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A Room Away From the Wolves

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Bina has never forgotten the time she and her mother ran away from home. Her mother promised they would hitchhike to the city to escape Bina’s cruel father and start over. But before they could even leave town, Bina had a new stepfather and two new stepsisters, and a humming sense of betrayal pulling apart the bond with her mother—a bond Bina thought was unbreakable. Eight Bina has never forgotten the time she and her mother ran away from home. Her mother promised they would hitchhike to the city to escape Bina’s cruel father and start over. But before they could even leave town, Bina had a new stepfather and two new stepsisters, and a humming sense of betrayal pulling apart the bond with her mother—a bond Bina thought was unbreakable. Eight years later, after too many lies and with trouble on her heels, Bina finds herself on the side of the road again, the city of her dreams calling for her. She has an old suitcase, a fresh black eye, and a room waiting for her at Catherine House, a young women’s residence in Greenwich Village with a tragic history, a vow of confidentiality, and dark, magical secrets. There, Bina is drawn to her enigmatic downstairs neighbor Monet, a girl who is equal parts intriguing and dangerous. As Bina’s lease begins to run out, and nightmare and memory get tangled, she will be forced to face the terrible truth of why she’s come to Catherine House and what it will take for her to leave...


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Bina has never forgotten the time she and her mother ran away from home. Her mother promised they would hitchhike to the city to escape Bina’s cruel father and start over. But before they could even leave town, Bina had a new stepfather and two new stepsisters, and a humming sense of betrayal pulling apart the bond with her mother—a bond Bina thought was unbreakable. Eight Bina has never forgotten the time she and her mother ran away from home. Her mother promised they would hitchhike to the city to escape Bina’s cruel father and start over. But before they could even leave town, Bina had a new stepfather and two new stepsisters, and a humming sense of betrayal pulling apart the bond with her mother—a bond Bina thought was unbreakable. Eight years later, after too many lies and with trouble on her heels, Bina finds herself on the side of the road again, the city of her dreams calling for her. She has an old suitcase, a fresh black eye, and a room waiting for her at Catherine House, a young women’s residence in Greenwich Village with a tragic history, a vow of confidentiality, and dark, magical secrets. There, Bina is drawn to her enigmatic downstairs neighbor Monet, a girl who is equal parts intriguing and dangerous. As Bina’s lease begins to run out, and nightmare and memory get tangled, she will be forced to face the terrible truth of why she’s come to Catherine House and what it will take for her to leave...

30 review for A Room Away From the Wolves

  1. 5 out of 5

    Emily May

    2 1/2 stars. I tried so very hard to love this book, but I really struggled with it. Nova Ren Suma's writing and stories are always somewhere between gorgeous and completely what-the-actual-fuck bonkers. Despite its weirdness, I really enjoyed The Walls Around Us, but I confess that was the first of her books I was able to finish. This one, I feel, was so hard to get through because I spent the majority of the story clueless as to what was going on. It's really hard to become invested in a story a 2 1/2 stars. I tried so very hard to love this book, but I really struggled with it. Nova Ren Suma's writing and stories are always somewhere between gorgeous and completely what-the-actual-fuck bonkers. Despite its weirdness, I really enjoyed The Walls Around Us, but I confess that was the first of her books I was able to finish. This one, I feel, was so hard to get through because I spent the majority of the story clueless as to what was going on. It's really hard to become invested in a story arc when you have no idea where it's going, or what questions you should be asking. A Room Away from the Wolves presents us with what feels like a random mishmash of dropped clues and flashbacks, magical realism aspects, and - unless I am just confused, which is entirely possible - a lot of loose ends. It starts with Bina being kicked out of her house by her mother, who trusts her new husband and his daughters over her own daughter. Bina is supposed to go stay with a friend but she instead decides to run away to New York City and find the mysterious Catherine House from her mother's stories. But... who is Catherine? Is something supernatural going on at the creepy boarding house? And what, exactly, happened to Bina before she came here? Thrilling in concept; slow in execution. Much patience is required in order to get answers, and I'm just not really the kind of reader who can put up with anything for some big payoff. If I have to be bored for a couple hundred pages before I get to the goods, it's pretty much always going to be too little, too late. I can't even decide if there were a number of threads that went nowhere, or if I was actually supposed to understand something about them but missed it because the plot was so confusing and all over the place. Still, it is creepy and atmospheric. I'm sure more patient or smarter readers than I will appreciate it. Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Youtube

  2. 5 out of 5

    Kelly

    As soon as I finished this, I flipped it back to the beginning to reread. This is a story about girls, about ghosts, and about our connections to the material things of the world (including the relationships we hold onto, even when we know we shouldn't). But, like all of Suma's books, when you come to the end and realize what she's done, you're mesmerized and curious as to just..HOW. The writing is lush and perfect, and even though New York City doesn't instill a lot of romantic feelings for me, As soon as I finished this, I flipped it back to the beginning to reread. This is a story about girls, about ghosts, and about our connections to the material things of the world (including the relationships we hold onto, even when we know we shouldn't). But, like all of Suma's books, when you come to the end and realize what she's done, you're mesmerized and curious as to just..HOW. The writing is lush and perfect, and even though New York City doesn't instill a lot of romantic feelings for me, this book captures a tiny slice of city and the magic it holds.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Acqua

