This book is dark and weird, but if it hooks you it won’t let go. Part a psychological tale, part mystery, and a smattering of the paranormal, The Walls Around Us has been swirling around in my head since I closed it two days ago, and I want to force someone to read it just so I can discuss it in depth.

Violet has spent her life studying ballet. Finishing her last high school recital she is set to head off to Julliard. But August always makes her think of Orianna. Ori was her best-friend, an effortlessly graceful and “transcendent” dancer, who understood Violet in ways that no one else did. That is until the incident three years ago, when two ballerinas ended up dead and Orianna was convicted of their murder.

Amber Smith has been at a juvenile detention center since she was 13 for the murder of her abusive step father. She narrates the story for the inmates as a collective. Always on the edges of conversations, where she hears so much, and quietly rolling her book cart (her assigned job) from wing to wing, studying what the other girls request and reading the notes that are left behind. Orianna will be Amber’s new cellmate.

A story of ugliness in a beautiful world (and sometimes finding beauty in a bereft one). Deceit, lies, desperation, revenge, tied together by one girl and one day in August where comeuppance has the possibility of transcending death.