Bina has never forgotten the time she and her mother ran away from home. Her mother promised they would hitchhike to the city to escape Bina’s cruel father and start over. But before they could even leave town, Bina had a new stepfather and two new stepsisters, and a humming sense of betrayal pulling apart the bond with her mother—a bond Bina thought was unbreakable. Eight years later, after too many lies and with trouble on her heels, Bina finds herself on the side of the road again, the city of her dreams calling for her. She has an old suitcase, a fresh black eye, and a room waiting for her at Catherine House, a young women’s residence in Greenwich Village with a tragic history, a vow of confidentiality, and dark, magical secrets. There, Bina is drawn to her enigmatic downstairs neighbor Monet, a girl who is equal parts intriguing and dangerous. As Bina’s lease begins to run out, and nightmare and memory get tangled, she will be forced to face the terrible truth of why she’s come to Catherine House and what it will cost for her to leave . . . In A Room Away from the Wolves, critically acclaimed and New York Times bestselling author Nova Ren Suma weaves a spellbinding ghost story about who deserves a second chance, how we lie to those around us and ourselves, and what lengths girls will go to in order to save each other.
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However, when they were hitchhiking, they were picked up by a man and his two daughters, and they never ended up leaving town. Tormented by the two daughters, Bina is being forced to leave for a month by her mother. Bina decides instead to go to the Catherine House, a place her mother stayed at before she found out she was pregnant with Bina. Luckily, there's a vacancy, and so Bina travels to the city.
However, Catherine House is not your typical boarding house, and there are written and unwritten rules governing your stay there. With a chilling history and mysterious residents, Bina must navigate her way through each day in the House and with the other girls who live there.
What I loved: This story really creeps up on you in a gorgeous way, and it is completely engrossing- Catherine House is a place of unbelievable, eerie mystery. While Bina is not always clear on what she actually wants to know, the reader immerses deeper into what we do know to try to figure it out. Clear answers are not forthcoming and leaves the reader with many thoughts and a need to read the book again.
The world is beautifully crafted and fully immersive. While some of it seems rather macabre, the writing is really lyrical in a way that captures the mystery of the world around us and the unknown of others.
What left me wanting more: The more I think about this read, the more I love it. However, this book would not be well-suited for people who want clear answers or closure. We get the big picture by the end, but everything is not tied up with a bow. I would also add warnings for suicide, domestic abuse, and some supernatural style horror sequences.
Final verdict: Enigmatic, magical, and thought-provoking, A ROOM AWAY FROM THE WOLVES is a beautiful read that will appeal to YA readers who enjoy the unknown and hauntingly lyrical prose. This is a read which will not be soon forgotten.