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Rooms by Lauren Oliver
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Rooms (2014)

by Lauren Oliver

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4503523,201 (3.49)20
  1. 01
    The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson (sturlington)
    sturlington: Rooms is not as scary as Hill house, but it did remind me of a more modern version of the story.
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» See also 20 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 35 (next | show all)
Much like the haunted house in which it takes place, "Rooms" as a narrative exercise is doomed to go up in flames based on its rickety foundation, but the parts that work are splendidly inflammatory, thanks to the voices of its anchoring ghosts, Alice and Sandra. I would love to read a book written entirely from their viewpoints, but in order for Lauren Oliver's narrative construct to work, she had to use the dreaded "front story/back story" device, a la A.S. Byatt's equally enthralling and irritating "Possession." Sadly, front story characters are never as intriguing as back story ones, and often seem to exist purely to create a sense of depth and grandiosity so that reviewers can praise the book as a "a bracing meditation on time and loss" instead of "a crackerjack evocation of a feisty alcoholic and a melancholy fantasy novelist trading jabs for eternity in limbo." I would've read the latter book and loved it, but Lauren Oliver glommed an absurdly dysfunctional family onto the plot to give things a sense of scale, so I went with it. And while I didn't hate Minna, Trenton, and Caroline (Trenton's adolescent angst is quite well done, and much grittier than you would expect from a YA writer, i.e., this book doesn't feel like it was written for teenagers), I kept wishing that they would go away so I could hear more stories from Alice and Sandra. When it works, however, "Rooms" has the same sort of aching quality as David Lowery's film "A Ghost Story." I'm rooting for Lauren Oliver to continue mining this darkness in another adult novel. ( )
  coltonium | Sep 26, 2017 |
I gave up. I couldn't follow it at all, and every character was miserable. ( )
  HeatherMoss | Sep 1, 2017 |
Rooms was an excellent read, especially around Halloween. Definitely not your typical ghost story, and weaves some interesting family elements into the story. Highly recommend. ( )
  kelseymorgan88 | Jul 21, 2017 |
Unlike Lauren Oliver's previous books, this book was much harder for me to get through. I ended up putting it down multiple times before finishing it.

Here's a quick recap of the story without any spoilers:

We are first introduced to two "individuals" whose purpose we don't really know until we get further along into the book. But we are introduced to Trenton, Mina and their mother, Caroline, who have returned to a house that they once called their home. Trenton and Mina's father, Richard, has passed away and they are back to finalize everything. However, each of them individually carry their own secrets and are internally battling their own turmoils. None of them are willing to let the others in on what's going on and they aren't even aware of what's going on with one another because they are so focused on their own pain and sufferings. We learn that Trenton was recently in a car accident and has not been the same since. Trenton is a loner, an outcast, and enters his father's house with the mission of committing suicide. Throughout the book, we find him figuring out ways and the reasons for his suicide. Then we have Minna, who is Trenton's older sister and someone he was once very close to, but she is too focused on her own demons to have time for him or his problems. Minna uses her body as a shield and finds brief comfort through sex, but even that isn't enough to mask her suffering anymore. Then we have Caroline, Trenton and Minna's mother, who never stopped loving Trenton's father but can't and won't admit that to any one let alone her herself. Once she discovers that Richard may have had a lover, she is obsessed with finding out who this Adrienne is and starts calling a number that she found on the internet belonging to an Adrienne living in the area. Caroline becomes obsess with wanting and not wanting to know who this Adrienne is and what she meant to Richard. All three (both here and the after here) must come to terms with the lies they've told themselves and one another and try to figure out how to move forward.

The first few chapters of the book were a bit confusing at first, not knowing what was going on and how these other two characters fit into the story. I did enjoy how the story developed and getting to know Alice and Sandra as the story moved along. However, not sure if it's the way the story was laid out but it wasn't very seamless and I had difficulty keeping up with Alice and Sandra until well into the middle of the book. It may have to do with the fact that we don't really get to know them and their purpose until we get closer to the end. I just found the first two thirds of the book to be a bit lackluster and the character annoying. Now the last third of book we start to see the lives of these characters unravel and that's when the story gets interesting.

I like the idea of the story, not that this is an original idea or anything but I did enjoy how they were all interconnected. I wouldn't say this is Lauren Oliver's best effort and compared to her other books it wasn't as beautifully written. I really enjoy Before I Fall, the Delirium Trilogy and even Panic wasn't all that bad when I read it earlier this year. However, this book just fell a bit flat for me and though I enjoyed the ending, even that seem to have fallen flat with very little resolutions. I typically don't mind if books lack resolutions because I know in reality not everything gets resolved but the ending felt rushed and incomplete. I don't think it's a book I would have picked up if I hadn't read Lauren Oliver's other books and enjoyed them. ( )
  jthao_02 | May 18, 2017 |
Rooms by Lauren Oliver
2.5 Stars

From The Book:
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.

My Views:
This was actually a very quick read but it seemed to go on forever as far as I was concerned. It seems that this author is better known for her young adult novels and this was her first book away from that category. It wasn't a terrible book but the kindest thing I can say about "Rooms" is that it bored me 98% of the time.

The characters were all maladjusted...not the type of people you would want to call your friends...not even the dead ones. I believe I came to this book expecting from the description a bit more of a ghost story. I prefer more detailed plots in my "hauntings" but I tried very hard not to make the comparison to those by Stephen King or Dean Koontz. I found the idea intriguing but must admit I found it difficult to understand just where the story was going. ( )
  Carol420 | May 10, 2017 |
Showing 1-5 of 35 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Lauren Oliverprimary authorall editionscalculated
Chong, Suet YeeDesignersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Wood, SaraCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
Rooms

Rooms I (I will not say
worked in) once heard in.  Words
my mouth heard
then-be
with me.  Rooms,
you oppen onto one
another: still house
this life, be in me
when I leave

-Franz Wright
Dedication
To the brilliant Lexa Hillyer, for her support, friendship, and many glasses of wine
First words
The fire begins in the basement.
Quotations
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Book description
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.
Haiku summary
As we move from room
To room, the living and the
Dead reveal secrets.
(passion4reading)

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