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A Room on Lorelei Street

3.52  ·  Rating Details  ·  564 Ratings  ·  78 Reviews
Zoe's arms prickle. She turns, trying to take it all in. The ache inside returns. It is not for her. It is too much. A real room with real floors and walls. A room for sleeping, and reading and dancing and . . . in her imagination she has pictured the room, but she has never pictured herself in it.

Can seventeen-year-old Zoe make it on her own?

A room is not much. It is not
Hardcover, 266 pages
Published June 1st 2005 by Henry Holt and Co. (BYR)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,453)
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Feb 10, 2010 Anna rated it did not like it
Something's off about this book. I picked it up four times and really wanted to like it yet each time I found myself feeling so bored and totally disconnected from the novel. I think I dislike that it's written from third person point of view rather than first, which would probably work a lot better. Zoe, the main character, feels way too distant and the others in the book (Mama, Grandma, Opal, Zoe's brother) barely feel like characters. They almost seemed like props in the background. I wanted ...more
Apr 07, 2008 Zhiqing rated it it was ok
17 year old Zoe moved out of the house she shared with her alcoholic mother, rented a room from an eccentric lady on Lorelei street, and tried to make it on her own while joggling between school, sports, work and family obligations.

I really wanted to like this book more and wish I could feel more sympathetic towards Zoe, but I was not moved by her dire situation in life somehow. The author doesn't seem to have enough material to build the story on and thus has to rely on her writing skills to fi
d Kate dooley
Sep 29, 2012 d Kate dooley rated it liked it
"She stops in the jelly aisle. Rupert's Deluxe Concord is endless black-purple and promises satisfaction or your money back. The twelve-ounce jar mimics cut glass and costs $3.89. It would look pretty on her hutch. But not $2.40 prettier than the Food Star brand that is a little less purple and a whole lot bigger."

Zoe has accidentally rented a room. She can afford the room if she doesn't eat, and the car she drives doesn't break down, and she isn't given a ticket for speeding, and she can earn e
Bailee S
May 01, 2015 Bailee S rated it really liked it
This book has 266 pages. The main character Zoe is no where near being self conscious. She is brave and not afraid to stand up to the people she use to love. This character reminds me of my friend who is selfless and will do any thing for a friend. I gave it four stars because this was a good book but the book did not fit me very well, although the author,Mary E. Pearson, is a very good a very good writer. I feel the ending was the best part about the book in my opinion. I think everybody should ...more
Jul 17, 2007 Erin rated it really liked it
Shelves: yafiction
At the age of seventeen, Zoe's known for awhile that her mother is far from perfect. An alcoholic pill-popper, she can't even be trusted to make it to work, let alone pay the bills on time. Zoe dreams of escape from her personal hell.

One day, the opportunity presents itself to her in the form of a "For Rent" sign in the window of a house on Lorelei Street. Relatively close to her mother's home, Zoe makes a decision - to gather her belongings in a couple of pillowcases and rent the room.

After awh
Oct 16, 2011 02codys rated it liked it
I liked how Zoe escaped from her reality. She rented a room on Lorelei Street to be at ease away from her alcoholic mother.
She didn't want to end up like her mother, in her alcoholic state. She wanted to live clean and pure, in a positive environment.
And she also had problems with her grandmother. The seventeen-year-old Zoe wanted to escape from her misery at home.
She finally found a for rent sign in front of a house on Lorelei Street. She took this into consideration and decided to rent it o
Dec 26, 2007 Patrick rated it it was amazing
Shelves: novelist-reviews
This is a teen fiction companion to Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America by Barbara Ehrenreich. Like many teens, Zoe dreams of moving out, but it is a nightmare at home (dead father, alcoholic mother, and suffocating grandmother) that lets her make the move. And while there's the nice old lady (Opal) she rents the room from to lend support, and some friends, Zoe truly feels on her own. Just as much as Hatchet, this is a survival story as Zoe works as a waitress, trying to put food on ...more
Ms. B
Feb 08, 2015 Ms. B rated it really liked it
Shelves: ya, 2013
Remember really being on your own for the first time? Paying bills on your own? The high when you could pay them and have a little left, the low of an unexpected expense that made it all seem impossible.
This is that story except Zoe is only 17 years old, her father has died, and her mother is an alcoholic with little hope for recovery. Other family members provide a support system that is there, yet weak. Zoe has a job, attends high school, plays tennis and is now on her own. Realistic in the f
Nov 04, 2013 Cherylann rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ya, realistic-fiction
Zoe, a high school senior, realizes that she doesn't need her mother to care for her anymore. After all, Zoe has been caring for both of them for the last two years - making sure there's food, the bills have been paid, there is an income, and that her brother is safe. When she sees a room for rent sign in a window of a house on Lorelei Street, Zoe wonders what if - could she actually afford to support herself and live on her own. In this beautiful novel, Pearson explores what it means to be fami ...more
Maddie Juul
Dec 10, 2015 Maddie Juul rated it it was amazing
A Room on Lorelei Street by Mary E. Pearson is a good book for many reasons. One reason for this is that it has interesting main characters. In the beginning of the novel, the main character, Zoe, is living with her mother, who is a drunk: “What Mama wouldn’t do for a drink” (Pearson 256). Zoe faces many dilemmas because of her mother’s drunkenness. She runs her home by paying the bills, buying groceries, even handling car payments.Zoe is very bothered by the fact that she might as well be takin ...more
Apr 09, 2015 Diane rated it liked it
Shelves: 13-25
Zoe is a seventeen year old girl that is haunted by the memory of her fathers death. There are secrets that she isn't sure hold truth, and since the dead don't talk she has no way of getting the answers she needs. Delinquent activity is only further complicating Zoe's escape form her family cycles and ultimately makes her lose her spot on the tennis team. The path for Zoe is not clear, but she knows one thing; she is never going back.

