The Walls Around Us is a ghostly story of suspense told in two voices—one still living and one long dead. 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 a girls’ juvenile detention center, there’s Amber, locked up for so long she can’t imagine freedom. Tying these two worlds together is Orianna, who holds the key to unlocking all the girls’ darkest mysteries.
We hear Amber’s story and Violet’s, and through them Orianna’s, first from one angle, then from another, until gradually we begin to get the whole picture—which is not necessarily the one that either Amber or Violet wants us to see.
This novel is haunting and extremely well-written. For a young adult novel, it’s provoking and unique and engaging, and Nova has done an exceptional job at crafting this story. The cover art is amazing – the colours really invite the reader in. Although, that being said, the cover art doesn’t actually give any indication on what the book is about and may put off some readers. The storyline is different, and all of the different POVs weave together towards the end to give the reader an ‘Ahhh’ moment (or many moments). There are multiple twists that the reader is blindsided by, and when the reader thinks they know what’s happened or how the three characters are connected, something happens and they doubt their reading of the book.
The best part about this novel is definitely the writing style. Nova’s writing is fluid and believable. The premise is interesting, and I feel that a novel set in a female juvenile detention centre (especially for the young adult genre) hasn’t really been done before. Well done to Nova for finding the gap in the YA market and filling it. The chapters are a good length, and they end on such a suspenseful sentence each time. I kept wanting to take a break after reading a chapter, but found myself turning the page until I’d read the whole story.
Now I have to talk about the negatives. Sometimes the storylines seem a little scattered, and the opening few pages of the novel make it seem a little dystopian. It took a couple of pages before I fully comprehended what was happening. Also, let’s not mention how CONFUSING the ending is. Was anyone else confused? I had to reread it a few times to attempt to understand it. It’s one of those endings where you think you understand it, but deep down you know you’re probably wrong. Lastly, the twist involving the murder of the two girls behind the theatre is a little predictable, and I think Nova gave away too much information about that earlier in the novel.
I’d recommend this novel for any reader, even if you don’t usually read young adult. I received an ecopy of this novel from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
My Score: 8/10