3.9 15
by Lauren Oliver

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After a number of highly acclaimed New York Times bestsellers, including the Delirium trilogy and the standalone novels Before I Fall and Panic, Lauren Oliver returns with a spellbinding tale that confirms her place as one of our finest storytellers. Fueled by the same inspired feel for plot and character that drew readers to Oliver's earlier

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After a number of highly acclaimed New York Times bestsellers, including the Delirium trilogy and the standalone novels Before I Fall and Panic, Lauren Oliver returns with a spellbinding tale that confirms her place as one of our finest storytellers. Fueled by the same inspired feel for plot and character that drew readers to Oliver's earlier works, Rooms is a mesmerizing and suspenseful story of guilt, love, and family secrets.

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

But the Walkers are not alone. Alice and Sandra, two long-dead and restless ghosts, linger within the house's claustrophobic walls, bound eternally to its physical structure. Jostling for space and memory, 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 lightbulb.

The living and dead are haunted by painful truths that 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.

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Editorial Reviews

—Lev Grossman
“A chilling ghost story, and much, much more: Rooms is a magnificent gothic fugue on the themes of longing and buried secrets.”-Lev Grossman, bestselling author of The Magicians Trilogy
Library Journal
Oliver has already triumphed in the YA arena with Before I Fall and the "Delirium" trilogy; her first novel for adults has already been called "a magnificent gothic fugue on the themes of longing and buried secrets" by Time critic Lev Grossman, author of "The Magicians" trilogy. After Richard Walker dies, his embittered ex-wife and two sullen children arrive at his overstuffed mansion to claim their inheritance. The house also comes with two ghosts who exchange observations that no one can hear—until a new ghost starts communing with Walker's son. With a 150,000-copy first printing.
Kirkus Reviews
A smoky and realistic ghost story that subverts cliché. This first adult novel from Oliver (Panic, 2013, etc.), a best-selling writer for teens, has two standard horror tales at its foundation. First, a ghost story in which the ghosts can't leave the house but don't know why. Second, an estranged family story in which the ex-husband dies, leaving his alcoholic ex-wife, angry daughter and disaffected teen son to clean out their former home, not knowing that it's haunted. When the stories collide, they make a novel that's greater than the sum of its parts. The ghosts and people here have a surprising amount in common—on both sides of the veil, there is pain, regret and a lot of irritation with one's counterparts. That the book succeeds is due in large part to Oliver's characters. Though some are flat in internal monologue, most come to life when interacting with each other, as Oliver's ear for dialogue is finely tuned. She's able to take the tropes of the traditional ghost story and give them new energy by creating ghosts who are realistic but still terrifyingly paranormal. The story is well-served by Oliver's sense of drama, though she seems unable to resist ending each chapter with some sort of meaningful cliffhanger, like "I pretended not to notice his wedding ring the whole time." These touches aren't necessary, thanks to her careful unfolding of each character's secret, and weaken an otherwise compelling set of stories. Nevertheless, the book is a page-turner. This satisfying novel will be enjoyed by Oliver's fans and bring new ones to the fold.
Publishers Weekly
★ 06/02/2014
YA-bestseller Oliver’s (Before I Fall) assured adult debut skillfully weaves an innovative ghost story into a nuanced domestic drama. Upon Richard Walker’s death, his scattered family returns to clear out his house, which they hope to inherit. His ex-wife, Caroline, soothes bad marital memories with alcohol. His grown daughter, Minna, brings along her own six-year-old daughter, Amy, and a deep-seated resentment of her father, while his suicidal son, Trenton, struggles with teenage angst in the aftermath of a debilitating car accident. Trenton first senses the haunting presence of others in the home. The spirits of Alice and Sandra, two women who lived in the house at different times, now find themselves confined there together, squabbling with each other as they watch the family cope with Richard’s messy legacy. Soon a new female spirit close to Trenton’s age enters the house, and Alice conceives a dangerous plan to free herself of its prison. Oliver makes vivid use of both dead and living characters—all of whom are trapped in the past and striving toward a happier existence—to narrate her intricate, suspenseful story. The house’s breathing residents and ghosts alike find freedom, and the story culminates with an ending that arrives in dramatic and surprising ways. (Sept.)
New York Times
“…in this spectral soap opera there’s fun to be had as the plot’s many traps are set and then snapped shut.”
W Magazine
“A spirited new novel.”
Wall Street Journal
“Best-selling young adult novelist Lauren Oliver, author of Before I Fall and the Delirium trilogy, enters new territory with Rooms, her first novel for adults—though spooky supernatural elements remain.”
Top 10 Books for September 2014 Washingtonian
“[A] fantastic ghost story…. Highly recommend.”
“ROOMS is, overall, a very successful work, and an impressive demonstration of Oliver’s craft.”
O magazine
“In Oliver’s moody and mysterious novel, a pair of ghosts inhabits the house of the recently deceased Richard Walker and serves as an invisible chorus to his family’s bleak memories and motivations.”
“Oliver’s first adult novel is packed with complex, flawed characters, and she manages to turn the ghosts’ observations into a story about how people are haunted by memories. It’s like a Wes Anderson movie in book form, with ghosts.”
San Francisco Chronicle
“Lauren Oliver leaves the young-adult realm with her latest novel, in which the living and dead intersect, and family secrets are unearthed when you least expect it.”
“[Oliver’s] first novel for adults, Rooms, is a ghost story, but is completely unlike any we’ve read before… an elegant blend of real and supernatural worlds.”
Washington Independent Review of Books
“Oliver skillfully weaves her tales together clearly and cleanly… The real strength of this novel is Oliver’s knack for rendering charmingly flawed characters with real-life problems and complicated relationships… Oliver’s prose is crisp and clean; it gives the book much of its energy.”
New York Times Book Review
“Pleasantly spooky.”
Us Weekly
“A family faces its demons-such as sex addiction and alcoholism-when they gather after Dad’s death. (Adding stress: His house has ghosts!) A complex first adult novel from the Delirium writer.”
Dallas Morning News
“[Oliver] turns triumphantly to adult fiction with her latest, Rooms… The last 50 pages of Rooms are as devastatingly emotional as any book I’ve recently encountered… For a thriller, that’s as strong a recommendation as I can make.”
Chicago Now
“[A] sweet-but-sad-totally-engrossing-reading-at-stop-lights-in-the-car kind of tale… A fabulous read-good for a mature tween straight on up.”