This novel was difficult to read and contained offensive lang
Steve Duong
Dec 26, 2009 Steve Duong rated it liked it
Shelves: big-picture-201
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Linda Lipko
Mar 29, 2012 Linda Lipko rated it it was amazing
Mary E. Pearson is the author of The Adoration of Jenna Fox, which is one of my favorite books.

This book is right on the mark regarding a child of an alcoholic and the emotions as a result of a highly dysfunctional adult-- the guilt, the anger, the abandonment, the overwhelming struggle of sadness. Writing with this depth of power and knowledge is difficult to portray without experience, and therefore I believe the author might have real life experience regarding this complicated issue.

When seve
Jan 27, 2009 Teen rated it really liked it
Shelves: substance-abuse
Review: Zoe’s lst period teacher mispronounces her name. When Zoe corrects her, the teacher makes Zoe sit in the front row, right under Mrs. Garrett’s nose, & then proceeds to totally ignore her. Zoe has some problems with school anyway. Her priorities are her after school job as a waitress because she is the only wage earner at home; Zoe certainly can’t depend on her alcoholic mother to make sure there is food on the table. Zoe is increasingly frustrated with the responsibility of taking ca ...more
Aug 25, 2013 Tina rated it really liked it
I have found that I am really getting interested in reading YA lately. And that being said, I really hit the jackpot with this one. This book was such an emotional read that at times I felt like I was almost holding my breath. The main character went through so much in her mere seventeen years of living, and her struggle completely broke my heart.

A Room on Lorelei Street takes place in a town called Ruby, Texas. It is a tired, small town full of basically nothing, where Ruby is living with her
May 20, 2010 J.L. rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This story is
about a 17-year-old, Zoe, who finally leaves her alcoholic mother and rents a room on a street in another part of town, hoping she can make it on her tips and salary as a part-time waitress. I didn’t want to like this book, I’m not even sure why. The first part of it didn’t draw me in, I guess. I think part of what I didn’t like about this book at first was the lack of dialogue, the way the narrative was almost completely centered in Zoe’s head, only occasionally breaking out into
Clare O'Hara
Sep 03, 2015 Clare O'Hara rated it did not like it
Shelves: audio-books
I should first point out that I listened to the audiobook version which may have factored into a lower rating. For a 266 page (6 CD) book, I actually found it just dragged on and one with not much going on. I was bored the entire time but I always try and finish what I start. I kept waiting for a major event to take place which I found just never really happened. I did like the main character's strength against her grandmother--but that was about the highlight of the book for me.
Sue Eldridge
Mar 12, 2015 Sue Eldridge rated it did not like it
Shelves: trc2015
I would have liked to have read this book in it's entirety, but I could not continue to read the array of four letter words. The idea of the room of serenity was intriguing for me. The English language is full of many descriptive words that could have easily replaced the profanity. I could have enjoyed this book had it been more intelligently written.
Dec 15, 2009 Adriana rated it liked it
3.5 stars. The writing is excellent. The story and the characters are well drawn. It's a little depressing though and I don't think I want to read it again. I did love The Adoration of Jenna Fox though and I would definitely read Pearson again. Zoe is 17. Her mom is constantly either drunk, asleep, or drunk crying herself to sleep. Zoe is tired of taking care of her and she dreams of a room on Lorelei street. The room holds freedom, lightness, and hope. But Zoe still hopes that her mom could onc ...more
17 year old zoe attempts to move out of her mother's home and live on her own in this dramatically depressing Problem Novel. zoe's mom is an alchoholic who spends her days sleeping and drinking. this behavior is enabled by her own mother and the rest of the extended family, and zoe is expected to take care of her and keep the bills paid. zoe's father is dead. when zoe tries to live on her own, it's harder than she expected. how far will she go?

