Sara's Reviews > The Walls Around Us

The Walls Around Us by Nova Ren Suma
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When I borrowed Nova Ren Suma's THE WALLS AROUND US from the library, I had two gut feelings about it: 1) It might be very different from other magical realism books I've read, and 2) It had the potential to chill me to the bone.

Both of those gut feelings turned out to be spot-on. And yet the book still stunned me in ways that are hard to describe the morning after. Consider that a good thing, though.

THE WALLS AROUND US is part ghost story, part real-world nightmare. It's about guilt and innocence, secrets and lies, truth and revelation. It's about urban legends, destructive friendships, and the complexities and failings of the criminal justice system. It's about the living, the dead, and two strange nights where both worlds collide. It's about Violet, an insecure yet ambitious ballerina; Amber, who's serving time in a juvenile detention center after being convicted of killing her abusive stepfather when she was 13; and Orianna, the naturally gifted dancer and compassionate girl who becomes the link to the two narrator's fates - and the key to their most harrowing mysteries.

The prose is arresting, evocative, and gritty, so that it steals your breath and sends shivers down your spine. The characters are incredibly realistic, and the narrative voices for Violet and Amber are strong, memorable, and distinct from one another. And the story will hold you in its firm, unnerving grip. Through memories, a shifting timeline, and gradual unveilings, Nova Ren Suma paints the complete picture piece by piece, until you think you know what's going to happen and then it plays out in shockingly unexpected ways.

THE WALLS AROUND US is not a heartwarming or comfortable read. At times it unsettled me, astonished me, and opened my eyes. But by doing so, it also drew me in deeper, hooking itself in me and making it almost impossible to put down. And now that I've read it, I know it's going to linger with me for a long, long time.
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Reading Progress

March 7, 2017 – Shelved
March 7, 2017 – Shelved as: to-read
March 14, 2017 – Shelved as: magical-realism
August 8, 2017 – Started Reading
August 8, 2017 –
page 111
34.8% "Thought I'd borrow one more book from the library before next week's trip. And right away, I'm drawn in by how intelligent, genuine, and haunting this story already is."
August 9, 2017 –
page 184
57.68% "Somehow I was under the impression that this was magical realism. And it's not... but it doesn't really matter. The paranormal elements still make you question what's real and what isn't. And the prose. THE PROSE. It takes your breath away."
August 10, 2017 –
page 249
78.06% "I have a feeling I know where the Orianna / Violet storyline is heading... It's just a matter of seeing how it plays out. But I have no idea how the Orianna / Amber storyline might end. I guess I'll find out tonight or tomorrow night, when I finish it. :o"
August 11, 2017 – Shelved as: 2017-favorites
August 11, 2017 – Shelved as: creepy-reads
August 11, 2017 – Shelved as: eyeopeners
August 11, 2017 – Shelved as: female-protagonists
August 11, 2017 – Shelved as: multiple-povs
August 11, 2017 – Shelved as: narrative-voice-love
August 11, 2017 – Shelved as: prose-love
August 11, 2017 – Shelved as: young-adult
August 11, 2017 – Shelved as: tough-subject-matter
August 11, 2017 – Shelved as: ghosts
August 11, 2017 – Shelved as: library-reads
August 11, 2017 – Finished Reading

Comments Showing 1-3 of 3 (3 new)

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message 1: by Faith (new)

Faith Rivens I've been wanting to read this one for a while. Jumping it to the top of my TBR :)

Sara Faith wrote: "I've been wanting to read this one for a while. Jumping it to the top of my TBR :)"

I'd love to know what you think of it when you finish it. :) And I would say "Enjoy," but... saying that doesn't quite fit with this book, because of how unsettling it is at times. But that was probably the effect that Nova Ren Suma was going for, and she does it masterfully.

message 3: by Faith (new)

Faith Rivens I definitely will :) It sounds like it left a powerful impact on you.

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