Title: The Walls Around Us
Author: Nova Ren Suma
Release Date: March 24
Publisher: Algonquin Young Readers
Source: Algonquin Books on NetGalley (A copy of this book was provided to me in exchange for an honest review.)
Check this book out on Goodreads.
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. (Source: Goodreads)
Violet, Orianna, and Amber’s lives are tied and tangled together. Their lives are tangled at a single point, a single night in August that connects them all together. Violet and Orianna, long-time friends, are tangled up in a murder that they’re both connected to. Amber is a witness, not to the crime, but what follows it. This book follows them through the summer month that connects them and shows you just what led them to each other, what they lost, and what became of them.
This book was so fantastic. I got this in NetGalley months ago, by the time I sat down to read it I had completely forgotten what it was about. It totally blew me away because I was in no way expecting what I got. This book is so twisted and terrifying it really keeps you on the edge of your seat the whole time. This is a supernatural thriller, but the supernatural quality is more magical realism than upfront supernatural. The characters in this book are so complex that you never know exactly what to expect. I found this book difficult to put down and was honestly surprised how fast I read it because I was trying to take my time.
This book is told in alternating perspectives, it goes back and forth between Amber and Violet. Through them you learn about Orianna and what she did. From these two perspectives you witness not the same events but how they see the events about which they speak. I think this was really interesting because one of them comes from before and one after the events, so they have very different perspectives and it creates a really unique narrative. This also created a great sense of suspense and upped the sense of thrill to the story. This book is like edge of your seat thriller. I was fascinated and terrified all at the same time. There’s a lot of really interesting twists in the book too which create even more suspense. Even though Suma foreshadows it often really misleading which is fantastic.
The characters are very complex. It’s really hard to trust any of them because they’re all trying to present themselves a certain way, or present each other a certain way. Amber, to begin with, was sort of sweet and caring in a way, the way she loved Orianna and wanted to take care of her. It’s really hard to trust her because you want to believe she’s innocent of her crimes, but there’s this lingering sense that there’s more than she’s let on going on – which is kind of terrifying. Violet is sweet, but a little too full of herself. This definitely made me dislike her right away, she was confident in a way that is off putting. But there was also a sense that she was someone needing protecting, which was Orianna’s role in her life. At the same time, she’s kind of horrible and rotten and maybe not in need of that protection. Finally, Orianna is presented in two different ways. Amber talks about her as if she is the sweetest person in the world, lost and scare, but so loving in the place she’s been forced to reside in. From Violet you get the sense of this quiet, determined, scary person who is loving but perhaps hiding something deep within her. All of these colliding versions of the characters creates a suspense and wariness, which really adds so much intrigue. And when it’s all resolved you feel so relieved to have found what was hidden.
The tone throughout this book is very melancholic. There’s a yearning for something else, which creates a tension. It makes you wonder a lot about what really happened that day when the murder happened, what happened on that August night, and what will happen to these girls in the future. I really like how Suma made the tension so thick throughout the book. It creates a sense of anxiety that really keeps you on edge. I loved it. Suma writes a mean thriller.
I loved this book. It was so tense and interesting. I found the characters and plot complex and twisted in such a fascinating and terrifying way. I highly recommend this book and will definitely be grabbing a copy of it when it comes out.