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Wednesday, April 15, 2015

The Walls Around Us: A Novel

I wanted a ghost story of sorts that involved crime, so I picked up Nova Ren Suma's The Walls Around Us this week and I got what I asked for. 

Amber and Violet could not be more different. Amber is locked up in juvenile state prison; Violet is off to Julliard to dance. They are both bound by what happened at the state prison when 42 young girls died. Orianna, their connection, was Violet's best friend and an inmate of the prison. What happened the night all the girls died? Sometimes, when no one wants you to know the truth, it comes out against everyone's best wishes.

This book was incredibly interesting, and much more so that I had originally expected. It took me a hot second to determine that it was switching perspectives, and at first I thought that Ori and Violet were sisters. I liked that I had to keep moving forward to move backward to find out the truth. We know from the outset that Ori wasn't guilty and was covering something up for Violet, but as we move through the story and find out more and more about the awful truth, we begin to suspect that we are not being told everything. Violet is a reliable narrator, but she is also a bit of a sociopath. Not a full-scale one, but definitely with sociopathic tendencies. Ori is a character that I grew to love without ever really knowing her; we know her only through Violet's eyes. How sad that her life was lost so young. And in such a cruel, painful way.

Amber was also an interesting one. Her story was fascinating and a great compliment to that of Ori and Violet's. Amber was a frank character while still being incredibly cagey, and she was compelling in that sense. I loved the story, and the characters were what drove it. Fictional murder can be a tricky subject as it can quickly become campy and overwrought, and I felt Suma did a great job crafting a narrative that made sense while still being juicy and lovely to sink my teeth into. This was fantastic commute reading, and I found myself wanting to get back into the story when I picked my Kindle back up. Recommended? Why, yes. It is. 

For purchase below. 

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