For every book we read during the YA book club, we try to write a review. This way anyone who couldn’t be there, can still join in on the fun! Saskia den Ouden is our main reviewer for the book club books, judging all that we have picked. This month: The Walls Around Us by Nova Ren Suma.

There are three girls: Violet, who is a ballet dancer; Amber, who is in a juvenile detention center; and Orianna (a.k.a Ori), who ties the two together.

Amber has been in Aurora Hills detention center for killing her mother’s husband. She has been there so long, she might as well have always been there.

Violet, on the other hand, has been balleting her butt off, trying to be the best, getting into Julliard. What she doesn’t tell anyone is that she’s responsible for getting her best friend Ori sent to Aurora Hills, where she subsequently died.

The Walls Around Us is a supernatural mystery novel set in the two time periods Amber and Violet live in. The one that happened three years ago and the now. It involves a lot of criminal girls, bitchy ballet girls, female friendship, blame, innocence, and spookiness.

Neither of the main characters are nice people. However, Ren Suma writes them in such a way that you can’t help but care at least a little. Her descriptions of events are detailed, but just enough that it keeps its mysterious vibe. Especially in the beginning of the novel, it’s really exciting to see what happens and to find out how Amber and Violet are connected by Orianna.

Right up until the ending the novel stays exciting, until it kind of collapses in on itself at the end there. The reveal and the supernatural elements reach the end of the reader’s suspension of disbelief and that’s kind of a bummer.

However, it is a page turner and it’s really nice to hate on some characters for a change, where the author is clearly hating them right there with you.

Interested in reading The Walls Around Us?

The Walls Around Us by Nova Ren SumaYou can buy it at Bookdepository or at

We also made some recommendations for further reading for anyone who liked The Walls Around Us and wants more!


I like to complain about dumb teenagers, but I eat up their literature like it’s going out of style. In my free time I rage against various systems and drink too much coffee (the two may possibly be related).

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