteration of hero is the grumpy one, the one who is sullen and changes moods on a dime. There is always something complex in their characterization whether they are an enemy to their heroines or the complexity is personally-motivated. In Ryan’s book, Wolfie’s story is an important one. There is a reason that Wolfie acts as he does, and it makes for a story that is compelling for its readers.
Add into My Brother’s Roommate a heroine whose strength lies in asking for what she wants, for having the tenacity to express her interests. Penelope is intelligent, talented, and insightful. As you read this book, the traditional roles of hero and heroine have been switched, and Ryan’s genderbending heroic archetypes invest you in her story.
This book makes for a perfect afternoon read. Ryan’s style is easy and draws you through Wolfie and Penelope’s tortured journey. Yet, even the angst of their story is minimized by the moments when everything is going well for them. The ending of My Brother’s Roommate is sweet, bringing rewards for Ryan’s Wolfie and Penelope as well as her reader.
However, this book isn’t without criticism. There are some actions Ryan might have undertaken to elevate this story. As I was anticipatory for Wolfie’s narrative, I was underwhelmed by it, which discouraged me. Here are some reasons why this isn’t a 5-star read for me.
*I won’t reveal Wolfie’s plotline, but Ryan has endeavored to challenge her readers through her characterization of him. As such, he requires more development than he is given. There are past familial relationship issues, namely with his father, and for the reader to truly feel the gravity of that, I would have developed flashbacks to underscore their fraught relationship. While she provides one specific moment, in my mind, it isn’t enough. Even more, the treatment of Wolfie’s issue is underwhelming, with Ryan glossing over it quickly. I think more care could have been taken to truly do his issue justice.
*Hayes and Maren are hardly in Wolfie’s story, which seems odd. Maren is his sister, and he has spent much of his life protecting her. I thought we should see more of them in this book. Even more, as Hayes is his best friend, it seems inconsistent that Wolfie wouldn’t have divulged his issue.
*Wolfie struggles with his relationship with Penelope under the guise of his friendship with her brother, Connor. Yet, he readily accepts the same situation in The Boyfriend Effect. This also seems inconsistent with the first book of the Frisky Business series and makes this plot point unbelievable.
*Wolfie’s insecurity about dating Penelope also is confusing. He is resolute that she could never be with someone who is “not good enough” for her, but it isn’t clear if that insecurity exists from his past or if this is grounded in some other reason. It is confusing within the context of the story building.
With all of that, though, Ryan takes care to show the importance of consent in a relationship. Even more, she illustrates workplace issues such as nepotism and gender bias in ways that mean to expose these problems. As romance writers such as Kendall Ryan incorporate these truths, she allows us to consider our own biases about these topics. My Brother’s Roommate is everything you love about Ryan’s books. If you read The Boyfriend Effect or have thought about reading it, then you will definitely find Wolfie and Penelope a treat and should read their story too.
In love and romance,