Walls Around Us
by Suma, Nova Ren

Orianna and Violet are ballet dancers and best friends, but when the ballerinas who have been harassing Violet are murdered, Orianna is accused of the crime and sent to a juvenile detention center where she meets Amber.

*Starred Review* "We were alive. I remember it that way. We were still alive, and we couldn't make heads or tails of the darkness, so we couldn't see how close we were to the end." Spoken by Amber from inside the secure juvenile-detention center that has been her home for years, these chilling words foreshadow her terrible secret, the one she can't even admit to herself. As Amber's story of how Orianna, the "Bloody Ballerina," became her cell mate unfolds, another ballerina takes the stage with her own dark tale to tell. Eighteen-year-old Violet, a Juilliard dancer, is haunted by a secret relating to the time her best friend, Orianna, killed two girls, went to prison, and died. Intensity and dread build as the girls' stories coil and uncoil around each other, revealing the sinister truth in a startling, fantastical final twist. 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. Copyright 2014 Booklist Reviews.

The intertwined stories of two teenage girls: a convicted killer and a Juilliard-bound ballerina. Amber's an inmate at Aurora Hills Secure Juvenile Detention Center, with a story to tell about the night the doors all opened at the prison. Violet's a dancer bound for New York City and artistic success. The girls have secrets, and each takes the chance to let tidbits of truth slip into her narrative, each using her own unique and identifiable voice in alternating chapters. Amber rarely speaks only for herself, identifying almost exclusively with the other prisoners. "Some of us knew for sure," she solemnly explains, speaking collectively. "Some of us kept track of days." Violet, on the other hand, is deeply self-absorbed, worried over the three-years-past death of her incarcerated best friend but only for how it affects her and her chance at Juilliard. As the girls' stories unfold, it becomes increasingly clear that Amber's and Violet's musings occur three years apart—yet are nonetheless intimately connected. The wholly realistic view of adolescents meeting the criminal justice system (with a heartbreaking contrast portrayed between the treatment of a wealthy girl and that of her poor multiracial friend) 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. (Supernatural suspense. 15-17) Copyright Kirkus 2015 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

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