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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. 4 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. 5 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. 4 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. 5 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. 4 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

    Emma

    4.5 stars. this is one of the most beautiful stories i've ever read, and it came into my life at just the right time. it's a ghost story set in modern-day new york city, about a girl from the hudson valley who wants nothing more than to forget the life she left behind. it's witchy and vaguely sapphic, with a meandering and somewhat bizarre plot that centers around identity, independence, and recovering from trauma. this book is about: - struggling to escape a dysfunctional/abusive family - getting o 4.5 stars. this is one of the most beautiful stories i've ever read, and it came into my life at just the right time. it's a ghost story set in modern-day new york city, about a girl from the hudson valley who wants nothing more than to forget the life she left behind. it's witchy and vaguely sapphic, with a meandering and somewhat bizarre plot that centers around identity, independence, and recovering from trauma. this book is about: - struggling to escape a dysfunctional/abusive family - getting out of your hometown - ghosts - the freedom that comes with having your own living space - generational, gendered violence - new york city - the complicated love between a daughter and a mother who failed to protect her - figuring out what kind of person you want to be once you've left behind your baggage like i said, this is a weird one. it's not the kind of book that everyone will enjoy, but it was absolutely perfect for me. diverse rep: jewish and sapphic main character cw: parental abuse/neglect, physical assault, suicidal ideation/suicide

  10. 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.

  11. 4 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.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Melissa Sarno

    Haunting and beautifully written.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Crini

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

  14. 4 out of 5

    Jennie

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

  15. 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!

  16. 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.

  17. 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!!

  18. 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 it just doesn't work for me as a reader. Recommended for those who have loved Suma's other works.

  19. 5 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.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer

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

  21. 4 out of 5

    Christy

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

  22. 4 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

  23. 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...

  24. 4 out of 5

    Shannon

    3/5 Beautiful language and creative thought, but the plot dragged. It took me a very long time to get through this, and it isn't a very long book. Unfortunately, the novel consisted of lots of deep inner thought, and was just too magical for me. There were moments where it wasn't entirely clear what was real and what wasn't, and usually that doesn't bother me, but here it frustrated me. There wasn't enough specific plot to carry this book over 300 pages, and by the end I just found myself wishing 3/5 Beautiful language and creative thought, but the plot dragged. It took me a very long time to get through this, and it isn't a very long book. Unfortunately, the novel consisted of lots of deep inner thought, and was just too magical for me. There were moments where it wasn't entirely clear what was real and what wasn't, and usually that doesn't bother me, but here it frustrated me. There wasn't enough specific plot to carry this book over 300 pages, and by the end I just found myself wishing for more.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Missolka

    Это самая странная книга...

