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The Walls Around Us | Nova Ren Suma | Book Review

I had originally read The Walls Around Us prior to its release in 2015. Unfortunately, I never wrote a review for Netgalley. So, here I am in 2021 re-reading it and remembering exactly what excited me the first time around and what still confuses me. This book is a serious mind bender!

From the very beginning, I was uncertain what it was that I actually reading. I think that this may have been a planned by the author Nova Ren Suma but, it was still difficult to accept as I’m a reader who usually likes things to be more straight forward. The Walls Around Us was filled with twisty convoluted moments that pulled you in deeper until you felt like you were in a deep emotional fog. While it was not my usual choice for reading, I really liked the psychological aspect of this and the pull that was created between the reader, the setting, and the characters.

The Walls Around Us is told in alternating perspectives of two young girls. The first is Violet who is a wealthy teenager on her way to Julliard to study ballet. The second is Amber who is a teenager in a juvenile detention for murder. A third young girl named Ori connects the two narrators when she is sent to the juvenile prison for murder. Ori is also Violet’s best friend. Or at least, she was…prior to the murders. This alternating of perspectives adds to the fog of the novel because there is no direct timeline. It is murky and dark but beautiful at the same time. Nova Ren Suma paints a unique picture using her words connecting the world of the prison to the world of ballet classes and performances.

Being that The Walls Around Us is such a mind bender, it was difficult to wrap my head around everything that was happening. Even the second time around, I feel like I may have missed important clues that would have helped me better connect the story. If things were a little bit more laid out for me, maybe I would have been able to connect to it better. That being said, it was exciting to read something outside my usual area of focus – and having a background in psychology, I really liked the descriptions of the mental impact which prison and/or ballet had on the characters.

I would recommend The Walls Around Us to anyone who enjoys books that play with your mind and that has characters who you can empathize with till the very end. The quality of writing is excellent and it made it difficult to put down. Personally, I would have liked it better if I wasn’t so confused but, I can’t fault the writing for my own personal preferences. And it’s always good to try and expand your horizons and book preferences too!

Rating: 4 Stars

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