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Publisher Description

“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 is a ghostly story of suspense told in two voices--one still living and one dead. On the outside, there’s Violet, an eighteen-year-old ballerina 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: 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?


“A gorgeously written, spellbinding ghost story.” Chicago Tribune

"Unputdownable . . . the well-paced plot reveals guilt, innocence, and dark truths that will not stay hidden." The Boston Globe

“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
#1 Spring 2015 Kids’ Indie Next List Pick
A Junior Library Guild Selection


Young Adult
March 24
Algonquin Books
Workman Publishing Co., Inc.
Grades 9-12

Customer Reviews

cob1331 ,

A downright disturbing, compelling, and deliciously entertaining read

Received a copy from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Apparently this is the tagline on the street: “Orange is the New Black Swan.” YES. Spot. On.

THE WALLS AROUND US is a downright disturbing, compelling, and deliciously entertaining read. Nova Ren Suma is a beautiful storyteller. The way she constructed the mystery made the book un-put-downable. I had to solve the puzzle–had to know what happened to these girls. The juxtaposition of two very intense and often volatile environments: prison and the ballet world–pure brilliance. Add the fact that these are teenage girls to the mix and you’re in for one hell of ride and an even more satisfying conclusion. A truly unique story. Well worth a read!

Zakhary_A ,


Fantastic and enthralling.

Purplekid39 ,

Didn’t have to buy it to read the whole book 🤷🏼‍♀️

I downloaded the sample and it immediately gave me the entire book. It even still had the flag on the cover picture that said “sample”. Not sure why; but I ain’t complainin👌🏼 The book was kind of dark but I still felt drawn to finish it. 3 Stars just because of the dark element and it was slow in some places. The ending was satisfying though.

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