“Rooms” by Lauren Oliver (2014)
Genre: Fiction. Fantasy, Paranormal, Mystery
Page Length: 320 pages (hardcover edition)
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. (description from Goodreads)
“Rooms” is definitely not your typical ghost story. Rather than hitting you with thrills and chills, it slowly builds up a massive amount of mystery and suspense that leads to a climatic ending. I won’t lie though, for the first 50 pages of the novel, I was kind of bored because it was so slow moving =. I thought it was going to be your typical “bump in the night!” ghost story, but as my statement above says, that’s definitely not the case.
The novel focuses on ghosts in a supernatural way, but the theme puts a heavy emphasis on the metaphorical term “ghost”as well. The dysfunctional family that is portrayed in the story is inevitably brought together by death and even though they try to put on a “happy face” for one another it’s clear they are trying to run from the “ghosts” that haunt their past.
I also really enjoyed the characters of Alice and Sandra. Even though they are presented as these dead women who helplessly watch life from inside the wall, they have more power than you think. Their intriguing personalities is part of what pulls the readers into the story.Plus they have these sad stories that reel you into their characters and give them a background to why they’re still attached to the house.
An innovative ghost story that is suspenseful. 4 out of 5 stars!