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Young girl attempts to escape dark past in new thriller

Brooklyn BookBeat

November 1, 2018 Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Author Nova Ren Suma. Photo by Alison Cherry
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Master storyteller Nova Ren Suma revealed a new depth to her literary prowess last month with her No. 1 New York Times bestseller “The Walls Around Us,” which has been celebrated by readers and critics alike for its complicated characters, eerie setting and haunting prose.

In Suma’s gripping and highly-anticipated new book a young woman with a dark past seeks shelter in a refuge for troubled girls, only to find her new home and its residents have secrets even darker and more sinister than her own.

The story’s protagonist, 17-year-old Bina, has never forgotten the time she and her mother ran away from home. Her mother had promised they would hitchhike to the city to escape Bina’s cruel father, but before they could leave town, Bina suddenly had a new stepfather and two stepsisters. Living in a home that didn’t feel like a home, with sisters who tormented her, Bina rebelled, creating elaborate lies that ruined her mother’s trust — and her own sense of truth and fiction.

Eight years later, after too many lies and with trouble on her heels, Bina finds herself on the side of the road yet again, headed to the city where her mother once chased her own dreams. She has an old suitcase, a fresh black eye and a plan to stay at the same young women’s residence where her mother stayed as a teen.  

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When Bina arrives, the residents of Catherine House have been expecting her, and the portrait of the building’s namesake has eyes that follow her wherever she goes. Bina is drawn to her enigmatic neighbor Monet, a girl who is equal parts intriguing and dangerous. As Bina’s monthlong lease nears its end and nightmares and memories get tangled, she is forced to face the terrible truth of why she has come to Catherine House and what it will take for her to leave.

With unreliable narrators who inhabit spaces as haunted as their pasts, “A Room Away From the Wolves” is sure to reinforce her reputation as the pre-eminent contemporary author of YA literary thrillers.

“A Room Away from the Wolves” received seven starred reviews, was a finalist for an Edgar Award, and was named to “Best of the Year” lists by NPR, The Boston Globe and Horn Book, among many others.

Numa is the author of the No. 1 New York Times bestselling “The Walls Around Us,” a finalist for an Edgar Award. She also wrote “Imaginary Girls” and “17 & Gone” and is co-creator of “FORESHADOW: A Serial YA Anthology.” She has an MFA in fiction from Columbia University and teaches at Vermont College of Fine Arts. She grew up in the Hudson Valley, spent most of her adult life in New York City and now lives in Philadelphia.


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