Book Reviews

The Spare Room by Andrea Bartz

Many thanks to NetGalley and Ballantine Books for my advanced reader copy of The Spare Room by Andrea Bartz! The book is available for pre-order and will be available (in the US) on June 20, 2023.

The Story

Staying with a friend and her husband is sexier—and deadlier—than anyone could have imagined, in this provocative domestic suspense novel from the New York Times bestselling author of the Reese’s Book Club pick We Were Never Here.

“Sexy, atmospheric, deliciously creepy, and ingeniously plotted: the best kind of up-all-night page turner.”—Lucy Foley, #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Paris Apartment and The Guest List

Kelly’s new life in Philadelphia has turned into a nightmare: She’s friendless and jobless, and the lockdown has her trapped in a tiny apartment with the man she gave up everything for, who’s just called off their wedding. The only bright spot is her newly rekindled friendship with her childhood friend Sabrina—now a glamorous bestselling author with a handsome, high-powered husband.

When Sabrina and Nathan offer Kelly an escape hatch, volunteering the spare room of their remote Virginia mansion, she jumps at the chance to run away from her old life. There, Kelly secretly finds herself falling for both her enchanting hosts—until one night, a wild and unexpected threesome leads the couple to open their marriage for her.

At first, Kelly loves being part of this risqué new world. But when she discovers that the last woman they invited into their marriage is missing, she starts to wonder if they could be dangerous . . . and if she might be next.

Packed with Andrea Bartz’s signature tension, twists, and toxic relationships, The Spare Room marks an edgy, boundary-pushing new direction from the “master of the ‘feminist thriller’” (Los Angeles Times).

My Thoughts

At this point, I think I understand that it will be VERY difficult to get through life without reading books that address the pandemic in one way or another. However, it also just feels too soon to be reading a book about a “pod” and isolation and everything.

I will also say this: I have not read Andrea Bartz before, so I’m not sure if The Spare Room follows her . . . “formula,” for lack of a better term. If she’s been deemed the “master of the ‘feminist thriller,'” it tells me that it’s likely.

I’m not going to lie, I did not enjoy The Spare Room. It felt forced all over and the smut was just unnecessary. Maybe reading this kind of story is empowering to some women, but all I kept thinking was how DUMB Kelly was in making all of these decisions.

She “reconnects” with a girl she kind of knew in high school who then invites her over to her house IN A PANDEMIC after only a few weeks because she broke up with her boyfriend because she went a little bit crazy? Really? Are we supposed to believe that any of those are sensible decisions?

In the end, if you like nonsense and overall unlikable characters, give The Spare Room a shot. It wasn’t the kind of book I enjoy reading, but I definitely believe there is an audience that would LOVE it.

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