Book Talk: The Walls Around Us by Nova Ren Suma

Book Talk: The Walls Around Us by Nova Ren SumaThe Walls Around Us by Nova Ren Suma
Published by Algonquin Young Readers on March 2015
Genres: Contemporary YA, YA Mystery
Format: ARC
Source: For Review

I received this book for review consideration from the publisher. This in no way swayed my opinion of the book. Pinky swear!




Want an “at a glance” look at what I thought? Check out my Review On A Post-It or my “Final Thought”



Told in alternating points of view we meet two girls whose only connection is a girl named Orianna and mysteries that surround them. Violet is a talented dancer from a good family who is well on her way to pursuing her dreams. Amber is a girl who has been locked away in an all girl’s correctional facility for many years despite the innocence she maintains. Amber hopes for justice and Violet hopes for nothing to get in the way of what she’s earned but is something else already set in motion?




OKAY. So this was an interesting experience, guys! I’m LOVING LOVING LOVING the book. I’m TENSELY reading…just turning the pages as fast as my brain can keep up with because things are getting CRAAAAZY UP IN THIS BOOK. And then the ending happened. I didn’t get it. I literally did not understand what happened. So I reread the THING that happens that confused me. STILL DIDN’T UNDERSTAND. So I reread again because maybe the sun from the beach I was reading on affected me. NOPE. NO COMPRENDO. MY BRAIN STILL HURTS. So I googled “PLEASE SOMEBODY EXPLAIN THE ENDING OF THE WALLS AROUND US.” Google was actually real helpful. Sort of. I found two different explanations of the ending. I think the last one made more sense and I THINK is actually what happened. If what I read is what actually happened then it was an awesome ending and such a wonderfully strange & unique book!

I think the only downfall to this book is truly is that I didn’t understand what happened at the end — I don’t know if it was my brain or if the ending was legit kind of confusing. I was so amped about it from page one and then I really struggled with the ending. But before that there was a whole lot of things that were keeping me turning those pages.

I loved the writing — it was so fantastic and had this haunting and atmospheric quality to it that could cause the hair to stand on your arms. Half of the setting is in this correctional facility for girls and she just completely transported me into this place and this look into an all girls juvenile detention center and the effects of being there on the girls. It’s not a setting I think I’ve ever read so I was glued to the book in that way. I loved seeing how the inmates interacted and what life is like day to day but also this exploration of justice and freedom and how unfair sometimes the justice system is if you aren’t as privileged as someone else.

There was this underlying mystery and these undertones that constantly made you feel like something wasn’t QUITE right. It made it such a page-turner in addition to the way she completely immersed you into the setting. Twisty in all the right places, tension that feels palpable. I think a lot of this is due to the two narrators — Amber and Violet — because you aren’t quite sure if you can trust them. Are they guilty? Are they innocent? As you try to wade through the lies and the truths you get so tangled into both of their stories. But then we have this other character, Ori, who we don’t hear from but we know her as Violet’s best friend and Amber’s new roommate and slowly we get pieces as to why she ends up there.



factors+ writing, plot, page-turning abilities, uniqueness, setting
–  the fact I didn’t understand quite what happened at the ending at all

Re-readability: I’m tempted because I kind of like reading twisty books again after I know things
Would I buy a copy for my collection? Because it’s not a favorite, probably not but I sure hope my library has a copy of it because it is FANTASTIC.

a5lots of people! Readers who are looking for something truly unique, readers who love a little mystery

a8This book truly was on a LOVE level until the ending. I’m fine with having to really think about an ending but I get really frustrated when I can’t understand what happened so it honestly left a bad taste in my mouth even after how fabulous this book had been before that. When I read someone’s explanation I was back to OH MY GOSH WOWWW but ultimately having to google to understand the ending affected my overall feelings. Still very much liked it but I have to be honest about how the ending left me.

review-on-post-itThe Walls ARound Us review


a8j* Have you read this one? What did you think? Similar or different from me? I would LOVE to hear regardless!
*If you haven’t read it, does it feel like something you’d be into?
If you did read it (and let’s mark spoilers in the comments), PLEASE CAN WE DISCUSS!! PLEASE!!



