A Room Away From The Wolves by Nova Ren Suma is the story of Bina, a 17-year-old girl who has a bad relationship with her stepfather and stepsister, and whose mother has sent her away for the summer. Bina decides to take the opportunity to visit Catherine House, a young women’s residence in New York City that her mother once stayed at. However, it turns out that her mother didn’t tell her everything about her stay at Catherine House, and the house, and its inhabitants, are full of dark and magical secrets.
Suma is not a new author to me, I absolutely adored Imaginary Girls (featured here), but it’s been over four years since I’ve picked up a novel by her (17 & Gone, reviewed here) so I was pretty excited about A Room Away From The Wolves. It did not disappoint. The book is packed with beautiful, poetic language that almost made me forget there was a plot I was so absorbed by just reading each sentence. It’s a quiet, magical book, one that is uniquely Suma. It’s strange and disorienting and wonderful, with a dark, eery atmosphere. My only complaint is that it did get a little too confusing for me at times, especially given the number of loose ends, but it is ultimately a romantic (in the surreal sense of the word) and lovely experience.
In addition to the writing, I adored the relationships that Suma captures between females, both mother-daughter and friendship. Asides from brief moments featuring Bina’s stepfather and father, the book is entirely focused on females, and they are strong and beautiful characters. Overall, A Room Away From The Wolves is a lush, vivid experience, filled with heart-wrenching emotion and some of the most beautiful language I’ve read this year. If you have not read anything by Nova Ren Suma, you need to start, and I highly recommend picking up A Room Away From The Wolves.
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