Book Recommendation: Rooms

It’s a tree house! Get it? GET IT?

Everyone has a type. They could like dark and brooding. Or smart and funny. Or sweet and romantic.

My type is ghosts.

What? I was talking about books.

Statement: I love ghost stories. I was thoroughly terrified by the Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark series (those illustrations!). I said “Bloody Mary” three times in a mirror at night, and then almost pissed myself in fear. I loved the show So WeirdI watch the Ghost Hunter shows and simultaneously laugh and get freaked out. I saw The Grudge and was afraid to shower for weeks. I occasionally think my house is haunted.

(And now I really want to do a ghost walk, because it’s my favorite Fall activity)

So when I heard about Lauren Oliver’s new novel, Rooms, I got really really excited.

Here’s the blurb:

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.

To which I say a resounding, “YAAASSSS!”

What Intrigued Me: Rooms takes a very gothic concept, bereaved relations inheriting a haunted house, and modernizes it. The children who inherit the house are not sad, unfortunate Jane Eyre-types. Yes, they’re damaged, but it’s made them mean and hard. They aren’t particularly well-meaning. And they ain’t afraid of no ghost.

What Hooked Me: Sandra, one of the ghosts haunting the house. Sandra appears with a punch–betting how Richard Walker will die–and doesn’t hold back through the rest of the novel. She’s snarky and critical about her living roommates which, honestly, anyone else would be in the same situation. She’s the best kind of ghost, a very human one.

What Made Me Fall In Love: In most ghost stories, the ghost is a single entity, vaguely human shaped, who is sometimes there, sometimes not. In Rooms, the ghosts are the house. The house is the ghosts. It’s the idea that places have history, and have absorbed what’s happened there over time. That the old house sounds are voices from the past trying to break through. There’s something comforting about the idea.

Oh Box Ghost, I miss you most of all

Rooms is available September 23 from Amazon and your local haunted bookshop. Scare up a copy quickly!


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