    4.5 stars A Room Away From the Wolves is an atmospheric, unique story set in an old boarding house in New York City. It follows a bisexual Jewish girl who is trying to leave behind an abusive home situation. This is an odd, quiet, slow-paced gem of a book, unlike everything I had ever read before, and surprisingly difficult to review. I almost feel like I should reread this to do it justice, to absorb it better, but for now I'll write how I feel about it at the moment. If you're always looking for 4.5 stars A Room Away From the Wolves is an atmospheric, unique story set in an old boarding house in New York City. It follows a bisexual Jewish girl who is trying to leave behind an abusive home situation. This is an odd, quiet, slow-paced gem of a book, unlike everything I had ever read before, and surprisingly difficult to review. I almost feel like I should reread this to do it justice, to absorb it better, but for now I'll write how I feel about it at the moment. If you're always looking for weird YA books, especially if you like atmospheric stories with a mystery element, I definitely recommend A Room Away From the Wolves. I feel like I could describe it as Vassa in the Night meets The Gallery of Unfinished Girls, because it has some things in common with these books (which are two of my favorite books of all times; I read this one just because it reminded me of them), but it's entirely its own thing, its own kind of weird. However, if you're the kind of reader who likes well-defined plotlines or even just clear answers, I want to point out that you'll find none of them here. A Room Away From the Wolves is a story about moving on and second chances from the point of view of a very unreliable narrator who is deeply in denial. I really liked reading about Bina. She is a lost girl who almost feels as if she's trapped out of time, and her narration reflects that. She feels distant, she doesn't question things the average narrator - or even the reader - would, she doesn't feel real. Usually this wouldn't be a good thing, I would say that the heavy writing overshadowed the characters and their development, but that's not what happened here. The distance is intentional, and it adds to the story and the mystery. (view spoiler)[It makes sense to me because at the end it's revealed that she wasn't exactly... alive the whole time, and she isn't quite a real girl anymore. Just real enough for her to have another chance. (hide spoiler)] Everything about this book is intentionally ambiguous, and in a way it works. I have a weakness for stories about magical buildings, especially if their magic affects the way time works. Here, I saw something similar, and I loved everything about the magical aspects. Another thing I really appreciated was the lack of explicit romance, even though I totally believe Bina and Monet's relationship wasn't completely platonic. Seeing the open ending, I have all my theories about their futures. Also: all relevant characters were women, and I liked that. I loved this book. The only reason it's a 4.5 and not a full five is the fact that - unlike the two other very weird books I mentioned before - it didn't make sense emotionally. It's difficult to describe without spoiling, but this is the kind of mystery book with a really interesting plot twist that, instead of making you see the story in a whole new light and making you understand the message, just confuses you further. Cool plot twist (which I suspected, by the way), now what's the point? Maybe rereading this I would see everything differently, but that vague conclusion - while consistent with the tone of the whole story - wasn't really satisfying to me. I recommend this to those who like books about complex mother-daughter bonds, stories with no romance, and lyrical, atmospheric writing. [Trigger warnings for: suicide attempts, suicidal ideation, parental abuse, abusive siblings, beatings]

  4. 4 out of 5

    Jessica Woodbury

    When I read Nova Ren Suma's first novel I had trouble settling in because her style is so unique, both real and surreal. It is hard to get your bearings in one of her books, but now I get that this is the joy of it. Her books are like impressionist paintings, looking like one thing up close and another from far away. This time I let myself relax and enjoy myself, which worked much better. She and I will never be a perfect fit, but it has nothing to do with the quality of her work, which is fanta When I read Nova Ren Suma's first novel I had trouble settling in because her style is so unique, both real and surreal. It is hard to get your bearings in one of her books, but now I get that this is the joy of it. Her books are like impressionist paintings, looking like one thing up close and another from far away. This time I let myself relax and enjoy myself, which worked much better. She and I will never be a perfect fit, but it has nothing to do with the quality of her work, which is fantastic.

  5. 5 out of 5

    The Nerd Daily

    Originally published on The Nerd Daily | Review by Nathalie DeFelice There’s something so beautiful about the way A Room Away From The Wolves is written. It’s a haunting, riveting, and oh so delightfully mysterious story to get lost in. Believe me, you will get lost in this story. The tension that builds as this story begins to unfold won’t let you put the book down until you’re tearing through the last page. This story is chaotic and yet not at the same time. You get to experience the story throu Originally published on The Nerd Daily | Review by Nathalie DeFelice There’s something so beautiful about the way A Room Away From The Wolves is written. It’s a haunting, riveting, and oh so delightfully mysterious story to get lost in. Believe me, you will get lost in this story. The tension that builds as this story begins to unfold won’t let you put the book down until you’re tearing through the last page. This story is chaotic and yet not at the same time. You get to experience the story through the eyes of Bina, a young woman who has just been kicked out of the house by her mother, with nothing but a suitcase in tow and a mysterious black eye. Betrayed by the only family member that she had left, Bina decides she will go to New York City. It’s a town she’s dreamed of since she and her mother tried running away from her father. She decides to go to Catherine House, a home for young woman with a very…odd set of rules to abide by. Charmed by the stories that her mother told, she’s sure that this is the place for her. It’s at Catherine House that she meets Monet, a young woman with more secrets than a grave, and many of the strange tenants that live at the house. Throughout this story, we’re plagued with the feeling that something is amiss. However, neither Bina or the reader will be able to pinpoint exactly what the issue is. Is Catherine House haunted, or is Bina simply going out of her mind? More importantly, it seems that leaving the house might be a little harder than simply walking out the front doors. This was an amazing story to read, and increasingly infuriating with each page turn. I loved each of the characters, and was left with so many questions about them. I loved Bina’s character. Reader’s will get a chance to delve deep into Bina’s psyche, personality, and the things that really drive her to do the things that she does. You’ll have this innate sense that she’s been hurt, but you’ll work to like her at the same time. Monet’s character will intrigue and frustrate you, because by far, she is seemingly the most unpredictable character in this entire story. The plot itself is very unpredictable too. There are so many moments that reader will have the sense that we’re in this spooky ghost story, and then take us in a completely different direction—almost like a descent into madness. At least, that’s how it made me feel while I read it. I’d love to know what other readers will sense as they read this story. The use of colour in this story was beautiful, from Monet’s wigs, to the descriptions that Nova Ren Suma uses to talk about some of the things happening in the book. They make things vivid, like watching a painting being made. Picking a favourite character in this story was hard for me. I wasn’t in love with any of the characters when I started, but I think it was because Nova Ren Suma doesn’t portray these characters as saints. They’re flawed, imperfect, and are showing us a side of people that’s normally hidden away deep in the recesses of our souls. I felt sorry for Bina as I got to see more of the progression of her character, and by the end of the story, I had a deep appreciation of her. I liked Monet a lot, the enigmatic soul that she is and how no one really knew what she was about. Some of the aspects of this story that I wished the reader got more of were the interactions with some of the other tenants of Catherine House. They’re all wrapped in so much mystery, which is fine, but we see little toward resolving or understanding the situations that these other girls are in. I want to know the circumstances of how they came to be at Catherine House, especially Lacey and Amalji. The story teases and hints at little morsels of their stories, but we don’t get to see a full picture, just scattered fragments here and there. I also wanted more interactions with Monet, but that’s just a personal opinion. I felt that their interactions were very short, but they develop into these obsessions with each other very quickly. Although these are some of the things that I felt I needed more of, I don’t think it detracts from the story. It merely adds to the mysterious and haunted quality that the story has. This story was a 10/10 for me! However, a warning to those who are easily triggered as there is abuse portrayed in this story, and although it is not graphic, it was definitely impactful.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Vicky Who Reads