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Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
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Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 1.05(d)

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Rooms: A Novel 3.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 15 reviews.
AdamSilvera More than 1 year ago
When I heard ghosts would be (partially) narrating "Rooms" I thought I was in for in a tale of vengeance or some human/ghost buddy cop journey toward resolution so the ghost can move on to the afterlife. But being familiar with Lauren Oliver's previous novels I should've known she'd defy convention and breathe new life to ghost stories. The ghosts in the novel, Alice and Sandra, are former residents of the house they inhabit. Alice and Sandra died in the house much like the most recent resident, Richard Walker, who has just died when the book begins. Richard's family (ex-wife, teenage son, unforgiving daughter) show up to collect their inheritance and clean the home, which is the setting for the entire book. Oliver divides the book by room, and manages her entire cast seamlessly as they explore each section. The narrators are all so well-developed anyone could've been "the main character" which is an enviable feat. I'm personally partial to Alice and Sandra because their histories captivated me, but Trenton (the teenage son) was another favorite. The prose evokes humanity in each character and is simply damn beautiful. What really drives the novel along to its glowing finish is an unearthed family secret and the appearance of a new ghost (spoiler: not Richard Walker, it's much cooler than that). A good pick for fans of Neil Gaiman's "The Ocean at the End of the Lane" and readers who are ready to welcome a ghost story into their homes that will haunt them in a truly unique way.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I returned this book. It was not what I expected from the description. The writing style was poor. I would not recommend reading.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I was intrigued because this book got pretty good reviews, but I thought it was weird. Definitely not worth the $13.59 it cost for the nook book. The story itself was interesting enough but the characters left me feeling like I needed a bath. I didn't hate it, but wouldn't recommend it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
If you are looking for your typical scary haunted house story, do not get this book. This story is so much more than that. It is beautiful story about the ghosts and people who dwell together and how some of us can so easily get lost and how everyone deserves to be heard. I would have given it five stars but the writing got a bit sloppy at the end.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Good read
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Favorite book by lauren oliver
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I loved this book and the way it is completely different from everything I have ever read
Sandy5 More than 1 year ago
A death has occurred and the family has now returned to settle the estate. The estranged spouse and grown children have now returned to their childhood home to see what their father has left for them. Walking throughout the structure brings back memories, some pleasant and other not so pleasing but it is the other guests who cannot be seen who bring life to the story. As the individuals open the door, you can feel the hostility and the bitterness as they walk through the two-story home. There seems to be no sorrow for the loss of a life but more resentment for the task for which is now presented to them. I felt anger and frustrated, for this was their father/ex-husband and this was the feeling that they harbored towards him. What happened to cause such feelings and why did he left this mess, I had to know. As the tale progresses, each chapter is told by different individuals some living and some not. The ghosts tell another side to the story which the human characters do not reveal, it is their honesty and their reflecting back into the past that lets us see how all the individuals were really like and paints for us a true picture. Trenton, I felt for his boy, he really is searching for something or someone and I don’t think his family is the answer. When I think of ghosts, I think of séances in dark rooms with candles, holding hands and calling for those in the world beyond and they attempt this in the book. They try to talk to the ghosts and they get is the one part that I loved, the one part that I had been waiting for. I was hoping this book would be more chilling, more creepy but it more a story, a tale that told of people bringing their lives together once more under one roof with all their issues. Their problems then escalated, everyone pointing their fingers, within a house that is possessed with its own secrets.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous 26 days ago
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