The Perpetual Page-Turner

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About Jamie

Jamie is a 32 year old married lady (with a new baby!!) who is in denial that she's actually that old to be a married lady and a mom. When she's not reading you can find her doing Pilates followed by eating ice cream, belting out Hamilton (loud and offkey) and having adventures with her husband, daughter and rescue dog.


  1. This definitely sounds like the type of book I’d enjoy – I love a story with an atmosphere which draws you in from page one, and now I’m really curious to see what that twist is! Thanks for sharing a wonderful review Jamie, now I’m definitely moving this further up my TBR 🙂

  2. This is the first book by Nova Ren Suma that I read and it made me want to read ALL HER OTHER BOOKS(which I’ve now done, but I still like this one best. Though, this is a favorite of mine. I LOOOOVE it). I fell in love with the writing first, and then with the plot. I do think the ending is legit confusing, so no worries there–but I think in many ways it’s deliberately confusing? I mean you can piece it together, I don’t think it’s suppose to be unfathomable, but I don’t know anyone who didn’t find it a *little* confusing.

  3. After this review, I have to read this book. I need to know what the ending is. 🙂

  4. I’m going to google what you did because you know I didn’t really get it either. I loved how addicting the book was and that atmosphere!! It was a great setting. Well I’m off to google….

  5. THANK YOU for writing this. I have no idea what happened at the end, either, and clearly my googling skills aren’t as advanced as yours, because I couldn’t find any actual spoilers. Do you happen to remember the links or can you tell me what the theories were? Other than that, I really enjoyed the book, but it’s been driving me crazy!

  6. I thought I understood the ending. Now, I’m going to have to Google it to see if I got it right. I’m with Maraia. Can you send me to those links you found?

  7. I’m so glad you read this one! I loved the writing so much. I definitely had to reread the ending, but I’ve always liked movies/books that have that quality. I would definitely recommend it to people who enjoy mysteries and books that have really elegant prose. I feel like the writing reminded me of ballet so much.

  8. I have not read this book yet. I’ve heard great things, and I do want to read it, but this is exactly how I felt when reading Imaginary Girls, though I didn’t enjoy it. It wasn’t one of those stories that sucked me in and then had a confusing bit but it was still fine because the book was enjoyable. I had the confused brain feeling the entire way through, and I kept rereading chapters, and that didn’t help, and I was so lost the whole time. I always feel like it’s me not getting something because other people seem to just get it, but I’m glad to know that if I pick this one up and don’t get it, I’m not the only one out there 🙂
    (I read IG during the summer I was a camp counselor, so Internet was not a thing otherwise that would have helped me a lot!)

  9. This is pretty high on my TBR list bc I got an ARC for Netgalley. Now i’m even more anxious to read it and i’ll be prepared for the twisty twists!

  10. I think part of why I don’t enjoy a lot of thrillers is because they often have those crazy “OMG what happened?!” ending. It always feels like I need to talk to someone to process them but usually no one else has read the book or I just don’t feel like finding someone to discuss (Twitter is really helpful with this sometimes though!). Have you read Nova Ren Suma’s other novels? I didn’t read this one yet but I feel like 17 & Gone and Imaginary Girls had similar shocking twists at the end.

  11. The ending can be very confusing, but I’ve read all of Suma’s previous works so I had a good idea of what to expect from her plot twist. I had to reread the ending, too. I think personal favorite thing about this book as a whole was the writing style and how different the worlds of ballet and prison life were. It didn’t feel disjointed the different worlds were able to flow and weave together. The thing I liked about the ending was how it left me thinking that at the end of the day all bad things that a person does find a way to pay them back. Of course, Suma took a literal way of showing this but it worked well for the story.