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Book Review - The Girl In Room 105

There are couple of reasons why I pre-ordered Chetan Bhagat's latest - its price is less than a cup of decent coffee making it an impulse purchase and more importantly the book's claim that it is an "unlove story", whatever that means. Bhagat had pioneered the trend of bubblegum IIT college love stories targeted at teens and college-going population which inspired a generation of wannabe writers. But you can chew bubblegum only for so long. After some time you have to spit it out. With this book Bhagat threw away the bubblegum only for it to stick to his shoes.

The story starts the same way as have Bhagat's previous books - in a college and more specifically in an IIT. For initial few chapters you would be forgiven if you think you have picked up one of Bhagat's previous works by mistake. Bhagat is still obsessed with fair skin, women's churidar kurta and how she arranges her hair. The English is still pedestrian which Bhagat justifies as this is how real people talk only na! But wait, there is a twist - or rather a murder.

The protagonist is an IIT ex-graduate who drinks bottles of whiskey sulking about the girl who broke up with him four years ago (putting Max Payne to shame), eats nothing but packets of maggi but is still able to maintain a six-pack! He also has a sidekick friend - an overweight, computer wizard who sticks with him through thick and thin despite being humiliated for his weight multiple times. The duo set out on an adventure to solve the whodunnit mystery of our hero's ex-girlfriend murder with appropriate brand placements in between. Its almost as if the story was written so that it can be made into a Bollywood movie.

The story is full of more cliches - a studious-but-selfish Tamilian who becomes a successful businessman, families belonging to different religions (remember "2 States"?), an incompetent police inspector etc. Bhagat tries to include a Kashmir angle but gives up even without trying so as not to offend anyone. With the terrorist and religion plot conveniently set aside, the story contains plot holes so huge that a Boeing 747 can fly right through it.

Despite the book's claim of being a thriller, you never feel invested in the story. Generally a thriller ratchets up the tension and relieves it with few laughs in between. The laughs are there; the tension is missing. Towards the end, I just wanted the story to get over so that I can get a good night's sleep.

This might be Chetan Bhagat's worst work till date. The mish-mash of Bollywood's cliches, lazy writing and an eagerness to not offend anyone might be this book's undoing. If you are looking for a decent detective story, stay away from this. If you are a Chetan Bhagat fan, no amount of fore-warning would stop you from picking it up. Just remember that this isn't the girl in room 105 you are looking for.

(Rating - 2 out of 5 stars) Buy on Amazon


  1. But this fact can't be changed thattBhagat is young generation hero..

    1. Yes a hero who is accused by the #MeToo movement

  2. So this is another IIT love story. Thanks for the warning. 😄 I have read all his other books. But can't buy another geared-towards-Bollywood book!!

  3. Can you send me the book as pdf format bcz I want to read this
    I ordered already but flipkart can't deliver as my expectation date and time...
    Please sir
    My email id


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