The Walls Around Us

18044277by Nova Ren Suma
YA Contemporary
3 of 5 stars

I read her debut novel Imaginary Girls almost two years ago, and it remains one of my favorite stories due to the unreliable narration from the characters. Nova Ren Suma mixes supernatural elements within everyday reality in such a way that you never really know what is true, even at the end. Spanish literature has a whole sub-genre of this called “magical realism” and it creates beautiful but chilling plots with characters you can never trust.

This story uses the same techniques with the dual narration from Violet and Amber, but I didn’t enjoy this one as much. There are fewer moments of shocking realization–instead we wander in confusion between the past and present until the climactic moment of revelation, and it wasn’t nearly as surprising or satisfying.

Violet’s dreams of attending Juilliard to become a prima ballerina are about to come true. Amber has been locked up for so long she doesn’t know what a normal life would be like. Caught between them is the impossibly sweet Orianna, a talented ballerina who nurtured Violet’s lesser skills and finds herself wrongfully accused of a terrible crime.

Neither of the characters were compelling to me, and once it became clear that not much was going to happen before the ending, I kept with the story mostly to know the final twist. It was hard for me to connect to any of the characters. For there to be any secrets or doubts about the plot, Violet and Amber have to be misleading, but in this instance they were so guarded it was hard to care about their problems or vague motivations. I gave it three stars for the writing itself, but I hope to like her next book much more.

If you’d like to see more reviews or buy a copy for yourself, The Walls Around Us is available on Goodreads and its parent company Amazon. Please consider supporting your local bookstore!

Similar reads:

  • Imaginary Girls by Nova Ren Suma – Her first story featuring an adoring but toxic relationship between two sisters growing up in a town with a reservoir that harbors some dark secrets. It’s haunting and beautiful, so don’t let Chloe’s opinions annoy you.
  • Holes by Louis Sachar – This isn’t as dark as any of the other books mentioned here, but it does follow Stanley Yelnatz in a youth detention camp as he digs holes and finds out nothing is what it seems at Camp Greenlake.

3 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Trackback: Backlist Bonus: Imaginary Girls | To Live a Thousand Lives
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