cover image The Walls Around Us

The Walls Around Us

Nova Ren Suma. Algonquin Young Readers, $17.95 (336p) ISBN 978-1-61620-372-6

At first glance, Amber and Violet have nothing in common. Amber, imprisoned at Aurora Hills juvenile detention center for her role in the death of her stepfather, spends her days dreaming of the momentary freedom she and the other inmates experienced when a summer storm knocked out power to their cells. Violet, a ballet dancer on her way to Juilliard, has a long, free life ahead of her%E2%80%94were it not for the guilt drawing her toward Aurora Hills. Their connection comes through a third girl, Ori, who became Amber's new cellmate after the storm, and who was sent to Aurora Hills because of what she did to protect Violet. Suma (17 & Gone) interweaves past and present with a haunting sense of unease, drawing readers onward with well-executed suspense and the compelling voices of her two narrators. The occasional vagaries of the plot are more than redeemed by the strength of the prose, and a startling final twist brings the three girls to a satisfying, if unorthodox, kind of justice. Ages 14%E2%80%93up. Agent: Michael Bourret, Dystel & Goderich Literary Management. (Mar.)