Ahoy there me mateys!
the walls around us (Nova Ren Suma)
This book was lyrical and confusing and a good read. I am not sure where I learned about this book. The story centers around the murder of two fifteen-year-olds. The book switches points of view between two people: 1) Violet, an 18 year old ballet dancer; and 2) Amber, a prisoner in Aurora Hills juvenile detention center. Both points of view discuss among other things, a girl named Orianna.
The book is confusing because the plot does not follow a straight timeline and the two girls’ perspectives also contradict each other. I had no real idea of what the premise of the book was and so for most of my read I was trying to figure out what the point was. I mean, I had figured out who dunnit pretty early on. But why we were in the heads of these two particular characters was a little more difficult.
That said, I found Amber’s story of juvi prison life and her own reasons for being in there to be extremely interesting. Her perspective gives us a look at life inside the center. I loved everything around the center’s library. Her viewpoint of the other girls at the center is fascinating. The other girls at the center seemed both unique and real. It is quite a complex little microcosm.
Violet’s sections seem to be about the relationship that she and Ori had and what that meant to her. While she was not a nice person, her voice was engaging. Having worked with ballerinas before, the dance portion of this book felt very real if overdramatized for the purposes of the novel.
This book was not a quick read for me. I had a hard time convincing myself to go forward because of the structuring of the narrative. But the voice of Amber in particular kept drawing me back in. The writing was beautiful in many ways. I wanted to know how everything would tie together. When I eventually got to the ending, it surprised me. I am not sure if I liked it. I am not sure that I didn’t. I am however glad that I finished it. I can’t guarantee that everyone will like this novel. But if you read it, I would love to hear your take on it . . .
The author’s site says this about the novel:
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.
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