THE WALLS AROUND US BY NOVA REN SUMA
Genre: YA, Paranormal, Mystery
Source: ARC from Algonquin Young Readers
Release Date: March 24, 2015
” We were, all of us, the exact opposite of special. We were bad. Broken. It was up to the state to rehabilitate us into something worthy, if it even could. Maybe, long ago, we used to be good. Maybe all little girls are good in the beginning.”
– Nova Ren Suma, The Walls Around Us
The Walls Around Us is a ghostly story of suspense told in two voices—one still living and one long dead. On the outside, there’s Violet, an eighteen-year-old dancer days away from the life of her dreams when something threatens to expose the shocking truth of her achievement. On the inside, within the walls of a girls’ juvenile detention center, there’s Amber, locked up for so long she can’t imagine freedom. Tying these two worlds together is Orianna, who holds the key to unlocking all the girls’ darkest mysteries.
We hear Amber’s story and Violet’s, and through them Orianna’s, first from one angle, then from another, until gradually we begin to get the whole picture—which is not necessarily the one that either Amber or Violet wants us to see.
Nova Ren Suma tells a supernatural tale of guilt and innocence, and what happens when one is mistaken for the other.
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*I would like to thank Algonquin Young Readers for a copy of the book in return for an honest review*
I am still not exactly what it is I want to say about this book. I have such mixed feelings about it and can’t seem to put all my thoughts together to give an informative review, so bare with me. While sitting here trying to write this review I am looking back at the book and I feel like I missed something or that the book was missing something, but can’t figure out what it is.
This book is written from the perspective of two different characters (Amber and Violet). While you learn about both of the girls and their live you also are learning about their involvement, interactions and impact on their lives of another girl (Ori). For me it seemed like the story was suppose to be about telling Ori’s story and what really happened. At times there was just a lot going on and took awhile to put things together. (I mean it is a mystery so I guess in a way it was suppose to be that way)
I did prefer one of the narratives more than the other (Amber). At times Suma’s writing was so lyrical and poetic. She created a great dark atmosphere with a setting that was developed through great imagery and became so vivid. The book definitely plays with your mind a little and has a darker tone. The ending was for sure dark and twisty. I also found that I liked the way the two story lines intertwined. I found the characters to be quite intriguing. The two main characters Amber and Violet both had secrets and were very different from each other. It was interesting to learn about all the girls in the jail and what earned each of them a spot there as well as their issues while there. This was for sure one of those not everything/everyone is as it/they seem.
Overall this was a unique story that is on the darker side and was an intriguing read as my first from Nova Ren Suma. It was different than I expected, but I still enjoyed it and the dark and twisty, mess with my mind feel it portrayed. Although I do not complete agree with them selling it as Orange is the New Black meets Black Swan it does have some components and feel that those two give off. If you are a fan of mysteries that have twists, confusion, jail, ballet you should check this book out.
(Sorry if this is a confusing and unhelpful review. I really had a hard time writing this. I feel like I would have to reread the book. There were parts I really enjoyed and others that confused me.)