lord, this was bleak. i don't deny that things like
Feb 13, 2008 Samantha rated it liked it
Recommends it for: people who are interested in mother daughter realtionships
Recommended to Samantha by: no one

This teenage girl is having problems with her distant uncaring drunk of a mother and she is fed up with it. Her mother doesnt come to any functions or when she gets punished at school her mother doesnt care. She really wants a mother that is there for her and one who cooks and cleans for her. She finally gets fed up enough a she goes to the extreams with leaving...
This book was interesting. I liked it for the fact that she struggles and trys to make it and i think that is very interesting. Th
Stephanie A.
I loved the picturesque writing about the rented room, and the kooky old lady who owns the house it's located in. It's the one magical component, that tantalizing symbol of adult independence and autonomy, that elevates it from just a bleak story about poverty and parental alcoholism.
Tabitha Olson
May 09, 2010 Tabitha Olson rated it really liked it
Zoe is determined not to be like her mother. So she sets out on her own and rents a room in an attempt to get away from the things that drag her down...then she becomes that which she despises.

This happens so often in families. Kids are always saying "I'm not going to be anything like my parents." Yet, that's what they know, so that's what they become. And most don't even know it.

The real beauty of this story is that Zoe sees what she's become, acknowledges it, then takes steps to change. She'
Jun 16, 2009 Abby rated it liked it
Shelves: teen
Teen problem fiction -- in this case an alcoholic mother, dead father & lots of parental neglect. Zoe decides her ticket out of her soul-killing situation is to rent a room from an eccentric character, Opal, who lives on Lorelei Street. Zoe is a fully realized, resourceful and sympathetic character who I think would appeal to teens living in tough situations themselves and are looking for a way out. Nothing about living on your own as a teen is romanticized, and Zoe is faced with some diffic ...more
Aug 06, 2011 Sheena rated it really liked it
I think the biggest reaction I had to this book was frustration. I was frustrated at Zoe’s teacher, her grandmother, her mother, just her life in general. I felt for her as she tried to create a better life for herself and things just kept pushing down. Unfortunately I think there are many teens out there that are going through the same ordeal. They are stuck in situations that they can’t get out of and are broken by it. I think this book can offer them hope. I think the best lesson from this bo ...more
Janine Darragh
Jun 09, 2014 Janine Darragh rated it really liked it
Shelves: ya-poverty, ya
Such a wonderful realistic portrayal of poverty, dispelling stereotypes about people who are poor being lazy. Great book for introducing issues of poverty and social justice, in my opinion.
Aug 13, 2010 Kristen rated it liked it
Shelves: novel, ya-2010, 2010
A 3.5 -- A real, raw teenage story. Though this is a novel, a young adult novel, I suspect that quite a lot of American society is actually experiencing this painful type of life where the teenager is more mature than the parent. While I did find the story engaging, I really can't recommend this book. I found it a fascinating glimpse into the life of a seriously disfunctional family, but it has scenes and language that are most likely to get it an R rating from many audiences.

That said this aut
Maggie Stough
Aug 21, 2016 Maggie Stough rated it liked it
It was a really good book with a great voice. However, the final few chapters left me feeling cheated. I felt like a lot of time and details were skipped over to arrive at the resolution quickly.
Aug 19, 2015 Stella rated it really liked it
It was a good book, it was kind of boring at first, but it was interesting by the end, just waiting for the next one.
A Room on Lorelei Street had a slow pace, which is why I stopped listening to the audiobook.
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I suppose I have always been enamored with story and character. My mother tells me I could be the most annoying little kid, waking up each day as a new character. Every morning she would have to ask me "who" I was for that day, because unless properly addressed I refused to answer anyone.

One time when I was about four years old, my parents were out shopping at Sears. They each thought the other h
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“it is amazin, she thinks, how simple appearances can be created - a rush, a smile, a new coat of paint, a slow, calm voice, a hug, a new dress - a resolve to keep out questions and cling to secrets” 6 likes
“she whispers it aloud, 'lorelei.' the sound makes her ache, makes the word even more beautiful, even more real. ” 2 likes
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