Author: Nova Ren Suma.
Published: March 24th 2015 by Algonquin Young Readers
Source: Netgalley & Publisher.
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.
(Quote from the blurb)
“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 moment I started this book, I knew I was up to something good. This was one of the best beginnings I’ve read in a long time. The writing-style is gorgeous and I was immediately curious about the mystery around the juvenile detention center and Orianna. This is a story about guilt, lies and dealing with a situation that’s not in your control. Through the eyes of two girls, Amber and Violet, we get to know the story behind Ori’s conviction.
The first chapter starts with Amber’s point of view. She is locked away in the detention center after an accusation everybody believes is false. Ori becomes her new roommate and the two create a special bond. There is something about Ori and everything she does shows that she doesn’t belong there. She is one of them, but at the same time she isn’t.
I liked Amber and it was fascinating to see the center through her eyes. It sounds like a horrible place, filled with girls with different sentences according to their crime. Amber did feel a little distant, but that seemed to match with the overall feeling in the book. I liked Ori the best. She seemed like a very sweet girl who wants to see the best of everything. Her mystery kept making me turn the pages to find out what happened.
Then we switch and get to know Violet, a ballerina dancer whose life is filled with lies and guilt for the death of her friend Ori. Violet is happy she can escape from her little town to go to college, but she isn’t ready until she visits the place where the juvenile center was. Slowly we unravel what happened and how Ori ended up locked away while she had such a promising future. Violet isn’t written as a likable character, but Nova did a great job with portraying her and making her interesting enough to follow.
The paranormal approach was a nice touch to the story, but also felt underdeveloped. This made the ending a bit underwhelming, but at the same time I like how it all wraps together. The truth that comes out and the way everything is solved is satisfying. This is my first book from this author and definitely not my last one.