    4 stars I really enjoyed this! It's such a solid read, and there's so much mystery and fictional history behind it, it's very cool. I'm not exactly sure how to describe the atmosphere of this book (but it has a really distinct atmosphere), so I'd say something like Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children crossed with The Dark Beneath the Ice by Amelinda Berube. It's sort of spooky, sort of mysterious, and all sorts of odd in between. There's all these mysterious things happening in the home fo 4 stars I really enjoyed this! It's such a solid read, and there's so much mystery and fictional history behind it, it's very cool. I'm not exactly sure how to describe the atmosphere of this book (but it has a really distinct atmosphere), so I'd say something like Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children crossed with The Dark Beneath the Ice by Amelinda Berube. It's sort of spooky, sort of mysterious, and all sorts of odd in between. There's all these mysterious things happening in the home for girls, with the creepy portraits that move to the spirit-summoning rituals to the ghosts showing up. Suma is such an awesome writer. Really. She's great at her craft, and the way she assembles the novel is with purpose, which I really enjoyed. It was nice reading a well-written book and one that makes sense and was well-plotted, compared to some of the messier novels out there. You can tell Suma spent a lot of time fine tuning this, and it really shows. But, I also wasn't super into the main character. She was cool and although I didn't dislike her, I also just didn't care about her either. I was mostly apathetic to her and she was a means for me to finding out more on the story. I can barely remember her name (it's Bina), and although I really sympathized with her initial struggle (Suma does a good job of putting us in Bina's headspace as she's kicked out of home), I also felt like Bina didn't really portray the emotional turmoil and surprise and shock at paranormal happenings well. It's like some scenes lacked a certain level of intensity, which I was looking for and wanted from this novel. I wanted to be super invested, but with this, I was reading it to enjoy the craft more so than to be immersed in the story. I still loved the paranormalish aspect with Catharine, and the home for girls has a lot of secrets you'll discover as you read this book. It's always satisfying to uncover a mystery, and Suma just did a really good job of putting it all together. Plus, I enjoyed some of the other side characters and how the flashbacks were incorporated. Mona is such an interesting character with a lot of hidden depth, and I enjoyed how Suma built her. And the way the flashbacks/unreliable fuzzy moments were portrayed was something I really thought was incorporated well and smoothly. A Room Away from the Wolves is a really well-written book. I just wasn't invested too much in it. This was a really good and solid read, but I wasn't completely in love. I also don't think it was a bad book. It just wasn't 100% for me, which is why it isn't rated higher even though the craft and technique warrants a higher rating. For others, this could definitely have the potential to become a new favorite book, especially if this sounds intriguing to you. So I definitely recommend you check it out if this sounds cool to you! Thank you so much to Jean Book Nerd and Algonquin YR for sending me an early finished copy of this book in exchange for an honest review! Blog | Instagram | Twitter

  7. 5 out of 5

    Chelsea

    Not my favorite of her’s but damn, her writing so good. Some of those sentences she puts together...reminiscent of Laini Taylor. Very lyrical and the imagery is unparalleled. The story was...well, it was weird, which is to be expected from her but it wasn’t dark. I think The Walls Around Us hit with enough punch and eeriness to keep me hooked. This one didn’t have the oomph I wasn’t looking for. But did I mention her writing?

  8. 5 out of 5

    Holly

    I just. I'm so confused. Can someone please explain what actually happened to me? Because omg, I don't get the ending. (view spoiler)[Was it magic? Was it death? WHAT WAS IT. (hide spoiler)] Do I even remember this book at all? No, because it left no impression on me. And that made me so sad considering how excited for this book I was. But I don't think I even liked this, because I spent most of the time wondering what the point of it was. Maybe I'm not smart enough for this type of story. Whate I just. I'm so confused. Can someone please explain what actually happened to me? Because omg, I don't get the ending. (view spoiler)[Was it magic? Was it death? WHAT WAS IT. (hide spoiler)] Do I even remember this book at all? No, because it left no impression on me. And that made me so sad considering how excited for this book I was. But I don't think I even liked this, because I spent most of the time wondering what the point of it was. Maybe I'm not smart enough for this type of story. Whatever the case, I thought it just didn't come together all that well, and I kept having to pick up the pieces only to wonder how they even fit and what Catherine House really is. Look, I just have a lot of questions, and we didn't get a lot of answers, and I think this was too open-ended for me. It had some pretty writing though. I thought that anger was very beautiful on a girl. RATING: 2 Paw Prints!

