Review: The Walls Around Us

Before the review of this kick ass book – if you’re reading the Garden Intrigue with us check out our recap on the Bubblebath Reader.  Regency historical fiction is kind of the opposite of this YA I’m about to review…

The Walls Around Us, Nova Ren Suma


Published March 24th 2015 by Algonquin Young Readers

Hardcover, 336 pages

Source: e-ARC from Edelweiss


From Goodreads…

“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.

You know the kind of book that you read wondering WTF is actually happening and you fly through it working it all out?  And when you finish you still kind of wonder WTF just happened even though you kind of loved it at the same time?  This is that kind of book.  I finished this book a few weeks ago and I’m still honestly going back and thinking about these girls and that ending.

 We start from Amber’s perspective inside the prison walls.  The beginning almost lost me I’ll admit, Amber herself doesn’t understand what’s happening when the prison doors just open.  Why did they open?  How did they open?  I still don’t quite get it.  Amber has been in prison for years and when the prison doors free her she can’t bring herself to leave because its all that she knows.  Oh, and Amber is dead by the way.

 We then change time and perspective entirely and meet Violet. Violet is about to perform her final ballet before leaving for school.  Violet is determined to be a prima ballerina and won’t let anything stand in her way.  She’s ready to leave her hometown behind and to become as star. Both girls begin to tell us the story of Orianna and what happened in a dark tunnel outside the theater.

 I’m afraid to say too much because you need to just read this book and take it in.  You will see what the dead say about the living and how the living can haunt the dead.  This is a book about friendship and betrayal, about guilt and innocence, about power and powerlessness.  A beautifully written book that will stay with you.

 4 stars!

Thank you Algonquin Young Readers and Edelweiss for this advance copy in exchange for an honest opinion.


  1. OH! Awesome! I’ve seen a lot of mixed reviews for this but I’m still pretty interested. I grabbed an ARC at ALA but haven’t gotten to it yet. I feel like this could easily sweep me away… and I hope it does!!

  2. I LOOOOVED this book! I definitely agree with pretty much everything you said–it took me a bit of reflecting on the ending to really “get” it, & I think my understanding could probably use a re-read since I read it awhile ago. I’ve liked all of Nova Ren Suma’s books(though this was the first I read), but I haven’t liked any near as much as The Walls Around Us.

  3. Beautifully written? COUNT ME IN. *desperately longs for this book* I really like weird books…so long as I don’t get too lost in them. xD This one just sounds absolutely epic and I do so adore that cover. xD
    Thanks for stopping by @ Paper Fury!

  4. We will have to DM on Twitter about this, because I loved this book, like you, and had some of the same feelings. I need to buy a finished copy and re-read because it definitely is the kind of book I want to read again. I certainly was thinking about it a lot when I finished. So glad you liked it too!!

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