THE WALLS AROUND US by Nova Ren Suma [Review]



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 the Aurora Hills juvenile detention center, there’s Amber, locked up for so long she can’t imagine freedom.

Tying their two worlds together is Orianna, who holds the key to unlocking all the girls’ darkest mysteries…

What really happened on the night Orianna stepped between Violet and her tormentors? What really happened on two strange nights at Aurora Hills? Will Amber and Violet and Orianna ever get the justice they deserve—in this life or in another one?

In prose that sings from line to line, Nova Ren Suma tells a supernatural tale of guilt and of innocence, and of what happens when one is mistaken for the other.

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Suma is not an amateur author, and it shows heavily in her work. Suma has a way of weaving words together into these beautiful strands of silk that you cannot help but want to pluck and carry with you for eternity.

Each of us had our own monster, distinct to us. We were all different, one girl to the next, like snowflakes.

Suma’s words will make you ponder life and us as humans. She will make you wonder and roam into lands you thought you would never explore. But Suma prods you into those territories with the strength of her words. And that is a something as both a writer and a reader that I highly admire–the power to take words and make you really think.

People can’t move on until the finger is pointed, and the gavel’s come down. This is called closure, and it’s also called justice, and they are not always the same thing.

Luckily, I have a physical copy of The Walls Around Us, and it is filled with tabs. And honestly, I think if I read it again, I would fill it up with even more tabs. Because despite this book being a mystery and knowing the outcome, I would gladly go down this crazy, twisted path again without hesitation.

Everything I know about bombs tells me they are built to explode. But something must set them off first. There must be a trigger before the noise goes off, before the big burst of bright, choking smoke. Otherwise a girl could stay quiet for years.

Readers, writers, everyone, you MUST read this novel. Even if you end up not being fond of the story-line, Suma’s writing will leave you in awe. And for me, it was not just Suma’s writing style that made me adore this novel. It was the way she created such a vivid world and characters, and yet left us readers in wonder.

We’ll forever be pointing fingers. Playing detective, to see who might be caught red-handed, over-heard in telling a bald-faced lie.

I’ll just leave you with that.



The synopsis grabbed my attention immediately for several reasons.

  • it’s clearly a mystery novel and I NEED more mystery in my life
  • ballerinas (and dancers in general) fascinate me
  • so do misfits (if you’ve read my stories, you know this)
  • also the cover is beautiful

Suma weaved an even more incredible plot-line than I was expecting. She took these classic elements that make a mystery novel so intriguing, but she twisted it into something slightly supernatural.

There were times where I wasn’t sure if something was real or fake. And though I guessed who the culprit was fairly quickly, Suma still left me gaping at the outcome of each character arc. Honestly, I’m still not one hundred percent certain if the ending was true or not.

Suma truly has a way to bend reality to the point where you’re not sure if it’s real. I do think I know how the book ended and how it was possible, but if definitely messed with my mind. This is one of the books that you most likely will not fully understand, sort of like Inception, and I think that’s a magical thing.



Get ready for me to rave about these characters because THEY WERE WILD LITTLE MISFITS AND MONSTERS AND WE KNOW I LOVE CHARACTERS LIKE THIS.

I’ve always found the misfits to the most interesting characters to both read and write about. Most heroes, to me, are boring. I don’t want to read about the perfect girl with perfect hair and superpowers or the perfect boy with perfect eyes and a perfect personality. People like that don’t exist. Perfection doesn’t exist.

This is why I like to read (and write) about the messy little characters with complicated backstories and who make mistakes. I especially love when a character seems perfect, but in reality, they are mess inside. Because in my opinion, that’s real. That’s relatable. And that’s one of many reasons why I LOVED this book.

Violet was selfish. She was jealous of Orianna. Orianna who had a life far from perfection, but chose to try to be happy. And we have Amber who has committed some terrible acts but for selfless reasons. (She also loves to read, so she was probably my favorite.)

I didn’t agree with most of these characters opinions and why they did what they did, but I could understand why they thought it was right. I could understand how they became caught up in a moment and allowed that one specific emotion to consume them. They are human, and they made horrible decisions, but I could understand that (to a point).

I suppose I appreciate that Suma made these characters flawed without going overboard. She gave them redeemable qualities and/or understandable reasoning behind their decisions.

However, I do wish Orianna had her own point-of-view. I learned many things about her through Violet and Amber’s point-of-views, but I would have liked to read Orianna’s thoughts straight from her.



I loved this book. I loved the mystery and the characters and how it was quite creepy and gruesome. (I’m basically a monster.) It was everything I wanted and so much more. It inspired me not only as a writer, but as a person. To appreciate what I have and to understand others and not be so quick to judge. That everyone has their own story and their own struggles, and I think that’s such an important lesson to teach. That’s a message I want to spread in my own stories, so I appreciate when other writer’s take that approach.

This review is quite late, but The Walls Around Us has stuck with me to the point where it feels as though I read this yesterday. This is a novel that will certainly not leave my mind and will always have me wondering. And I cannot wait to read more by Nova Ren Suma.



Have you read The Walls Around Us? If so, what did you think? Leave any of your thoughts or comments down below. But no spoilers, please!




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