  9. 5 out of 5

    Kristi Housman Confessions of a YA Reader

    This is such an odd book and it’s hard to review without giving away the secrets. Bina’s mom makes her leave her home. She says it’s just for a month with friends, but Bina has another idea. She remembers stories her mom told her about a boarding house in New York. Her mom lived there while auditioning to be an actress. Her stories of freedom and having her own room appealed to Bina. After leaving her father, Bina’s mom met a man right away and moved in with him. He also had two daughters and Bi This is such an odd book and it’s hard to review without giving away the secrets. Bina’s mom makes her leave her home. She says it’s just for a month with friends, but Bina has another idea. She remembers stories her mom told her about a boarding house in New York. Her mom lived there while auditioning to be an actress. Her stories of freedom and having her own room appealed to Bina. After leaving her father, Bina’s mom met a man right away and moved in with him. He also had two daughters and Bina didn’t get along with them. There were lies and fights. Bina had enough and left after getting beat up at a party. When she arrived at The Catherine House, there was a girl that Bina was drawn to. Monet was different and she told stories like Bina did. There were rules in the house including a strict curfew and no men upstairs. The house started to almost feel alive. Catherine’s ghost was there and the girls were determined to get her to speak to them. They believed Bina was the key. When away close to curfew, Bina could feel the house pulling her back. She didn’t see anyone prepare her food. And the girls started talking to her like she should know more than she did. Things were odd and I could figure out that this was a ghost story. But I wasn’t sure who or what was real. Parts of the story were a bit slow paced, but there were other parts that I didn’t want to put down. I couldn’t wait to get to the ending to figure out if I was right on anything that I thought. I gave this book 4 stars for a beautifully written ghost story. I loved the setting of The Catherine House. Thank you to the publisher for sending me a copy for review.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Catie

    3 1/2 stars This genre-bending, paranormal, realistic yet very trippy mystery is completely out of the box as per usual for Nova Ren Suma. It has rich, emotional writing and made me want to visit New York City again soon. However, the mystery itself lost me somewhere along the way. It felt like the key details were strewn haphazardly across the story, leaving me to pick them up at random. I wanted the reveal to be tighter and more strategic – I wanted the tension to build in a purposeful way and 3 1/2 stars This genre-bending, paranormal, realistic yet very trippy mystery is completely out of the box as per usual for Nova Ren Suma. It has rich, emotional writing and made me want to visit New York City again soon. However, the mystery itself lost me somewhere along the way. It felt like the key details were strewn haphazardly across the story, leaving me to pick them up at random. I wanted the reveal to be tighter and more strategic – I wanted the tension to build in a purposeful way and then – AHA! I would step back from the mystery and everything would suddenly come into focus, leaving me stunned. The eventual reveal felt like a foregone conclusion, with no palpable tension at all. Still, I think that the premise and beautiful writing are sure to spark the interest of mystery-lovers, particularly those who already love Nova Ren Suma.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Melissa Sarno

    Haunting and beautifully written.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Crini

    *cries* because finally a new Nova book *cries some more*

  13. 5 out of 5

    Jennie

    So gorgeous and haunting. Nova Ren Suma is a treasure.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Andria

    A thoroughly gorgeous modern gothic that combines so many of the things I love in a book: runaways, an all-girl boarding house (evocative of a boarding school setting), New York City, complicated and fraught mother-daughter relationships, an unsettling atmosphere of steadily growing unease, lush and lovely prose, and oh yes GHOSTS. Sometimes it feels like Nova Ren Suma is writing specifically for me, she hits all the right marks.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Michelle (Pink Polka Dot Books)

    I need to think on this one for a while. My rating may change. I just chose 3 because it's in the middle and I'm feeling VERY in the middle and weird about this one. Also, if you know what the heck this was about-- please let me in on it!!

  16. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer

    Mooooody. Reviewed in the Sept/Oct 2018 issue of Horn Book.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Katherine Moore

    Full blog tour review post can be found here: http://kamoorephoto.booklikes.com/pos... This wonderful story has one step inside reality, and the other is deep inside somewhere quite otherworldly, which is also somewhere that Nova Ren Suma’s writing sits. Her writing is what gives this simple tale of a young girl ‘Bina’, who runs away from home to a boarding house in New York City, so much character, originality, and mystery. Bina and her mother fled their home once before, last time to escape her Full blog tour review post can be found here: http://kamoorephoto.booklikes.com/pos... This wonderful story has one step inside reality, and the other is deep inside somewhere quite otherworldly, which is also somewhere that Nova Ren Suma’s writing sits. Her writing is what gives this simple tale of a young girl ‘Bina’, who runs away from home to a boarding house in New York City, so much character, originality, and mystery. Bina and her mother fled their home once before, last time to escape her cruel father. They never made it beyond the home Bina has to share now with a stepfather and two stepsisters that eventually has become a new hell she’s decided she must escape on her own. Bruised inside and out, she feels betrayed and let down by her mom, and sees no other way. Eight years after her and mother once ran from her father, she heads for Catherine House, the place she heard so many stories about from her mom, and asks for the very room that she stayed in. From the moment Bina arrives in Greenwich Village, something is strange, and somehow connected to the opal ring her mother gave her, and to the original owner of the house, Catherine herself. I don’t want to go into too much explanation of the story because there would be too much given away. I’ll lead this by saying that if you like your stories served up on a platter, without beautiful prose laden with wonderful imagery, this may not be the book for you. Suma writes with so much mesmerizing imagery wrapped in every sentence, that you’ll miss half of the tale she’s written for you if you don’t dig a little deeper. This is a modern ghost story as well as a heart-breaking tale about the connection between mother and daughter, and how families make mistakes and let each other down. This part of the book is the guts of why Bina ends up Catherine House, and made me long for my own mom who is thousands of miles away. Bina feels betrayed by her mom and looks to her mother’s past for answers, but there’s so much that’s tragic about this; reading the book it felt like Bina carries such a weight for a young girl, but doesn’t truly complain. It’s especially tragic because her father has already let her down, and she’s now being bullied by her stepsisters. The other characters in the novel bring out all sorts of thoughts and memories for her: Monet is the girl in the room below, and is a fascinating character and one who Bina is drawn to, without explanation. She makes Bina question everything and gives her clues as to what is really happening. There are twists and portals and thrills in this novel that make it a page-turner, and it’s as beautiful as it is heart-wrenching. There’s some spookiness that might make you feel like you’re not alone when you’re reading this (maybe you’re not). *Bonus points: cats involved! *Trigger warning: suicidal ideation