  26. 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

  27. 5 out of 5

    Joanne

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Originally posted on Once Upon a Bookcase Trigger Warning: Seeming suicide attempts. A Room Away from the Wolves by Nova Ren Suma sounded really exciting! I was expecting an atmospheric ghost story full of creepiness! What I got was a confusing story that left me with so many questions and very few answers. Eight years ago, Bina and her mum ran away from home to get away from Bina's abusive father. Bina was sure they would be heading to New York and Catherine House, the boarding house she had heard Originally posted on Once Upon a Bookcase Trigger Warning: Seeming suicide attempts. A Room Away from the Wolves by Nova Ren Suma sounded really exciting! I was expecting an atmospheric ghost story full of creepiness! What I got was a confusing story that left me with so many questions and very few answers. Eight years ago, Bina and her mum ran away from home to get away from Bina's abusive father. Bina was sure they would be heading to New York and Catherine House, the boarding house she had heard so many stories about from her mother. But things don't quite go as planned. The guy in the car that picked them up when hitchhiking ended up becoming her step-dad, his house her home, and his daughters her tormentors. Eight years later, after lies told by those daughters, Bina's mum kicks her out the house. Just for a month, until things calm down. She can stay with friends from the church they now go to with her step-father - even though they're Jewish. Hurting from not being believed by her mum, Bina decides to go to New York instead, to Catherine House, and seek refuge there. But Catherine House isn't what it seems, with it's residents wanting to leave, and the photo of the house's namesake, in which she appears to move. Drawn to the mysterious and secretive Monet, who just sparks more questions. But Bina's biggest question is, why would anyone want to leave? I'm going to be completely honest with you: I do not have a clue what happened in this book. We get some answers in regards to what is going on with Bina, but that was always pretty obvious, with all the flashbacks. But otherwise, I have no idea what was going on. There is a legend that Catherine de Barra, the rich lady who owned the house, in order to escape her many suitors who were after her money, jumped off the roof of the building, but her body never landed, just disappeared. Is this true, or is it just legend? No idea. Why does it appear that Catherine can move in her portrait in the parlour? No clue. What is stopping the other girls from leaving Catherine House, and how? I don't know. And what's the black opal ring, that her mother lost but then magically appears to Bina in Catherine House's garden, have to do with anything? I haven't the foggiest, but maybe Catherine could tell us once she wakes up. Why would she wake up, and from what, and what would that mean? God knows. And why do they think Bina is the one who can do it, and that she'll be able to help everyone leave? I'm none the wiser. I have to admit the book was gripping, because it led to all these questions, and it was just so intriguing! But then I finished the book, and not a single one of those questions was answered. And I was annoyed and angry and all, "What the hell?" I have no idea what I read. No idea whatsoever. And Bina was no help, being a completely unreliable narrator, who had no interest in asking questions of her own, even when portrait Catherine was moving, or when girls were asking for her help to leave, or that they couldn't seem to leave of their own accord anyway. She just kind of shrugged it all off, because she was happy to be away from her step-father, and at the house where her mum had such experiences, and she was pining for a mum she used to be close to who didn't seem to know who she was any more. She just didn't care, didn't think about it, didn't ask questions. I thought that at least once she realised what I had realised, we would finally get some answers, there would be an explanation. Nope. And I really don't understand this book or why it was written. What is the point of a crazy book that makes no sense, and not give any answers? Why? What am I supposed to get from this book? Or was the point to write the most infuriating book ever? Perhaps I'm not smart enough for this book, and there were other hints that gave you the answers that I didn't see, but from the reviews I've read, I don't think so. Most people tend to have no idea what happened either, even those who enjoyed the book (though how they managed to do that, I don't know). I have never been more confused by a book in my life, or felt more disappointed and let down. Obviously, I do not recommend this book, but others really loved it, so maybe read a few other reviews before deciding whether to read it or not. Thank you to Algonquin Young Readers for the proof.

  28. 5 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.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Deanna

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Such a disappointment. I wish I'd DNF'd around 60%, but I figured I might as well finish at that point. Wasn't worth it. There was so much happening.. and yet nothing happening. So much potential, with failed execution. So many questions, with no answers, or flimsy, insufficient ones. This was far too confusing to be interesting to me. It's hard to get invested in it when nothing makes sense. I'm not sure if the author thinks the reader is stupid, or if there's just some crappy writing, but there a Such a disappointment. I wish I'd DNF'd around 60%, but I figured I might as well finish at that point. Wasn't worth it. There was so much happening.. and yet nothing happening. So much potential, with failed execution. So many questions, with no answers, or flimsy, insufficient ones. This was far too confusing to be interesting to me. It's hard to get invested in it when nothing makes sense. I'm not sure if the author thinks the reader is stupid, or if there's just some crappy writing, but there are several times where she goes so far to hint at something to the reader, then it becomes obvious, and you know exactly what she means without her having to tell you. And then she tells you. For instance, toward the end, she's in Monet's room. She sees a scarf of Monet's with a note inside, with Monet's handwriting. A message that would only make sense to her and Monet. Then the narrator says "She didn't have to sign her name. I knew." Yeah, idiot, we all know. There's also the scene where Bina asks Monet several times what she did to her father. Just a couple pages later, she asks again, then: "She knew I meant my father." OBVIOUSLY. This happened so many times. Either sloppy writing, or the author trusts her audience to interpret whatever the hell this mess is, but not to piece together obvious clues. Bina is an idiot. There are so many times she could ask questions, like, oh I don't know, "Monet, why the hell are you going through all my things?" Or "What's the deal with this house? Why are you all so cryptic about being trapped here? Who the heck is making breakfast? What's up with the curfew? WHAT'S GOING ON?!" All her questions could be ignored or avoided, but she didn't even try asking. The ones she did ask were useless. I couldn't stand her, she didn't even try to figure out what was going on or why anything was the way it was. I hated this book. Maybe it's just not my cup of tea, since other people seem to love it, but I thought it was crappy writing paired with a boring protagonist and flimsy plot. I really wish I'd never bothered, what a waste of time.

  30. 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.

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