Rule #1 of falling in love with your best friend’s sister: Be prepared to fight for her. Even though Cassandra Carrigan doesn’t want to be fought for. No matter what he does, she won’t speak to Roman Sullivan. Not a single word. When Roman’s parents move, forcing him to live with the Carrigans, he’s not sure how he’s supposed to live in a room next to the girl he’s loved for years, the girl who doesn’t want him there. But she has a secret, one existing between the pages of the romance books she loses herself in: Cassie is a hopeless romantic, in love with the idea of love. When she asks him for her first kiss, he can’t say no to her, not when he wants to fall into that single moment, hoping it doesn’t have to end. Fantasy can’t last forever, and that version of the girl he knows is nothing but that, a fantasy. The battle for the real Cassandra Carrigan has only just begun, and Roman is going to prove that one kiss isn’t enough. Beware of lovesick hockey players, alligators playing in the rain, and a girl finding the strength she’s had all along.
Roman and the Hopeless Romantic (Gulf City High)Featured
Roman, as I’ve already stated, is genuinely a good guy and a bit of a flirt, which gets him the reputation of being a ladies man. However, he couldn’t be farther from that. He’s lonely. His parents are constantly away for work, his best friend has a new girlfriend, and his other best friend is currently not speaking to him. Roman doesn’t take it personally, or at least tries not too. Cassie doesn’t speak to anyone, but that doesn’t stop Roman from talking to her. When his parents tell him they are moving to another country and he has to go with them, Jesse makes him an offer he can’t refuse. But how does one go about living in the same house with the girl he secretly loves?
Cassie Carrigan lost her innocence and security the day she witnessed her mother’s death two years prior. Since then, her anxiety and PTSD has kept her inside her house where she only speaks to her family. Even Roman, the boy who was once as close to her as her brother Jesse, she can’t talk to. Her fear gets the better of her at every turn. She’s lost herself, the fun loving girl she used to be, and she doesn’t know how to get it back. When Roman moves in with them, Cassie’s therapist sees an opening for her to push back at her anxiety. Between the small challenges her therapist assigns and Roman’s constant presence, can Cassie begin to live again?
This book is more than a romance. It’s a heartfelt exploration of loss and grief, first love and best friends, and how anxiety can cripple it. I adore Roman! He is a big teddy bear who loves fiercely. And Cassie….my heart broke for her, but I was ultimately proud of her resilience and determination to break out of her shell. Michelle MacQueen perfectly captures this couple, and while the romance is sweet, it’s their friendship that drives the plot. If you are a fan of YA contemporary romance, I highly recommend it.
When Roman learns that his parents are moving, Jesse offers for him to live at their house. Roman jumps at the chance to not have to leave everyone. However, he wonders how hard his presence would be on Cassie. It's hard for him to see her so reclusive. Roman and Cassie used to be best friends. She was the girl who would lead him into trouble and will always have a special place in his heart.
During a thunderstorm, Roman stays home with Cassie knowing she would be scared. After a card game, he realizes that all hope isn't lost for her and he can't give up on her. The old Cassie is still in there somewhere and he'll do anything to bring her back. With their hearts on the line, the two of them will have to rely on each other to bring back the good.
ROMAN AND THE HOPELESS ROMANTIC really hits home for me because I also suffer from anxiety. There's no explanation for why it can grip you so tightly, but this is what Cassie is suffering through. I love how sweet, patient, and determined Roman is. He isn't the playboy we originally believed him to be. Instead, he's just as amazing as Jesse.
Final Verdict: I would recommend this to fans of romance, mental illness (anxiety), contemporary, and coming of age.
On the outside, Roman is this cocky, light-hearted hockey player, but he’s struggling to find where he belongs. Jesse’s family has been there for him more than his own, and when Roman’s parents decide to move halfway around the world, the Carrigans don’t hesitate to take him in. Well, all except Cassie. She hasn’t been able to talk to Roman in two years, and now she shares a bathroom with him.
Roman eases into Cassie’s life and works to help her move forward, while trying to get his best friend back. Together, they grow as individuals and as friends.
And the whole thing is just so stinking beautiful. I am low key obsessed with this book. I read it back in December (I know, I am super behind on reviews), and it instantly became one of my favorites of 2019. In fact, it made the top 3 list… out of 94 books.
Roman and Cassie both have a lot going on; Cassie’s struggles are just more apparent. These two are so lovable and relatable. Characters are vital for me, and both were so easy to connect to. They truly made me love the story from the very beginning. Actually, my love for them started in book one. Seeing their friendship mend and then grow into something more… It was just perfect.
There was so much emotion in this book. Between Cassie’s traumatic past and Roman feeling unworthy because his parents aren’t there for him, the reader is sucked in to their story, and Michelle does such an incredible job conveying all those feelings.
There are light moments too, though. Roman is obnoxious and funny, always trying to make situations easier. So, naturally, he’s now my favorite. He actually reminded me a lot of Becks from her other two series, Redefining Me and Discovering Me. Except Roman is slightly less ridiculous. Slightly.
Overall, this book was fantastic. I already want to re-read it. I cannot recommend it enough! Definitely check it out!
*Full original review on Functionally Fictional.