  18. 5 out of 5

    Morgan Vega

    So I wanted to love this book, I really did, especially because I’m a fan of paranormal and magical realism. And because the main character Bina is bisexual. (She doesn’t identify with that particular word anywhere in the novel, but we know she’s attracted to both boys and girls.) I wanted it to be a five-star read. However, I needed more from this book, specifically more of the mystical and romantic elements. Basically the elements I most wanted to read. More than anything, I enjoyed the mysterio So I wanted to love this book, I really did, especially because I’m a fan of paranormal and magical realism. And because the main character Bina is bisexual. (She doesn’t identify with that particular word anywhere in the novel, but we know she’s attracted to both boys and girls.) I wanted it to be a five-star read. However, I needed more from this book, specifically more of the mystical and romantic elements. Basically the elements I most wanted to read. More than anything, I enjoyed the mysterious atmosphere—and mysterious plot points—of this book. Greenwich Village, Catherine House, even Bina’s stepdad’s house in the middle of nowhere surrounded by woods. Each setting had creepy (and some super creepy) details that I was here for. The atmosphere and setting (and the ghosts) honestly made this book for me. 👻 There were a lot of characters, but I didn’t get to know a single one of them well except for Bina and her mom. Even our sort-of-romantic-but-not-really interest Monet, another girl staying in Catherine House, wasn’t fully developed. Mysterious, yes. Developed, no. Disappointing, definitely. 😢 But I did appreciate how flawed, seriously flawed, Bina was. She stole, she vandalized, she lied, she got together with her stepsister’s boyfriend, and the list could go on. She wasn’t exactly likeable, sure, but I’m not a fan of too-likeable characters anyway. And, like you’ll see below, there were lots of almost brooding descriptions of Bina’s thoughts that really resonated with me. Last was the ending. I won’t spoil anything, but geez, it was not all I had hoped it would be. The magical realism elements took a confusing turn, and I didn’t get the on-the-page romance I NEEDED. All in all, though, it was an okay, solid read that I do recommend. The elements I liked kept this at three stars, and the elements I didn’t kept this from being four stars. FAVORITE QUOTES 🖤 “One by one, in quick succession, these thoughts struck me: She thinks my mother sent me here on purpose. She thinks I talked to a dead woman on the phone. Get up. Get out of the chair. Walk to the door. Get your suitcase. Go. But my body didn’t move. Only my mouth did.” 🖤 “The way she spoke made the sunny street dark for a moment. I heard the whistle of wind, as if I were back inside that gated garden, down on my knees in the dirt by the grave, where the city didn’t seem to touch.” 🖤 “The girls who lived in this house didn’t really have Monet’s back, not like I did. There was a point at which you threw your lot in with someone. There was a point when you were all in, and there was no scrambling out of it when you got scared, or found morals, or wanted to save your own skin.”

  19. 4 out of 5

    Shelley

    *Source* Library *Genre* Young Adult / Ghost Stories *Rating* 3.5 *Thoughts* Author Nova Ren Suma's A Room Away From the Wolves is a spellbinding ghost story set in a refuge for trouble girls deep in the heart of New York City. The story is told in the first person narrative by Sabina (Bina) Tremper a girl who has had a difficult life. She remembers her mother teaching her how to hitchhike. She also taught her how to cover up abuse she receives from her step-sisters, or shall I call them, step monst *Source* Library *Genre* Young Adult / Ghost Stories *Rating* 3.5 *Thoughts* Author Nova Ren Suma's A Room Away From the Wolves is a spellbinding ghost story set in a refuge for trouble girls deep in the heart of New York City. The story is told in the first person narrative by Sabina (Bina) Tremper a girl who has had a difficult life. She remembers her mother teaching her how to hitchhike. She also taught her how to cover up abuse she receives from her step-sisters, or shall I call them, step monsters? After being told to leave by her mother, Bina sees a dark tunnel with even more danger and darkness ahead. *Full Review @ Gizmos Reviews* http://gizmosreviews.blogspot.com/201...

  20. 4 out of 5

    Jessica

    I had heard such good things, but this just wasn't for me. It left me with too many questions, and I felt like either the supernatural elements needed to be played up and explained more, or the nonmagical elements needed to be. I felt like we got to know her mother, or at least, the version of her mother that Bina knew, more than Bina (the main character) herself.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Christy

    This book is smarter than I am and I am 200% ok with that.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Simant ♥ Flipping Through the Pages

