★ ★ ★ ★ ★
The Walls Around Us by Nova Ren Suma | March 2015 | Algonquin Young Readers | Hardcover $17.95
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 the Aurora Hills juvenile detention center, there’s Amber, locked up for so long she can’t imagine freedom.
Tying their two worlds together is Orianna, who holds the key to unlocking all the girls’ darkest mysteries…
I was impressed by the tension and darkness of The Walls Around Us. I received an ARC of this book from a giveaway managed by Lisa Schroeder, YA author.
A reviewer from Oblong Books & Music, an indie bookshop in New York, said of this book:
And that is really rather accurate. This book is part ballerina-cum-psycho, part prison personality parade – except, of course, starring high schoolers instead of adult women. It’s also part ghost story and part “teen girls can be the absolute worst to each other” story.
I wouldn’t really say this is a realistic tale, though the ghost-y elements aren’t even really the focus of the plot up until the very end so I’m not sure I’d categorize it as paranormal, either. It tastes more like magical realism, almost? The focus is on the messed-up mind of a dancer, the consequences of her actions for the person who was her only real friend, and the life (or loss of life) of teen girls in a juvenile detention facility.
Here are the first few lines:
We went wild that hot night. We howled; we raged; we screamed. We were girls – some of us fourteen and fifteen; some sixteen, seventeen – but when the locks came undone, the doors of our cells gaping open and no one to shove us back in, we made the noise of savage animals, of men.
Nova Ren Suma does an amazing job keeping the tension tight throughout the book. I’m not just talking about the pacing – though there is never a dull moment, which is another point in its favor. I’m thinking of the sort of creepy, something ain’t right feeling that permeates every scene.
The conclusion isn’t hard to guess at if you’re paying attention, but you’ll still want to stay up late reading this all the way to the end anyway.
Also, I have to say – I LOVE LOVE LOVE the cover. The cover artist is Connie Gabbert (see links section below for the artist’s website).
This book comes out in 2 weeks, on March 24th.
- Website of author Nova Ren Suma
- Website of artist Connie Gabbert
- Interview with the School Library Journal
- Q&A at Publishers Weekly
Publication information: Suma, Nova Ren. The Walls Around Us. New York: Algonquin, 2015. Print.
Source: ARC provided via giveaway.
Disclaimer: I am not compensated, monetarily or otherwise, for reviews of books or other products.