17
Apr
15

My Lauren Oliver experiment is officially over. CBR7 review 23.

Unknown-4I read this book almost a month ago, and am sadly realizing that I can barely remember anything about it. It had ghosts. It had a horrible, dysfunctional family. And it had a big, old house that brought them all together.

Did I like it? I honestly can’t remember how I felt about it at all.

Here’s what I do remember.

Longtime readers might recall that I have a weird obsession with Lauren Oliver. She wrote a gorgeous, brilliant debut (Before I Fall). It made me feel ALL of the feels. And then she followed it with a typical YA trilogy — it started strong, and got worse as each book progressed. By the end of the third book, I was pretty sure Before I Fall was a fluke, and I wanted to stab myself in the eye.

And then I read Panic. It wasn’t great, but it was much closer to the writing that had affected me way back when. Real dialogue and real teen problems. No dystopian rigmarole, no unrealistic love triangle, just people trying to deal with life. Much better.

So then I saw that Rooms was coming out, and that it was her first novel for adults. Why it was specifically tagged an adult book is a mystery, as a few of the main characters are teenagers, and the book has a definite YA feel to it. But I digress…

Rooms is about a house in rural New York, and the various people who have lived there over the years. The most recent occupant has just died, and his estranged family — ex wife, daughter, suicidal teenage son, and granddaughter– show up to take care of his estate and the arrangements for his funeral.

They have no idea that there are two ghosts — both of women who died in the house at different times and are stuck roaming the halls– are watching their every move.

Trenton, the suicidal teenager, recently had a near-death experience and realizes that he can sense and hear the ghosts, even though nobody else can.

Why are the ghosts stuck in the house? Why is this family so crazily screwed up? What’s up with the police search for the missing girl that’s happening at the same time?

I hated this family. They were all just the worst. But the ghosts? I didn’t mind them so much. Their back stories were far more interesting than those of the living characters. I enjoyed their chapters wayyyyyyy more.

So where does this book fall on the Lauren Oliver spectrum? Clearly, not even close to Before I Fall. And honestly, not even as good as Panic or Delirium. But far, far better than Pandemonium and Requiem.

She has a newer YA book out, Vanishing Girls. I don’t think I’m going to read this one. I’m announcing that my Lauren Oliver experiment is officially over.

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