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A Room on Lorelei Street

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3.54 of 5 stars 3.54  ·  rating details  ·  499 ratings  ·  68 reviews
A room is not much. It is not arms holding you. Not a kiss on the forehead. Not a packed lunch or a remembered birthday. Just a room. But for seventeen-year-old Zoe, struggling to shed the suffocating responsibility of her alcoholic mother and the controlling guilt of her grandmother, a rented room on Lorelei Street is a fierce grab for control of her own future. Zoe rents ...more
Paperback, 288 pages
Published September 30th 2008 by Square Fish (first published June 1st 2005)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,218)
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d Kate dooley
"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
...more
Erin
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
...more
02codys
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
...more
Anna
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
Patrick
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
Zhiqing
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
...more
Ms. B
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
...more
Cherylann
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
Steve Duong
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Linda Lipko
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
...more
Teen
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
Tina
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
...more
J.L.
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
...more
Adriana
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
Kricket
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
...more
Samantha
Feb 13, 2008 Samantha rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
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
...more
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
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'
...more
Abby
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
Sheena
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
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.
Kristen
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
...more
Tressa
A Room on Lorelei Street had a slow pace, which is why I stopped listening to the audiobook.
Neill Smith
Zoe has looked after her beautiful drunken mother forever. Her younger brother, Kyle, has moved in with her aunt and uncle to protect him but she is still at home, cleaning up, earning enough at her part-time waitressing job to supplement their living expenses while her mother turns down hours at her own job. Finally she breaks and finds her self a rented room on Lorelei Street - her own oasis of calm and control. Then she begins the battle to pay the rent, continue with high school, and resist ...more
Karyl
A moving story about a 17-year-old girl trying to make it on her own. Zoe finds a room on Lorelei St, but can she make it her own? Can she survive without any help from her alcoholic mother or her tyrannical grandmother? It was a bit depressing to see Zoe beat down so much, by things going wrong side very often for her. But even more depressing was the fact that Zoe had to resort to moving out at such a young age because her family was that dysfunctional. Otherwise she could have easily have los ...more
Ariel
Aug 23, 2010 Ariel rated it 4 of 5 stars
Shelves: ya
This may be the best of the recent YA novels about the parentified child problem. Zoe longs to get away from her mother, a messy, needy alcoholic, by moving to a nearby furnished room. But to do so Zoe must defy not only her mother but her grandmother, a perfectly drawn enabler who actively seeks to cut off her granddaughter's escape route. The book is beautiful, moving, even wise, though somewhat excruciating The tension mounts as we see just what Zoe will do to preserve her fragile new soap bu ...more
Sarah
This was hovering around 3-4 stars until the end. The ending is awful- SPOILER
if you're going to do a skip-into-the sunset ending and not really end it, at least connect your writing. We go from turning a trick to get ninety bucks for rent to a confusing Opal scene to... what? Just waaaay too scattered.

END SPOILER

Just read The Adoration of Jenna Fox; it's way better.
Kerri
Zoe has always taken care of her alcoholic mother, until finally she can't take her mother's broken promises anymore. She finds a room on Lorelei Street and decides to start her life over and do things for herself. I thought this book was good, but some parts were a little confusing and you just wanted Zoe to tell everyone what was going on with her life. She begins to lose support from her friends and family and she almost ends up completely alone trying to make ends meet.
Mayday Maddie
Mary E Pearson has been on my list of excellent authors ever since I read The Adoration of Jenna Fox.

This book did not *quite* measure up to my golden Jenna Fox standard, but it was very cleverly written with a lot of interesting formatting and narratives. The characters were well done and the story was well-spaced, but Zoe's choices and her story felt very distant to me -- I didn't fully understand them, but then again, perhaps Zoe didn't either.
Sabrina
To escape a miserable existence taking care of her alcoholic mother, seventeen-year-old Zoe rents a room from an eccentric woman, but her earnings as a waitress after school are minimal and she must go to extremes to cover expenses.

I enjoyed this book up until the last couple chapters. At that point the story took a turn that ruined everything it had been building toward. It was as if the ending was written by someone else and just did not work.
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123463
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
...more
More about Mary E. Pearson...
The Adoration of Jenna Fox (Jenna Fox Chronicles, #1) The Kiss of Deception (The Remnant Chronicles, #1) The Fox Inheritance (Jenna Fox Chronicles, #2) Scribbler of Dreams Fox Forever (Jenna Fox Chronicles, #3)

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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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