When Richard Walker dies, his ex-wife Caroline and two kids, Minna & Trenton, return to their former home to tie up loose ends and collect their inheritance. Each of them battling their own demons, not realizing that they are not alone. Alice and Sandra, two restless ghosts that are tied to the house observe the living that pass through the halls, being heard only by the creaks and groans in an old home.
I loved the set-up of this novel. Each section is named for one of the rooms in the house, and the action revolves around that particular area. Jumping between a variety of narrators, this allowed for different points of view, and some cheeky “outsider” commentary from the ghosts looking in giving greater meaning to “if these walls could talk.” None of the narrators were perfect. They were all flawed and, as mentioned, battling their own inner demons. This made for a very interesting and dimensional cast of characters.
The plot gradually unfolds as the stories of its inhabitants get unveiled and realized. While there was one moment that, to me, didn’t seem clear whether there was any significance to it or not, overall everyone’s history and memories were woven so intimately. Yes, it was a story about the lives of all those characters but it felt more like the life story about the house itself. All the beings that have walked through those doors and down those halls. Oliver takes a unique spin on a ghost story, where it isn’t just the ghosts that can haunt a location but one’s memories as well.
Having been familiar with Oliver’s young adult books, I was excited to read her debut adult novel and it certainly falls under that category. I definitely enjoyed Rooms and am looking forward to future adult novels by Oliver. I would caution Oliver’s younger fans of her Delirium series (or her middle grade books) that some of the content in this one may not be appropriate.