The Walls Around Us by Nova Ren Suma (ARC)

the walls around us

Title: The Walls Around Us
Author: Nova Ren Suma
Publication Date: March 24th 2015 by Algonquin Young Readers
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“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.

This is the first time I’ve read anything from Nova Ren Suma and I am really glad because I loved this book. The Walls Around Us is captivating, breath-taking and mysterious. The way it was written was very interesting. The
flowery words used in the novel didn’t make it appear exaggerated, instead it solidifies the story.

The story was told in two different voices, Violet and Amber. I have to admit, I was really confused at first because they seem to exist in a parallel universe so I had no idea which of the two actually exist in the present but
as the story progressed, I was enlightened and I found myself really surprised and amazed.

“We were gasoline rushing for a lit match. We were bared teeth. Balled fists. A stampede of slick feet. We went wild, like anyone would. We lost our fool heads.”

Violet is a ballerina, off to Juilliard. Amber is a criminal, in a juvenile detention center. These two have nothing in common except Ori, Violet’s bestfriend. I love how their characters were both depicted. Although I would
say that I liked Amber better than Violet, especially towards the end of the story because Violet seemed to be self-absorbing which really annoyed me.

Violet is kind of hard to interpret for me. I think her complex personality was one of the major anchors of the story. Amber is kind, smart and she loves books. I love the references to certain popular authors like Libba Bray,
Sylvia Plath, and books like The Giver and The Book Thief.

“But the story is what it is. The killer was always me.”

The plot was driving and a bit intense. I lost my mind just as I was lost for words after reading it. It actually reminded me of the film, Black Swan. It’s really mysterious and thrilling and I loved every single page of this book. It
perfectly captures surrealism.

I’m looking forward to reading Nova Ren Suma’s other books, especially Imaginary Girls which is currently waiting on my shelf. Overall, The Walls Around Us was such a beautiful read. I would definitely recommend this


Written by

A 22 year old bibliophile from the outskirts of Manila, who loves reading books for passion.

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