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Ryan's March 2015 pick, 2 of 2
The Walls Around Us, by Nova Ren Suma
I had the absolute pleasure of reading the manuscript of The Walls Around Us. This book is stunning in its execution, a brilliant, twirling, spinning novel that when completed, made me want to give a standing ovation and throw roses at its feet. The story - told in split narrations, three years apart yet happening simultaneously - is one that grasps the reader tightly and doesn't let go until the very end. Stop what you're doing and read this book right now. You won't regret it.
"With evocative language, a shifting timeline and more than one unreliable narrator, Suma subtly explores the balance of power between the talented and the mediocre, the rich and the poor, the brave and the cowardly… To reveal more would be to uncover the bloody heart that beats beneath the floorboards of this urban-legend-tinged tale." —The New York Times "The Walls Around Us passionately testifies to the ways in which girls are walled up, held down, fenced in. It's a gorgeously written, spellbinding ghost story. . . Nova Ren Suma's prose hums with such power and fury that when the explosions do happen, they seem unavoidable." —Chicago Tribune "Unputdownable . . . the well-paced plot reveals guilt, innocence, and dark truths that will not stay hidden." —The Boston Globe "Mixing mystery and supernatural elements, this book is ridden with lyrical prose and will keep you guessing the truth right up until the very end." —Bustle.com "Intense and haunting . . . This story is told in line after line of beautifully crafted prose that sear themselves into the reader's mind. Revelations seep out in an almost abstract way that sneaks up on you, then suddenly the truth is out and knocking you sideways. A stunning, unforgettable, and ghostly tale from start to finish." —San Francisco Book Review "Suma excels in creating surreal, unsettling stories with vivid language, and this psychological thriller is no exception. Along the way, Suma also makes a powerful statement about the ease with which guilt can be assumed and innocence awarded, not only in the criminal justice system, but in our hearts—in the stories we tell ourselves. A fabulous, frightening read." —Booklist, starred review "The wholly realistic view of adolescents meeting the criminal justice system is touched at first with the slimmest twist of an otherworldly creepiness, escalating finally to the truly hair-raising and macabre. Eerie, painful and beautifully spine-chilling." —Kirkus Reviews, starred review "This haunting and evocative tale of magical realism immerses readers in two settings that seem worlds apart . . . Suma’s unflinchingly honest depiction of the potentially destructive force of female friendship and skillful blending of gritty realism with supernatural elements is reminiscent of Laurie Halse Anderson’s Wintergirls, and the eerie mood she evokes is unnervingly potent." —School Library Journal, starred review "In lyrical, authoritative prose, Suma weaves the disparate lives of [the] three girls into a single, spellbinding narrative that explores guilt, privilege, and complicity with fearless acuity. . . The twisting, ghostly tale of Ori’s life, death, and redemption is unsettling and entirely engrossing." —The Horn Book Magazine, starred review "Gratifyingly disturbing . . . Suma craftily sets the two stories against one another, moving between Violet’s fiercely grounded account and Amber’s hauntingly destabilized one, enticing readers to figure out how the pieces go together." —Bulletin for the Center for Children’s Books, starred review "Powerful . . . The compelling narrative, written in scintillating prose and featuring incredibly real characters, brings the two stories together in an explosive finale with a supernatural twist that results in a satisfying resolution." —VOYA, starred review "Gripping. . . Just try to put this down." —Shelf Awareness for Readers, starred review "A suspenseful tour de force, a ghost story of the best sort, the kind that creeps into your soul and haunts you." —Libba Bray, author of The Diviners and A Great and Terrible Beauty "Fearlessly imagined and deliciously sinister, The Walls Around Us is hypnotic, luring the reader deeper and deeper into its original, shocking narrative." —Michelle Hodkin, The Mara Dyer Trilogy "Written in luscious and deliciously creepy prose not easy to forget…This is a story about guilt and innocence, about secrets and how deep we let people into those places within us, and it’s a story about how the past can define our present, even if we try desperately to keep that past under wraps. Put it on your radars now; this is an outstanding literary young adult novel more than worth the wait." —Book Riot
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