    Full review on: FLIPPING THROUGH THE PAGES So, A Room Away from the Wolves is like the most confusing book.. ever.. for me. I am still not sure about my feelings. Did I hate it? Did I enjoy this? I seriously don’t have a clear answer to both these questions. For half of the book, I was like “wait, what’s happening? It’s so confusing” and for the other half, I was like “I can’t put it down. I have to know what’s going to happen”. This was my first read by Nova Ren Suma so I was not sure what to exp Full review on: FLIPPING THROUGH THE PAGES So, A Room Away from the Wolves is like the most confusing book.. ever.. for me. I am still not sure about my feelings. Did I hate it? Did I enjoy this? I seriously don’t have a clear answer to both these questions. For half of the book, I was like “wait, what’s happening? It’s so confusing” and for the other half, I was like “I can’t put it down. I have to know what’s going to happen”. This was my first read by Nova Ren Suma so I was not sure what to expect from her writing. I am still confused if I understood the book completely. The whole time while reading it, I was asking questions like why it’s happening, what actually happened etc. but still I was hooked on reading it and finished it in just 3 days (which is quite fast for me). I just wanted to finish the book so that I can get all the answers which kept me guessing throughout the stories. I have to confess that Nova Ren Suma's writing is magical. She can keep the reader hooked till the end, doesn’t matter where the story is going or if it is making any sense to you. WHAT I LIKED => I loved the overall weird atmosphere that this book created. For the kind of story, this book was portraying it was perfect. The mysterious atmosphere makes you want to keep going. Everything seems kind of relaxing and a backdrop story. While reading you would feel that something is not right but you won’t be able to figure it out 😀 => I loved Bina’s character. She is troublesome and creates chaos everywhere she goes. She was unreliable but you will get attached to her. I loved how she wanted to re-live the life her mother lived while staying in Catherine house. => One unique aspect of the story is that almost every character in the book is female! Can you imagine a book with no male character of importance and no romance? Well, giving the type of story, I would have been more pissed if the romance was included. But not having a romance aspect certainly felt fresh. => I loved the complicated mother-daughter relationship. Though her mother loved Bina, she was also trying to adjust in her current family for her survival. => Monet’s character was well-done. She was fit to her role exactly. She was always mysterious and remained so till the end. No matter how much Bina tried to get closer to her, she always kept a mysterious distance. => As I said earlier, I loved the writing style of the author. I think it was amazing. It kept me hooked till the end and maintained the mystery throughout the book. WHAT I DIDN'T LIKE => My biggest problem was that there were a bunch of loose ends left in this book. There were a lot of things which remained unexplained even when the book ended. Not knowing the things was definitely annoying. => There were many characters in the book. As in characters, I mean the girls living in Catherine house. I often forget their names and was so confused who was who and living on which floor. => The title didn’t make any sense to me, not till now. There are no wolves in the story, not a single one and I am not sure if ‘wolves’ meant something else here. But the cover and the title definitely mislead the reader. All in all, this book is suitable for a particular group of readers, in my opinion. The writing and atmosphere keep you hooked till the end but having so many unanswered questions definitely confuses you and make you annoyed. This book is definitely hard to put down but the mystical aspect could’ve been done better. If you like ghost stories and unreliable narrator, you may enjoy this book. Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Pinterest | Google+ | Amazon

  23. 4 out of 5

    Dawn Abron

    So I loved The Walls All Around us and I was expecting a strange story but this book just didn't get going. It started off so good. I love Suma's metaphorical writing and the way she allows the reader to fill in the gaps. I loved the weird relationship between Bina and her mother. I liked most of the supporting characters. My issue with this book was the pacing. I needed Suma to start telling me what the hell was going on but she just piled and piled on the mystery. I started to stop caring becaus So I loved The Walls All Around us and I was expecting a strange story but this book just didn't get going. It started off so good. I love Suma's metaphorical writing and the way she allows the reader to fill in the gaps. I loved the weird relationship between Bina and her mother. I liked most of the supporting characters. My issue with this book was the pacing. I needed Suma to start telling me what the hell was going on but she just piled and piled on the mystery. I started to stop caring because it was no longer interesting and I just wanted to know what was happening. I think Suma created a refreshing story about abuse. It was written beautifully and the ending was great but the pacing was just too slow for me.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Karley

    I really enjoyed this book!! I would highly recommend this book! It had a lot of suspense and great description!

  25. 4 out of 5

    Chelsea

    DNF @ pg 132 Nova Ren Suma has a lovely, densely metaphorical writing style, but her execution in terms of the story and plotting always leaves something to be desired. Her stories thrive on a lot of confusion, and as a reader it just doesn't work for me. Recommended for those who have loved Suma's other works.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Michelle (FabBookReviews)

    New York Times bestselling young adult author Nova Ren Suma returns with the darkly mysterious and hauntingly beautiful A Room Away from the Wolves. Told from the first-person narrative of teenager Sabina 'Bina' Tremper, A Room Away from the Wolves is a blend of tragic fairy tale, ghost story and study of a complicated mother-daughter relationship. As readers get to know snippets of Bina's life, we come to an understanding of just how painful and strange her life has always been and become. Bina New York Times bestselling young adult author Nova Ren Suma returns with the darkly mysterious and hauntingly beautiful A Room Away from the Wolves. Told from the first-person narrative of teenager Sabina 'Bina' Tremper, A Room Away from the Wolves is a blend of tragic fairy tale, ghost story and study of a complicated mother-daughter relationship. As readers get to know snippets of Bina's life, we come to an understanding of just how painful and strange her life has always been and become. Bina and her mother, Dawn, escaped from Bina's father, an abusive, heinous man; and while Dawn promised Bina a fresh start in New York, just the two of them, a random encounter soon after escaping forever changed their lives. For Bina, her life that was supposed to be one of freedom and joy of being with her mom became a living hell before long, with a new stepfather she did not care for, and two savagely cruel stepsisters. Bina, when we meet her, has been enduring years of her stepsisters' abuse, somehow all unknown to her mother. While Bina plans to confront her stepsisters and spoil a big party they're attending in the woods, there is another layer of complication and sadness Bina faces. Dawn has asked her daughter- after Bina's incidences involving car theft, crashing her mother's car, and perhaps even more- to leave their home and stay with family friends for a stretch of time. What Bina hasn't told her mother is that after her goal of facing off with her stepsisters at the party, she plans to return for her already-packed suitcase and take off to New York and stay at an all-girls boarding residence named Catherine House...the same residence that Dawn had stayed in before giving birth to Bina. Only, when Bina finally arrives at Catherine House, sporting serious injuries from, readers presume, the party the night before, rushes of uncertainty, haziness, and strange coldness begin. Not just that, but Bina finds that some of the other girls currently staying at the boarding house are...peculiar in a way that she cannot quite place. As Bina's attention becomes riveted on a boarder named Monet, Bina experiences and witnesses even more bizarre, if not outright terrifying incidences happening in the residence and to the students. After learning some supposed truths about her mother's time at the boarding house and how she actually left, Bina makes tentative steps toward a discovery- propelled by Monet- of how she might be able to get a second chance and leave Catherine House. While genuinely unsettling, pervasively spooky and disquieting, there is also a core of love at the heart of the story- most notably that of Bina's love for her mother- that tethers key plot reveals together. Without giving much more away here, I will say that while the story is at times really and truly nebulous ('What is even happening?, I wondered at many moments) do stay the course of Bina's story. The closing chapters of the novel are especially heartbreaking, beautifully composed, and serve to tie some ends and casually stun the reader with calls back to Bina's time at the party, and her mother's intensely complicated feelings about planning to send her daughter away. Overall, Suma's writing in A Room Away from the Wolves is hypnotizing and dreamily beautiful. Truly otherworldly and hypnotic: even when I was uncertain with what might be happening with the main and surrounding characters or where the story might be going, I did not want to break the spell. Had it been possible, I would have finished the novel in one big drink, but instead I settled for finishing the last two-thirds late one night (which only added to general eerie and unsettling feel that the novel was radiating). Readers who enjoy the work of authors such as Brenna Yovanoff, Laini Taylor, Claire Legrand or novels such as Tim Wynne-Jones's The Ruinous Sweep might particularly relish the intrinsic strangeness of A Room Away from the Wolves, or at least appreciate the beauty in a gorgeously written gothically-tinged ghost story with many unknowns. I received a copy of this title courtesy of Thomas Allen & Son in exchange for an honest review and for the purposes of a blog tour. All opinions and comments are my own.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Let's Geek

