Sunday, April 26, 2015


If I could, I'd read ghost stories every day.   

Every.  Damn.  Day.

Especially if it's a good one.  Not too scary, yet not absolutely terror-free.  

And it has to have a gothic flavor, even in a modern setting.  A twist ending is nice, too, but I'm asking for a lot as it is.

My fellow book blogger friend (and artist, I might add), Michelle, loaned me a copy of Lauren Oliver's new adult novel, 'Rooms', and I couldn't put it down.  

It wasn't a 'chilling' story, but it did have some suspenseful moments.  The ghosts weren't supernatural terrors (I rather missed that element); they were situated in a home in which they once lived and died.  They were stuck, with no way out.  Both ghosts were very introspective, and their histories made them somewhat tragic figures.

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

But they are not alone.  Alice and Sandra, two long-dead and restless ghosts, linger within the house's claustrophobic walls, bound forever to the structure. They observe the family, trading barbs and reminiscing about their past lives.

The living and the dead are haunted by painful truths that surface with explosive force. But when a new ghost appears and Trenton begins to communicate with it, the spirit and human worlds collide.

Author Lauren Oliver
Oliver is the author of Young Adult and Independent Reader novels (the 'Delirium' trilogy, and 'Liesl & Po', to name a few), and she has a talent for fleshing out characters that could easily be one-dimensional.  Despite their little faults (and nasty habit of keeping secrets from one another), I felt sympathy for each one. Caroline with her drinking, Trenton with his lack of friends, and Minna with her need for constant sexual intimacy. They are all seeking a way to escape, yet, at the same time, craving a sense of family.  The only character that's free of baggage is Amy, Minna's little daughter.  If given the chance, she would have provided great comic relief, something that the story really needed.  

We can't have everything, can we?  It isn't scary.  It didn't make me want to hide under the covers.

But it was a well-written, interesting story.  It flowed, and, as I said before, I honestly couldn't put it down; I was very upset that my coffee breaks only lasted fifteen minutes.

I will keep an eye on Oliver and see what she does next.  She has potential.

A great deal of potential.

'Rooms', written by Lauren Oliver, is available at your local library and favorite independent bookstore.  ISBN 978-0-06-222319-7


FotoJennic said...

OOOoo I'm sold!!! I wish there were enough ghost stories in the world to keep us both satisfied.... for a little while anyway ;) ~Jenn S

Jacki said...

As I mentioned in the review, it isn't a 'spooky scary' story, but it was good, nonetheless!