Rooms by Lauren Oliver

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Rooms by Lauren Oliver

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Category: General Fiction
Rating: 4.5/5
Reviewer: Luke Marlowe
Reviewed by Luke Marlowe
Summary: Renowned YA Fiction writer Lauren Oliver makes her adult début - with captivating characters, a brilliant concept, and a haunting plot that subverts expectations and avoids cliché at all times. A stunning read.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 339 Date: September 2014
Publisher: Hodder and Stoughton
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 9781444760767

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Alice and Sandra are dead. Ghosts trapped in the house they lived and died in, they have bickered and squabbled for years. Distraction for them comes in the form of a real, live family - Caroline, her daughter Minna, son Trenton, and Minna's daughter Amy. Arriving to mourn and sort affairs following the death of Minna and Trenton's father, arguments and old wounds soon open up.

Lauren Oliver is a best selling writer of Young Adult fiction - Before I Fall and Delirium were both best sellers, and well reviewed to boot. She launches into the world of adult fiction with Rooms, a book that takes a tale about ghosts, and makes it completely relatable whilst gripping and, of course, haunting. All of the characters featured (save for the children), spend most of the book worrying about their own problems - in the hands of a weaker writer they would come across as horribly selfish.

Oliver's skill is such that all of these characters are both vivid, and immensely familiar - most of us will have felt the awkward pain of being a teenager like Trenton, the anguish Minna feels in grieving for someone who was often absent, or the pain that Caroline feels in missing someone who betrayed her. And that's not to say that the ghosts don't receive attention too - the stories of Alice and Sandra unfold slowly through flashback, and as each mystery is solved, another is revealed.

This book grips hard - it's impossible to put down, and there is no lull - the pacing is perfect. The transition from young adult writing to adult fiction is seamless, and the adult themes touched upon are done so with a deft touch.

It's hard not to feel connected to this book - anyone who has ever felt loss, grief, or teenage anguish will know what all these characters are going through, and will root for them no matter what stupid decisions they make. No ghost story clichés are to be found here, but this tale haunts far more than most spine tinglers.

Lauren Oliver is clearly a writer of immense talent - the ending of this book made me cry, and I'm still not entirely sure if it was due to the emotional ending, or the fact that I was finishing this brilliant book. I'll be recommending it to anyone and everyone - so thank you to the publishers for sending a copy.

For those wishing to read more by the author (I shall certainly be doing so!), Delirium seems a great place to start. For another fantastic example of a family dealing with grief and buried secrets, Notes From An Exhibition by Patrick Gale is a must read.

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Buy Rooms by Lauren Oliver at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Rooms by Lauren Oliver at Amazon currently charges £2.99 for standard delivery for orders under £20, over which delivery is free.
Buy Rooms by Lauren Oliver at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Rooms by Lauren Oliver at


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