I've seen The Walls Around Us compared to the movie Black Swan, and now that I've turned the last page I have to concede the comparison is justified. What made Black Swan so compelling was its unsettling juxtaposition of the ethereal beauty of ballet with cutthroat brutality, and Nova Ren Suma makes use of the same combination in this forthcoming young adult novel.
Violet is a ballerina, and a good one. She's landed the biggest solo in the showcase and is heading to Juilliard in the fall. Amber is a juvenile delinquent, imprisoned upstate since she was thirteen. Connecting them, somehow, is a girl named Orianna, though who she is and what part she plays in their lives isn't clear at first.
Many sections of the book feel like dream sequences, as if we can't really trust what the narrators are telling us, or maybe they can't trust their own perception of reality. It's a dark, creepy meditation on guilt and innocence, with tutus and tights, simmering anger and sharp edges.
There's no rage like the rage of a teenage girl.
With regards to Algonquin Books and NetGalley for the advance copy. On sale March 24.
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