A Room Away From the Wolves

A Room Away From the Wolves

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...

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Title:A Room Away From the Wolves
Author:Nova Ren Suma
Rating:
Edition Language:English

A Room Away From the Wolves Reviews

  • 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

    | 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.

  • Vicky Who Reads

    I really enjoyed this! It's such

    , and there's so much mystery

    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

    crossed with

    by Amelinda Berube. It's

    . There's all these mysterious things happening in the home fo

    I really enjoyed this! It's such

    , and there's so much mystery

    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

    crossed with

    by Amelinda Berube. It's

    . 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

    which I really enjoyed. It was nice reading a

    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

    . 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

    and surprise and shock at paranormal happenings well.

    It's like some scenes

    , 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

    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.

    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!

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  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Acqua

    4.5 stars

    set in an old boarding house in New York City. It follows a

    who is trying to leave behind an abusive home situation.

    This is

    , 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

    set in an old boarding house in New York City. It follows a

    who is trying to leave behind an abusive home situation.

    This is

    , 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

    . I feel like I could describe it as

    meets

    , 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.

    is

    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.

    - or even the reader -

    . 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.

    Everything about this book is

    , 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

    . 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'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.

    (which I suspected, by the way),

    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

    [Trigger warnings for: suicide attempts, suicidal ideation, parental abuse, abusive siblings, beatings]

  • 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.

  • 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?

  • Emily May

    2 1/2 stars. I tried so very hard to love this book, but I really struggled with it.

    's writing and stories are always somewhere between gorgeous and completely what-the-actual-fuck bonkers. Despite its weirdness, I really enjoyed

    , 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.

    's writing and stories are always somewhere between gorgeous and completely what-the-actual-fuck bonkers. Despite its weirdness, I really enjoyed

    , 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.

    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?

    . 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

    creepy and atmospheric. I'm sure more patient or smarter readers than I will appreciate it.

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  • 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.

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