Author: Nova Ren Suma
Synopsis: 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.
Huge thank you to Algonquin Young Readers and Netgalley for this ARC!
Last year I had the pleasure of reading 17 & Gone by Nova Ren Suma, and I remember being completely invested in the story. Her writing is haunting, careful, and precise, and brings a similar flare in her latest book, The Walls Around Us.
I’d even argue that I loved this book a bajillion times more than I did 17 & Gone. This book gives you two perspectives from young women who have been incarcerated, both equally trying to uncover another woman’s story, Orianna, who is somehow connected to their mystery. Both Vee and Amber’s voices are distinctive, but their overall emotions are somewhat similar. There’s a desire to uncover the mystery surrounding Orianna, as well as a sense of remorse and repentance that clouds the overall narrative.
Nova Ren Suma only gives you a small handful of pieces. This is a book where the reader has to work a bit to piece parts of the story together, and it’s insanely successful in this regard. Both girls are hiding something, and when it’s revealed, it’s this beautiful yet ugly side that is both shocking but realistic. I found myself feeling tons of emotions reading this book, but the end result of my emotions was always the same: I needed to have that entire picture.
There’s so much depth in The Walls Around Us. It’s a character study, it looks a how women treat each other (for better or worse), how sometimes the most simplest things can become the most complicated, and how not every journey has a happy ending or even a direct path to follow. If you love reading stories rich with emotion, you need to pick up The Walls Around Us when it releases. You’ll not be disappointed.