Rooms by Lauren Oliver

Before I start, I should probably tell you that I buy everything Lauren Oliver writes, usually without knowing anything but that the book exists.  So I have all of her books in one form or another.  I have to say, though, that I was more intrigued than usual when I saw that Rooms was written for adults.  I love it when authors do something different, and when an amazing YA author branches out into a whole other genre, I’m a happy reader.

These kinds of genre jumps are often hit or miss.  And sometimes they’re misses more due to our expectations rather than the fabulousness or awfulness of the new book.  I’ll admit I wasn’t quite sure about Rooms until I got about a third of the way through it.  The story is very complicated, with four different plot lines, all intertwined in interesting ways.  But once I got into it, I was hooked.

The Walkers are one messed up family.  And the ghosts that inhabit the late patriarch’s home are just as (and perhaps more) messed up, after so many years floating about the rooms (see, that’s where the title comes from) of the house.  They go a bit nuts after a few decades.  Where the stories converge is when Richard (said patriarch) dies and his wife and children come to his home to clean it out and hear the reading of the will.  It really gets interesting when Trenton (the son) starts hearing and seeing the ghosts.

Rooms is about the secrets we keep and what they do to us.  Every single (significant) character has at least one terrible secret.  Most of them are also pretty unlikeable.  But I cared about them (strangely), like I did the characters in Wicked Lovely by Melissa Marr.  I think it’s a sign of an excellent story and writer when I manage to care about particularly awful characters.

Well done, Lauren.  Now I’m off to read my advance copy of Vanishing Girls in preparation for meeting you at a signing at Blue Willow Bookstore in Houston.  Squee!

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