Rooms - Lauren Oliver

This was an interesting premise, but ultimately a bit boring.


The problem was primarily that the dead characters were a lot more compelling than the living. Had they been more than just the half (probably less?) of the book that they ended up being, the book would have been much better for it. They are probably the reason that swayed me into giving this book three stars instead of two, which was my initial reaction.


It wasn't that badly written, but several of the characters were caricatures of certain vices, and it got old fast. We have an alcoholic and a nymphomaniac and a depressed teenager and a manic pixie dream girl (oh dear LORD how I hate those. I hate them I hate them I hate them) and they all just kind of wandered around never quite solving any real issues, unlike the dead cast. 


Alice and Sandra added both the dimensionality that I wanted to see in all the characters and the hints of mystery. What happened to these women? Why are they haunting the house? They are also (curiously enough, given they are dead) the only characters that show real growth throughout.


I feel like perhaps this book was two stories sewn together, but unfortunately it just didn't work very well. One of the stories was much more fleshed out than the other, and contained actual characters, so the other just felt like the backdrop. Perhaps the author was trying to say something about being alive not being the same as living? Or perhaps it was just a clever idea that didn't work out well; that honestly seems more likely.


Don't go into this expecting any scares--this is not a horror haunted house story. It is much more introspective, and if you don't mind the caricatures that the living characters represent, then it isn't a bad read, just not a great one.