Thursday, September 25, 2014

Review: ROOMS by Lauren Oliver

Title: Rooms
Author: Lauren Oliver
Published: September 23rd, 2014
Series: N/A
Genre: Adult Paranormal
POV: 1st & 3rd, multiple
Pages: 320
Publisher: Ecco
Format: Print ARC
Source: Vine Program
Rating: The Royal Library, Bottom Shelf

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.

I've been a fan of Lauren Oliver's work since I was fortunate enough to receive an advanced review of her debut, Before I Fall. Since then, I've devoured all of her books, and happily purchased them so I could savor her writing style. Oliver has a way with words, and the ability to evoke strong emotions through her work. Rooms, Oliver's first adult novel, does not disappoint, but it also did not quite live up to my expectations. 

Told in the first person POV's of Alice and Sandra (ghosts in the recently deceased Richard Walker's house), and in third person POV's from Walker's ex-wife Caroline, his daughter Minna, his son Trenton, and granddaughter Amy. Needless to say, there's a lot switching between characters and POV style, and yet Oliver never lets it become confusing. Each character has their own specific tone, and way of thinking / speaking. And, they each have their own secrets, which are quickly unraveled as the new living residents clear out the rooms of this old house.

Highlights: Evocative and gritty, Oliver displays her characters as who they are - they try to keep up appearances, but underneath, they are broken or breaking. None of them are perfect, and only little Amy seems to be the purest, sweetest of them all. The secrets uncovered at the end were heartbreaking, and made the rest of the story make sense as the pieces of the puzzle came together.

Lowlights: I felt distanced from the characters. I'm used to getting swept up in Oliver's work, so that distance was unfortunate. I know that Oliver can write unlikable characters and still make me care (such as in Before I Fall), but with Rooms, I found myself growing bored with the story and characters. The only reason I didn't stop reading was because I wanted to see how it ended, and because I enjoy the way Oliver writes. 

Rating: The Royal Library, Bottom Shelf (low 4 out of 5). I highly enjoyed Rooms, but I was expecting a bit more from a Lauren Oliver novel. Regardless, this story is definitely worth checking out. 

My Reviews Of Other Works By Lauren Oliver

I received an advanced copy of this novel for review consideration 
This is in no way affected my opinion of this novel.


  1. I really liked Before I Fall and Delirium but I'm not sure I'd like this one because of the ghosts. I do enjoy Lauren Oliver's writing style but the unlikable characters also makes me think I better pass on reading Rooms.

    I've noticed that sometimes when an author goes from writing for teens to writing for adults it may not be as good or at least it will be very different so I have to have different expectations. I love Rainbow Rowell's books for teens but her books for adults didn't wow me in the same way.

  2. I am totally intrigued by the idea of ghosts and the premise of the story, but if you had a hard time getting completely absorbed by the characters, then I might as well! I think I will check this one out from the library, because, like you, I love Oliver's writing style. Thanks for the honest review!

  3. I really like your 'highlight' and 'low-light' format. Let's me see both the positives and negatives in an organized manner. :) One of my biggest reservations about this book is the lack of connection you seem to form with the characters. For me to enjoy a book, that's the most important!

    Amber Elise @Du Livre

  4. Evocative and gritty sounds right up my alley, and I did enjoy her debut

  5. I've only read her middle grade book, Liesel & Po, and I liked it but I didn't find it memorable. :S But ROOMS sounds like something I could potentially love. Thanks for the review :D

  6. Great review sweetie. <3 I'm glad you enjoyed this book :) But aw, I'm sorry you didn't love it. Not feeling for the characters is just the worst. I'm not able to love a book when that happens :p I'm curious about Rooms, but not ready for adult books yet :D Thank you for sharing your awesome review. <3 :)

  7. I'm a big fan of Lauren Oliver's. LOVED Before I Fall and her Delirium trilogy. Been curious about her first adult release. Glad that the usual Oliver writing style shines through still, though a shame that you felt distanced from the characters. Hope I receive it a bit better when I eventually get around to it! Nice review~

  8. Good review! Have read Lauren Oliver's previous work and I'll be giving this one a chance soon. :)