    Read the full review also on my blog Let's Geek: http://bit.ly/2PFjcSi Room Away From the Wolves is quite intriguing magical realism story. Total Rating: 6.4/10 Originality: 8/10 Language: 7/10 Atmosphere: 7/10 Characters: 5/10 World building: 7/10 Fun: 7/10 Predictability: 5/10 Believable: 5/10 Relevancy: 5/10 Cover: 8/10 Genre: Magical Realism, Ghosts Time It Took Me To Read: approx. 3 hours THE BOOK Sabina, short Bina, is unhappy since her mother re-married since her stepsisters are cruel. Finding herself ki Read the full review also on my blog Let's Geek: http://bit.ly/2PFjcSi Room Away From the Wolves is quite intriguing magical realism story. Total Rating: 6.4/10 Originality: 8/10 Language: 7/10 Atmosphere: 7/10 Characters: 5/10 World building: 7/10 Fun: 7/10 Predictability: 5/10 Believable: 5/10 Relevancy: 5/10 Cover: 8/10 Genre: Magical Realism, Ghosts Time It Took Me To Read: approx. 3 hours THE BOOK Sabina, short Bina, is unhappy since her mother re-married since her stepsisters are cruel. Finding herself kicked out of her own home, Bina goes to the only place she has in mind: Catherine House, a place her mother used to stay 18 years ago when running away from Bina's father. Catherine House rents out room for young women who need a refugee. However, the Catherine House is not as it seems and is full of mystery and ghosts, since nobody seems able to leave. Originality: 8/10 I love the idea of the magical women's house type of housing, which in my head would have gone a very different direction. It is odd, unique and innovative. Language: 7/10 Some sentences were quite beautiful and magical: "The skyline above sparkled the way stars used to at home, and I didn't ever want to hit ground. I saw the whole city spread out before me, sinister and strange and perfect. I was someone here. I was someone." "I'd never met a better liar, or a girl I admired more." Atmosphere: 7/10 Within Catherine House, the author managed to create a haunting and creepy atmosphere. However, it does leave you very confused towards the end. That made you feel disconnected and lost. Characters: 5/10 It is so annoying because there are some really great characters, but they are not fully developed. World building: 7/10 The world is mainly within the Catherine House - which in my head is a creepy Victorian manor. I wished there would be more about and in the house however. Fun: 7/10 The first 3/4 of the novel were really beautiful, mesmerising and made me want to move into the Catherine House too. Predictability: 5/10 A lot of nice ideas, but quite obvious, and the big finale was so confusing I felt like I missed a chapter or two. Believable: 5/10 My biggest problem with the novel was the ending. It happened waaaay to quickly and I felt very confused and abandoned by the story and characters. Before I knew it, the "impossible" was done, and I totally missed how. It felt badly edited - like "oh we only want x number of pages for the story, lets cut the ending". A lot of mysteries and characters were also just mysterious for the sake of being mysterious without adding any depth. Relevancy: 5/10 Talking about abuse of young women, also by their parents, is important. I wished this would have been developed more though; learned more about the other characters in the house and their story. Cover: 8/10 The cover is really pretty. The magical sky symbolises the magic within the story, and the purple / black colouring fits to the mythical black opal which plays an important role in the novel (which totally made me want to buy a black opal for myself now) Total Rating: 6.4/10 A quite intriguing and unique story, which left me confused and lost at the end and left me to desire more. Read the full review also on my blog Let's Geek: http://bit.ly/2PFjcSi

  28. 4 out of 5

    Hilary (SongsWroteMyStory)

    I received a copy of this book from Thomas Allen & Son in exchange for an honest review. Have you ever read a book where you spend half the book saying 'I don't even know what's going on!' and the other half  saying 'I just can't put this down, you need to wait!'? If not, do I have the book for you. I still don't completely understand what happened in this book, if I'm being totally honest. I have so many questions about what happened and who and where and why. And yet I read it in three days b I received a copy of this book from Thomas Allen & Son in exchange for an honest review. Have you ever read a book where you spend half the book saying 'I don't even know what's going on!' and the other half  saying 'I just can't put this down, you need to wait!'? If not, do I have the book for you. I still don't completely understand what happened in this book, if I'm being totally honest. I have so many questions about what happened and who and where and why. And yet I read it in three days because I just needed to know what was going to happen to Bina and the other girls next. Because the author is a witch or something, because she expertly keeps you hooked despite the fact that you're annoyed as hell that you don't have a clue what the deal with this boarding house is. The Good Points of A Room Away From the Wolves: This book has the weirdest and most brilliant atmosphere, and it's so perfect for the story it's telling. It just makes you want to keep going because everything kind of looks okay, but you just get this impression that everything is actually insane, but you have absolutely no proof.  I've read a few books in the past that don't really tell you what's going on or tie up loose ends, and they haven't gone over well. But something about this just worked beautifully, and I was so hooked. It was still annoying to not know what was going on, but I actually kind of liked it. I loved our little unreliable narrator and the chaos she seems to create wherever she goes. More unreliable narrators in young adult fiction, please! This book focuses entirely on mother-daughter relationships and friendships and girl-girl relationships, and I didn't realize until I read this how much I missed books that didn't involve romance. Not knocking it, but I loved this as a breath of fresh air, since I've definitely been in situations where everyone in my life was female and there's something always unique about those times. Though there were a bunch of loose ends left in this book and a lot of things didn't get explained, the ending of this book was so well done and it all came together beautifully. The Downsides of A Room Away From the Wolves: You don't know anything ever and it nothing ever gets an explanation! I just wanted to know things. This actually was a fantastic part of the intrigue for this book, but it was also annoying as hell and I'm still annoyed that I don't know what was going on. I want explanations! I got super confused about the minor characters in the book, especially when it came to the girls in the house. There were a bunch of them, and I was forever losing track of who was who because at best, they each had only one thing that made them relevant to the book. This book was a bit slow to get going and got draggy at a few points. It makes it a little trickier to get into, but the middle bits that are slow are fine. There were no wolves. I don't even know what the wolves refer to. The title and cover give you the impression it's going to be something other than it is. Which is fine, but it was another thing to be confused about. All in all, this book was brilliantly done. It annoyed the hell out of me at times, but this was a hard book to put down and I loved how it all came together in the end. If you like ghost stories, books that leave you guessing until the very end, or unreliable narrators, you should definitely check out A Room Away From the Wolves!

