River Exclusive: author feels for those who struggle with friendship at university

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In a River exclusive, the author of the highly successful novel, The Roommates, said she feels for students who do not get along with their flatmates at university.

Rachel Sargeant sympathises with students in this position and presents relatable characters in her books so that students struggling to make friends may identify with them.

“I feel for those stuck in unhappy house shares,” Sargeant said. “I think I’d probably be on the lookout for anyone wanting to do a swap!”

Making friends and socialising has become a crucial part of university life, but some students may find it difficult to get along with their flatmates.

Her novel, which has received high praise from several publications, follows four girls who meet in university halls during freshers’ week, all very different from one another.

The girls all have secrets they are desperately trying to conceal from the other, but their privacy is put on the line when one goes missing.

Imo is one of the four girls we are first introduced to in this multi-narrative book and is a prime example on how to become friends with your flatmates in halls.

Despite hiding in her room, and staying lost in her thoughts about her sister, Imo forces herself to go out and socialise with her flatmates which ultimately brings the girls closer when they are forced to trust one another.

Sargeant writes in a way that leaves the reader full of suspense and extremely distrustful of all characters, most notably the stalker – is he as bad as the girls think he is?

The author found inspiration for the novel when her children began university, and it set her thinking back to when she was a student.

She noted how the setting of the novel is appropriate for current students.

“I saw real potential in a dark and twisting story that featured lead characters who were away from home for the first time.

“I hope the setting will appeal to anyone who is at university or who has ever been to university and to parents who are currently on the campus run to visit their student children,” Sargeant said.

The characters all have recognisable qualities found in students, and it was straightforward to read and identify with the girls as if they were ordinary people found here at KU.

Sargeant said she could never base her characters on real people, and that her friends at university were far too normal to appear in a psychological thriller.

The Roommates is available in paperback from ASDA, Sainsbury’s and Amazon, and from all e-book platforms for £4.50.

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Chloe L Wright

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