by Nova Ren Suma

to be published March 24, 2015 by Algonquin Young Readers


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.


Some things in life just aren't fair. A prime example is the amount of talent Nova Ren Suma has in her fingertips.
"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."
In The Walls Around Us, Suma introduces us to two characters who each spin their own narrative. There is Violet, a prima ballerina with some skeletons in her closet, and Amber, a prison-trapped girl with a bucketload of secrets. Both have moments of likability and unlikability, but ultimately, I fell hard for these characters. Their unraveling story drew me in from the start and kept me hooked until the beautiful, lingering ending.

The Walls Around Us is Suma's best offering to date. Every single word is deliberate, every sentence immaculate. I cried, I laughed, I raged while reading this book, and I cannot cannot cannot wait for more.


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