The Walls Around Us

The Walls Around Us
Author(s)
Age Range
14+
Release Date
March 24, 2015
ISBN
9781616203726
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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.

User reviews

2 reviews
Overall rating
 
4.8
Plot
 
5.0(2)
Characters
 
5.0(2)
Writing Style
 
4.5(2)
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Review: The Walls Around Us
Overall rating
 
4.7
Plot
 
5.0
Characters
 
5.0
Writing Style
 
4.0
"We liked to talk to failed justice." I watch news every night and all I see is failed justice. Reporters tells us the sides of the victim and suspect then we conclude who is guilty. Sometimes, these victims are either celebrities, politicians and common citizens. Sometimes these suspects are either celebrities, politicians and common citizens. A suspect can be the victim and a victim can be the suspect. We can never tell. But all we do is talk failed justice—how many times it had been treated right or how many times it had been manipulated unfairly? We were told that everyone faces equal treatment, but we know the truth.

The Walls Around Us is told by Violet and Amber who were never friends nor seen each other not until Orianna rendered. Violet is a ballet dancer from her place's most well-known ballet school while Amber is locked up away in the Aurora Hills juvenile detention center. These two girls both have the same objective—to live without physical and mental imposed restraints. But Orianna, aware of what these girls are capable of, shake out the truth from their insides. In this phantasmal story of suspense told in two voices, Nova Ren Suma made an exceptional read marked with deliberateness and novelty for every Young Adult reader.

This should have been a five star rating review but Nova Ren Suma wrote a disturbing story of two girls who have never known each other. I am fascinated with such kind of writing but it afflicted me with anxious uneasiness. As much as I want to give away for me to get to the point, but I can't. It is a must read to those of curious minds. The Walls Around Us is like a narrative poetry book of grief and trouble. I have highlighted the sentences and even paragraphs that is like a snippet of a poem. Only that when I read those after I read the book, it send me more understanding as to what Nova Ren Suma is really up to.

Written in a beautiful manner yet dark and haunting, The Walls Around Us is a deeply engaging read. Advocated for readers allured with poetic style of writing.
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Prepare to have your mind blown.
(Updated: March 23, 2015)
Overall rating
 
5.0
Plot
 
5.0
Characters
 
5.0
Writing Style
 
5.0
I will admit, I was trepidatious going into this one. I wasn't a big fan of Imaginary Girls and I thought this author just wasn't for me. But wow, this one blew me away. The writing style is really unique, it features a dual narrative that switches between ghost and girl, past and present but also has a strange time overlap. I was skeptical about how well this would work but, once I got used to it, it really did. There are actually three real main characters, Amber, a girl convicted of murder but widely believe to be innocent, Ori, a girl convicted of murder and widely believed to be a stone cold killer and Violet, a ballet dancer widely believed to be heartless. Amber is a very sympathetic character and Violet is decidedly, not. I applaud the choice of Amber as narrator. The obvious choice would have been Ori, with Amber as a mildly interesting side character, but I don't think that would have had the impact that Amber did. Vi is a pretty despicable character. She is driven by her desire to be a dancer, at any cost, and seems willing to push aside and stop on anyone who gets in her way. She is standoffish at best and downright mean at worst. Through both narrators, we get a fascinating view into their sense of guilt and the impact that it does (or doesn't) have on the psyche of a young girl.

The Walls Around Us holds two big mysteries. Interestingly enough, we learn the ending of both of them fairly early on. The rest of the novel is spent discovering the how and why which could have become tedious and boring, but didn't. I actually spent most of the book enthralled in both plotlines and created various theories as to the motivation behind the events. Through the story, we also glimpse a fascinating world of institutionalism and the impact that it can have on young people. I am a big fan of the Netflix show Orange is the New Black and couldn't help drawing parallels between the two.

The ending did a number on my head. I have spent the last few hours thinking through the events and trying to get them straight in my head. I still haven't decided if I like things turning out the way they did or if I would have preferred something a little more cut and dry - but, if it had been, I probably wouldn't still be thinking about it, so there is that. The magical realism comes to a head and the reader is left trying to decipher what is real and what is a lie.
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