  29. 5 out of 5

    Mishma

    I would like to point out trigger warnings for suicide ( at least the idea/concept of it ) Once in a while a book comes your way and makes you feel things that can never be expressed in coherent thoughts. A Room Away From Wolves was that book for me. I have never read Nova Ren Suma before - though I have her "The Walls Around Us" in my TBR - and I could totally see why some of my friends love her writing. From the first page, she and Bina takes the readers along a ride that is captivating, myster I would like to point out trigger warnings for suicide ( at least the idea/concept of it ) Once in a while a book comes your way and makes you feel things that can never be expressed in coherent thoughts. A Room Away From Wolves was that book for me. I have never read Nova Ren Suma before - though I have her "The Walls Around Us" in my TBR - and I could totally see why some of my friends love her writing. From the first page, she and Bina takes the readers along a ride that is captivating, mysterious and utterly engrossing, and once you're done, you want to go back to square one and read it all over again. A Room Away From Wolves is a tight knit mystery and little can be said about the plot without spoiling it. Bina has always been on the run. She and her mother fled from their cruel father years ago, only to end up with another cause to run from, in the form of her stepfather. Only this time, Bina's alone, betrayed and let down by her mother, and she sets off to Catherine House, a boarding house she has heard many tales about from her mother, and A Room Away From Wolves is the spooky and heartwarming tale of Bina and her journey from thereon. My absolute favourite thing about the book was the writing. It was that beautiful blend of gorgeous lush words, and spooky, weird aura, and I loved it. The book is a page turner, and I was so engrossed in the story, and its pace enabled me to finish in one sitting. The story's part comtemporary, part mystery and part magical realism, and if that sounds confusing, well, the whole story is supposed to be confusing. But a good kind of confusing, trust me. This book is full of careful revelations and perfectly timed incidents, and that's part of the charm of the spookiness. Bina is someone you'll come to care for whether you agree with her or not. She's betrayed, lost and let down, and a great narrator to follow. Monet is as mysterious, fascinating and alluring to us as she is to Bina, and it makes perfect sense why Bina is so drawn to her. But my favoruite dynamic was actually between Bina and her mother, it was a complicated and heartbreaking relationship, and was more or less the backbone of the story, at least for me. I don't know what makes boarding houses a perfect material for gothic story ideas, but it works. The setting of the boarding house, New York City and the writing all paved way to a perfect thrilling urban gothic horror/mystery story, and if you are a fan of spooky reads that won't actually scare you, then definitely give this book a go.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Alyssa

    Review originally posted at A Lovely Book Affair. Received an ARC in exchange for an honest review. “Somtimes a person can’t tell you what you already know,” she said. “Somestimes you have to see it for yourself. Then you’ll believe.” Bina has had a pretty complicated upbrining. Leaving her crap father with her mother and hitchhiking only to be thrust into this new step-family where her step-sisters are basically scum of the earth. So many things happened, including getting a massive black eye the Review originally posted at A Lovely Book Affair. Received an ARC in exchange for an honest review. “Somtimes a person can’t tell you what you already know,” she said. “Somestimes you have to see it for yourself. Then you’ll believe.” Bina has had a pretty complicated upbrining. Leaving her crap father with her mother and hitchhiking only to be thrust into this new step-family where her step-sisters are basically scum of the earth. So many things happened, including getting a massive black eye the night before she left to go to Catherine House. She was a fun character to read about. I enjoyed her personality and reading through her adventures while living in Catherine House. All of the other characters added to the mystery of the novel. Their half-answers and weird stares only made things even more haunting. Monet was an interesting character. I was definitely as captivated by her and what she was up to as Bina was. Nova Ren Suma is an incredible writer. Everything about this book was so dark and atmospheric and I loved it. I could imagine all the haunting this being presented to me as a reader and I enjoyed it. My smallest issue was the plot. I felt like for a lot of the book I was questioning where it was supposed to be going and what I was supposed to be expecting. The one good thing is that it wasn’t predictable. I had a strong sense of what the ending was going to be concercing what was going on with Bina, and I was glad to be wrong. Everything did tie together at the end, but I still had a lot of questions. To be fair, this is my first time diving into magical realism, so maybe it’s because it’s a new genre to me that I’m not used to how things are supposed to go. The pacing of the novel was great. It took place over the course of a month and all of the events flowed together so well. Nothing was rushed and nothing was slow. The pacing definitely added to the dark atmosphere of the novel in the most positive way. A Room Away from the Wolves is the perfect dark book to settle in with on a cold autumn evening. Get a warm blanket, light a couple candles, make a latte, and immerse yourself in this wonderfully haunting novel.

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