The Walls Around Us
Nova Ren Suma
Genre: Magical Realism
Bang Bang Rating
This book is a different twist in the common theme of choices. One choice can change our lives and this book included three very different girls who made vastly different choice.
Vee symbolizes many girls and women. She envies her best friend Ori. Ballet comes to Ori easily but Vee has to work extra hard for it. Ori gets the lead, the Firebird, while Vee is in the background. Everyone likes Ori but no one likes Vee. Ori is poor, her mother abandoned her, her father is absent, she goes to public school, and she Black or Latina (the book never specifies). Vee is White, privileged, attends private school, and has two parents. Vee thinks she’s better than Ori but she never says it out loud because good girls don’t do that.
Then Ori gets a boyfriend who loves her and Vee wants someone too but Vee makes a bad choice with a football player and her envy/hatred of Ori causes the unthinkable.
The other part of the story is set in a girls correctional facility with Amber. who is in prison for murder. Is she innocent? What choices did and do Amber make?
I can’t say too much because I don’t want to spoil the plot but if you do decide to read it, and I hope you do, please keep in mind that this is magical realism and you have to make your mind go there in order to get it.
There are all kinds of symbolism going on and I encourage you to read this with a friend so you can discuss it.
I thought this story was haunting and relatable for many girls and women. We all experience envy and we don’t say anything because it’s unlady like. What separates us from the Vees is that we choose to not let envy consume us.
I think this is the type of book the Printz committee likes because of its voice and nuance. I think this is a Printz contender.