The Walls Around Us is an intriguing thriller that knows how to reveal a plot twist and expertly keep the reader guessing. The story is told from dual points of view. This works incredibly well, especially because both voices are linked to Orianna Speerling: ex-ballerina and convicted murderer of two, and each page adds a new clue, a new question, to the mystery of what went wrong: who killed the girls in the alleyway? What happened that August? Why is the number forty-two so important? The answers are all revealed through a supernatural twist ending that will have readers gasping like a landed fish.
This novel is a complicated. The narrators are two very different girls with one thing in common: Orianna Speerling. Violet is a privileged and talented ballerina; Amber is a criminal, the eavesdropping outcast of the Aurora Hills Secure Juvenile Detention Centre. One is alive, one dead. Convicted for the murder of two girls on the night she was supposed to dance the Firebird, Orianna Speerling (Ori) was Violet’s best friend, Amber’s cellmate and, as Amber constantly reminds us, Number 42 at the detention centre. From the first chapter, the first sentence, of this novel it is impossible to stop reading: it is passionate and confusing, addictive, fast-paced, and dark. It is a thrilling mystery of a novel; a novel of crime, justice, mistakes, lies, memories, forgiveness, hatred. The Walls Around Us keeps you guessing for over two-hundred pages, keeps you in the dark about who the narrators really are, about what happened to Aurora Hills that August, about what happened in the alley behind the theatre, about why it is significant that Ori is Number 42, and about what Amber did to be sent to Aurora Hills. Covering many different stories with a common theme-juvenile crime and the Aurora Hills Detention centre-The Walls Around Us tracks Ori’s life before during and after the month she arrived, without her narrating a single word. It shows how she affects those around her and how people are affected. their surroundings-whether those surroundings are an upper-middle-class family home and a ballet studio or an isolated detention centre. This book is a joy to read and attempt to untangle and both protagonists are complex and secretive, mysterious and real, powerful and heartbreaking, guilty and innocent, confusing and terrifying. It is impossible to put down and yet another book where I could not stop highlighting/underlining things! If you look at my e-copy of this book there are underlines everywhere!
I definitely recommend this to just about anyone but especially to those who find joy in attempting to solve a mystery or working their way through a web of dishonesty. Fans of E. Lockhart’s We Were Liars, Maureen McCarthy’s Rose by Any Other Name, Kim Kane and Marion Roberts’s Cry Blue Murder and Courtney Summers’s Some Girls Are and Cracked Up To Be will enjoy this book as will anyone who loves to read anything a little bit creepy or confusing.