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Review: The Walls Around Us

The Walls Around Us - Nova Ren Suma

This was one very disturbing book. 


I read the first ten pages one night, then the next day read the whole thing. I had to stop a few times throughout the afternoon, the book was so intense and disturbing. But before I knew it, I was picking the book up again to read more. 


This is a dark book which tells the story of three girls, a mysterious murder, and a Juvenile Detention Center. One of the girls in the Detention center (a last stop before adult jail), one girl is on her way to Julliard. One girl is sent to the detention center. Almost none of the characters are particularly likable. The girls in the detention center are constantly whining about how unfair the guards are, how unfair it is to have their liberties taken away. Sorry, but in this reader's opinion I have absolutely no sympathy. They've obviously broken laws and deserve to be there. They can whine all they like, but they get what they deserve.


The story is told in alternating view points, the girl who's free and the girl who's in the prison. All joined together by a girl called Orianna. 


Of course with the girl who's POV chapters in the prison, Amber, there's some question about to whether or not she actually did the deed she was locked away for. She's actually one of the saner, less violent prisoners. Some are pretty horrific, some are nuts. In spite of my dislike of these characters, it was pretty compelling though. There's a strange paranormal element to the whole thing. Flashes of the future and flashes of the past. All of which becomes clear. 


In the girl who's off to Julliard, she visits the prison, in her chapters, its a crumbling building. no longer occupied. Its down right creepy and mixes in with the other girl's plot surprisingly well. Its so well told and mysterious you're not sure who the ghost of the piece is. 


It is clarified throughout what happened to the prison and why the free girl is there. The free girl, Violet, is suffering from some sort of major guilt trip. Violet is a star ballet dancer. Violet had some problems with mean girl bullying and absentee parents. She's off to Julliard and can't wait to get there and away from all her issues. Violet, I did not like at all. Despite her problems, again, I found it very hard to have any sympathy for her because it becomes clear from her plot lines, what she did and why she feels so guilty. 


The best bit in her story line, is when she's visiting the ruins of the detention center. Its spooky, and I was actually hoping something bad would happen to her. 


Orianna is pretty much the nicest character in the whole book, the only one I liked and had a great deal of sympathy for. She get a really shitty deal. She ties the two story lines between Amber and Violet together. There were quite a few twists at the end, one made me sick to my stomach, and the other made me grin with wicked glee.


Overall, while this book had very dark and disturbing themes, it was excellently written.


Square crossed off for Spring 2015 Bookish Bingo - Plants on Cover.