The New York Times bestselling author of Before I Fall and the Deliriumtrilogy 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 – Goodreads
Rooms is one of those books and I wanted a handful of my friends to read so that we could discuss it to make sure I got everything. This book will not make everyone happy, particularly those who are expecting Rooms to be like the author’s young adult novels. This is sexier, it is grittier, and while YA novels can definitely be all those things, this feels like an adult novel, not like Oliver’s former YA novels.
Rooms is the story of the Walker family who is forced to go back to the family estate after the death of the patriarch. His estraged family really stopped caring about him and are really only there for the inheritance. Told through various points of view, including two ghost Rooms is a haunting tale about what secrets to not only to a person, but also to a family. And what it takes to not only accept those secrets, but to also move on from them. How it’s often far harder than it should be. However, one of the problems with Rooms is the fact that there are so many points of views, it was hard to get a feel on any one character because you weren’t with them long enough to truly form an opinion. I was often bored with the characters, while the writing often had this poetic feel to it, the characters never did. Also, often the secrets never felt like these giant secrets to me. I understand why they would effect a family, but I didn’t understand why the family would tear apart in this particular way. I understood that by themselves the family had a lot they had to work through: alcohol, sex, suicide, but to me nothing felt like this giant secret that it was supposed to.
Rooms is Lauren Oliver’s first foray into the adult genre and her writing does not disappoint. The book itself however is another matter. Rooms is a novel about secrets and how secrets not only change a person, but how a person has to move on them no matter how much they hurt. While the novel was beautifully written in Oliver’s beautiful prose, this is a very firm adult novel that her young adult readers will want to remember.