“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…” (via Goodreads)
Nova Ren Suma uses the trappings of a standard haunted house—looming dread, a dead proprietor, creepy photos, unsettling locals, a house that is bigger on the inside than the outside indicates, ever-shifting configurations of rooms—but strips away the horror elements. Secrets are stacked around the house like bricks in a wall. Girls appear and disappear like ghosts. Old photographs seem to watch Bina, their sepia-toned eyes following her across the room. The founder of the home, Catherine de Barra, died in mysterious circumstances, and her tragedy infects all who reside in the old mansion. As a result, A Room Away from the Wolves is unnerving without being scary. You won’t be peering between your fingers and clutching your blanket while reading it, but you might notice your heart beating faster and your body tensing up….
To read the rest of my review, head over to Tor.com.
It was dark, and I blamed the darkness. For those few moments, when she was midair and not even kicking, I practically became her. I grew her long legs and longer eyelashes, I lost the jumble of knots in my hair, I let the mistakes spill out of my suitcase and scatter without a care in the wind. I was falling, and falling fast. There was a hum in my ears like a song leaking through floorboards. The windows on the way down were all lit up, every one, people I didn’t know living their private lives inside as if no one could see. The skyline above sparkled the way stars used to at home, and I didn’t want to ever hit ground. I was someone here, I was someone.
Thanks to Algonquin Young Readers for sending me a review copy.
Do the world a favor and buy this from an indie bookstore or borrow it from your local public library.