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Monday, September 29, 2014
Rooms
By Lauren Oliver

Published by Ecco
Publication Date: September 23, 2014
Copy received from: Publisher at BEA
My Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆

The New York Times bestselling author of Before I Fall and the Delirium trilogy makes her brilliant adult debut with this mesmerizing story in the tradition of The Lovely Bones, Her Fearful Symmetry, and The Ocean at the End of the Lane—a tale of family, ghosts, secrets, and mystery, in which the lives of the living and the dead intersect in shocking, surprising, and moving ways

Wealthy Richard Walker has just died, leaving behind his country house full of rooms packed with the detritus of a lifetime. His estranged family—bitter ex-wife Caroline, troubled teenage son Trenton, and unforgiving daughter Minna—have arrived for their inheritance.

But the Walkers are not alone. Prim Alice and the cynical Sandra, long dead former residents bound to the house, linger within its claustrophobic walls. Jostling for space, memory, and supremacy, they observe the family, trading barbs and reminiscences about their past lives. Though their voices cannot be heard, Alice and Sandra speak through the house itself—in the hiss of the radiator, a creak in the stairs, the dimming of a light bulb.

The living and dead are each haunted by painful truths that will soon surface with explosive force. When a new ghost appears, and Trenton begins to communicate with her, the spirit and human worlds collide—with cataclysmic results.


Elegantly constructed and brilliantly paced, Rooms is an enticing and imaginative ghost story and a searing family drama that is as haunting as it is resonant.

Review: This melancholy gothic tale features ghosts, and uncanny happenings, but the horrors are very much based in reality. The ghosts are not what the Walker family is primarily haunted by, it’s the horror and disappointments in their lives.. A sense of sadness permeates the novel as characters, both living and dead, are forced to reveal their secrets and deal with their grief, not only over death, but the loss of innocence, love, potential, and hope. Loneliness is also prevalent, whether the loneliness of death or the loneliness that comes from holding in a terrible secret.

        One of my favorite aspects of this story is the structure: the novel is divided into sections each featuring a room of the house. Over the course of this section, the characters, whether the remaining members of the Walker family or the two ghostly former residents, confront the memories of events that have taken place in that room, things they have kept hidden from their loved ones or refused to admit, even to themselves. Be warned: suicide, domestic abuse, and child molestation are all included in the house’s history.

       As far as the characters inhabiting this haunted house, I can’t say I found them likable but I did empathize with their grief and understood their various ways of coping. They have all been hurt by life and, when it comes to the Walker family, this damage has prevented them from connecting with each other. Even the ghost characters felt very real, flawed in a way that doesn’t leave much room for likability but is interesting and honest.

I do have one or two nitpicks: one being the teen girl character that appears out of nowhere so that Trenton has someone outside of the house to interact with, the second being the suddenness with which some later revelations are made: to the point where I was wondering if my ARC was missing pages. But these are minor, and on the whole I found this story engaging. There are no easy solutions to the Walker family’s problems, but they do unburden themselves of the weight of what’s haunting them and there is a sort of catharsis. A definite recommended read for those looking for a more contemplative haunted house story.

1 comments:

JaimeLH TheWorldfortheReading said...

Super excited for this one! I wish I had an ARC :D I wanna see this room-to-room writing, it must be pretty hard to limit oneself so much.
You can come by the blog tomorrow to read a short Q&A with Lauren ;)

Monday, September 29, 2014

Review: Rooms by Lauren Oliver

Rooms
By Lauren Oliver

Published by Ecco
Publication Date: September 23, 2014
Copy received from: Publisher at BEA
My Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆

The New York Times bestselling author of Before I Fall and the Delirium trilogy makes her brilliant adult debut with this mesmerizing story in the tradition of The Lovely Bones, Her Fearful Symmetry, and The Ocean at the End of the Lane—a tale of family, ghosts, secrets, and mystery, in which the lives of the living and the dead intersect in shocking, surprising, and moving ways

Wealthy Richard Walker has just died, leaving behind his country house full of rooms packed with the detritus of a lifetime. His estranged family—bitter ex-wife Caroline, troubled teenage son Trenton, and unforgiving daughter Minna—have arrived for their inheritance.

But the Walkers are not alone. Prim Alice and the cynical Sandra, long dead former residents bound to the house, linger within its claustrophobic walls. Jostling for space, memory, and supremacy, they observe the family, trading barbs and reminiscences about their past lives. Though their voices cannot be heard, Alice and Sandra speak through the house itself—in the hiss of the radiator, a creak in the stairs, the dimming of a light bulb.

The living and dead are each haunted by painful truths that will soon surface with explosive force. When a new ghost appears, and Trenton begins to communicate with her, the spirit and human worlds collide—with cataclysmic results.


Elegantly constructed and brilliantly paced, Rooms is an enticing and imaginative ghost story and a searing family drama that is as haunting as it is resonant.

Review: This melancholy gothic tale features ghosts, and uncanny happenings, but the horrors are very much based in reality. The ghosts are not what the Walker family is primarily haunted by, it’s the horror and disappointments in their lives.. A sense of sadness permeates the novel as characters, both living and dead, are forced to reveal their secrets and deal with their grief, not only over death, but the loss of innocence, love, potential, and hope. Loneliness is also prevalent, whether the loneliness of death or the loneliness that comes from holding in a terrible secret.

        One of my favorite aspects of this story is the structure: the novel is divided into sections each featuring a room of the house. Over the course of this section, the characters, whether the remaining members of the Walker family or the two ghostly former residents, confront the memories of events that have taken place in that room, things they have kept hidden from their loved ones or refused to admit, even to themselves. Be warned: suicide, domestic abuse, and child molestation are all included in the house’s history.

       As far as the characters inhabiting this haunted house, I can’t say I found them likable but I did empathize with their grief and understood their various ways of coping. They have all been hurt by life and, when it comes to the Walker family, this damage has prevented them from connecting with each other. Even the ghost characters felt very real, flawed in a way that doesn’t leave much room for likability but is interesting and honest.

I do have one or two nitpicks: one being the teen girl character that appears out of nowhere so that Trenton has someone outside of the house to interact with, the second being the suddenness with which some later revelations are made: to the point where I was wondering if my ARC was missing pages. But these are minor, and on the whole I found this story engaging. There are no easy solutions to the Walker family’s problems, but they do unburden themselves of the weight of what’s haunting them and there is a sort of catharsis. A definite recommended read for those looking for a more contemplative haunted house story.

1 comment:

  1. Super excited for this one! I wish I had an ARC :D I wanna see this room-to-room writing, it must be pretty hard to limit oneself so much.
    You can come by the blog tomorrow to read a short Q&A with Lauren ;)

    ReplyDelete

Thank you, comments are appreciated :)