PURCHASE:Amazon | Book Depository
“Ori’s dead because of what happened out behind the theater, in the tunnel made out of trees. She’s dead because she got sent to that place upstate, locked up with those monsters. And she got sent there because of me.”
The Walls Around Us is a ghostly story of suspense told in two voices—one still living and one long dead. On the outside, there’s Violet, an eighteen-year-old dancer 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.
We hear Amber’s story and Violet’s, and through them Orianna’s, first from one angle, then from another, until gradually we begin to get the whole picture—which is not necessarily the one that either Amber or Violet wants us to see.
I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review.
I want to start off by saying that in the hands of the right reader, this will be one well loved book but it seems I wasn’t the right reader. I started off this book being so so sure it would be a 5 star read for me. It had the right amount of mindfuckery and just made me really excited because I adore creepy/bizarre books. If you think I am going to say that this got too creepy or bizarre for me, you would be wrong. I think what went wrong with this book, at least for me as a reader, was that I stopped liking the story.
It’s not that the author doesn’t have absolutely gorgeous writing or that the book is incredibly atmospheric, because both of those things are true, it’s just that I didn’t care for the story itself. It didn’t work because it didn’t make sense to me. I, by nature, am an incredibly curious person so being left with so many questions and so many things that didn’t add up made me feel incredibly disappointed when I finished this book.
Vee and Amber are the two narrators of the story and both are incredibly relatable. One of the problems, for me, at least was that Vee wasn’t really supposed to be likeable and yet I liked her because I could relate to her. Everything that happens, all of her actions, seem to be a result of her being bullied and yet everything points at her being a terrible person. It made me sad because while I didn’t condone anything that Vee did, I felt like there was more to the picture.
Her friend, Ori, was a character we were meant to like but I never liked her. Ori is this picture perfect character. Super nice, loyal, popular(ish), fantastic dancer, and obviously, she is perfect without thinking she is (because of her past and her low self-esteem). Such perfectness made it hard for me to emphatize with her. I could relate to Vee but not to Ori and I think that was also one of the reasons why I had a hard time completely getting behind the story.
Amber’s storyline on the other hand though… That is where all the awesome was. It was told in the point of view of ‘we’ (for the most part) and we get to see what life was like at this juvenile detention center. The way all of this is set up, the dynamics between the girls and the center itself, it’s incredible. It’s fantastic and it really makes this book so atmospheric.
Right off the bat, there is something weird about the way Amber tells her side of the story that makes you think she is unreliable. She may seem perfectly normal but the more you dig deeper, the more truths come crawling out from underneath.
This is where the supernatural aspect of the story comes in and it’s one of the other reasons why the story didn’t work for me. I wasn’t surprised but I wasn’t expecting it. That sounds weird, I know, but I don’t know how else to put it. I guess it would be more appropriate to say that I didn’t *want* it. I didn’t want this story to have a supernatural aspect. I just wanted it to be mundane off the chart creepiness, not influenced by some outside source. The lack of explanations also made it harder for me to adjust to the supernatural aspect. It almost seemed like the supernatural aspect was natural and I wish it was either done differently or I don’t know. It’s so hard to explain!!
One of my major problems, the last straw for me, was the ending (ha!). The ending was not what I expected at all. It was definitely creepy but the way things turn around afterwards, the way certain things were changed without any explanations, the way there was no real build up to it, bothered me. I was so confused by it and so thrown off and so disappointed. I had been counting on the ending to be the factor that would redeem the book for me. Obviously that didn’t happen because right now, I am sitting here, forcing myself to write this sad review and trying not to gorge on my bag of kit kat minis.
If you’re curious about this book though and fell put off by my review, go look at some positive reviews before making a final decision. This book may not have been for me but it could be for you so don’t just miss out on the awesome creeptastic atmosphere of this book because some girl you follow said it didn’t work out for her!
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