Title: The Walls Around Us
Author: Nova Ren Suma
Publisher: Algonquin Young Readers
Release Date: March 24th 2015
Source: e-ARC via NetGalley
“Ori’s dead because of what happened out behind the theater, in the tunnel made out of trees. She’s dead because she got sent to that place upstate, locked up with those monsters. And she got sent there because of me.”
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.
I received an e-ARC from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This review is my own opinion and I was not compensated in any shape or form in exchange for this review.
I can't go into too much detail about this book without revealing its secrets, but I'll try to explain it as best I can without spoilers.
The Walls Around Us is told in dual points of view that switches over in every section. One is told in Violet's point of view. She is a ballerina and her best friend Ori was incarcerated for killing two people. She's very prim and proper on the outside, but like she says, underneath the tulle and beneath the skin, is something ugly and red.
The other point of view is told by a ghost named Amber. She's been in the prison so long that she can't remember freedom. Nova Ren Suma writes Amber's point of view in a way that it's hard for the reader to tell that Amber is not alive and she is in fact a ghost. Though I suppose, that everything in a ghost's world, to them, is real.
Ori is very central to the novel, as she is the one that ties both Amber and Violet together.
There's a dreamy quality to the book that I adore. It flashes back and forward between past and present in a way that is fluid and not at all choppy. The writing is beautiful and really adds to that dreamy quality. This is my first magical realism novel (I think) and I really enjoyed this book.
The plot is well structured and intriguing. It holds on tightly to its mystery and I never really knew what direction it was heading in. That didn't dissuade me from reading though. It kept me hooked onto the book, wanting to find out exactly what was going on.
This book is dreamy, mysterious and a little creepy, but it is also beautiful with an ending that satisfies.