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 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...

A Room Away From the Wolves Details

TitleA Room Away From the Wolves
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseSep 4th, 2018
PublisherAlgonquin Young Readers
Rating
GenreYoung Adult, Magical Realism, Mystery, Fantasy

A Room Away From the Wolves Review

  • Emily May
    January 1, 1970
    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
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  • Kelly
    January 1, 1970
    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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  • Jessica Woodbury
    January 1, 1970
    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.
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  • Katherine Moore
    January 1, 1970
    Full blog tour review post and GIVEAWAY for the book (until 9/5) 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 Full blog tour review post and GIVEAWAY for the book (until 9/5) 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
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  • Chelsea
    January 1, 1970
    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?
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  • Kristi Housman Confessions of a YA Reader
    January 1, 1970
    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.
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  • Catie
    January 1, 1970
    3 1/2 starsThis 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 starsThis 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.
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  • Melissa Sarno
    January 1, 1970
    Haunting and beautifully written.
  • Crini
    January 1, 1970
    *cries* because finally a new Nova book *cries some more*
  • Jennie
    January 1, 1970
    So gorgeous and haunting. Nova Ren Suma is a treasure.
  • Andria
    January 1, 1970
    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.
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  • Jennifer
    January 1, 1970
    Mooooody.Reviewed in the Sept/Oct 2018 issue of Horn Book.
  • The Nerd Daily
    January 1, 1970
    Originally published on The Nerd Daily | Review by Nathalie DeFeliceThere’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 DeFeliceThere’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.
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  • Christy
    January 1, 1970
    This book is smarter than I am and I am 200% ok with that.
  • Simant ♥ Flipping Through the Pages
    January 1, 1970
    Full review on: FLIPPING THROUGH THE PAGESSo, 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 PAGESSo, 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
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  • Dawn Abron
    January 1, 1970
    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.
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  • Holly
    January 1, 1970
    I thought that anger was very beautiful on a girl. I'm so confused
  • Chelsea
    January 1, 1970
    DNF @ pg 132Nova 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 as a reader it just doesn't work for me. Recommended for those who have loved Suma's other works.
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  • Hilary (SongsWroteMyStory)
    January 1, 1970
    I received a copy of this book from Thomas Allen & Son in exchange for an honest review.Have you ever read a book where you spend half the book saying 'I don't even know what's going on!' and the other half  saying 'I just can't put this down, you need to wait!'?If not, do I have the book for you.I still don't completely understand what happened in this book, if I'm being totally honest. I have so many questions about what happened and who and where and why. And yet I read it in three days b I received a copy of this book from Thomas Allen & Son in exchange for an honest review.Have you ever read a book where you spend half the book saying 'I don't even know what's going on!' and the other half  saying 'I just can't put this down, you need to wait!'?If not, do I have the book for you.I still don't completely understand what happened in this book, if I'm being totally honest. I have so many questions about what happened and who and where and why. And yet I read it in three days because I just needed to know what was going to happen to Bina and the other girls next. Because the author is a witch or something, because she expertly keeps you hooked despite the fact that you're annoyed as hell that you don't have a clue what the deal with this boarding house is.The Good Points of A Room Away From the Wolves:This book has the weirdest and most brilliant atmosphere, and it's so perfect for the story it's telling. It just makes you want to keep going because everything kind of looks okay, but you just get this impression that everything is actually insane, but you have absolutely no proof. I've read a few books in the past that don't really tell you what's going on or tie up loose ends, and they haven't gone over well. But something about this just worked beautifully, and I was so hooked. It was still annoying to not know what was going on, but I actually kind of liked it.I loved our little unreliable narrator and the chaos she seems to create wherever she goes. More unreliable narrators in young adult fiction, please!This book focuses entirely on mother-daughter relationships and friendships and girl-girl relationships, and I didn't realize until I read this how much I missed books that didn't involve romance. Not knocking it, but I loved this as a breath of fresh air, since I've definitely been in situations where everyone in my life was female and there's something always unique about those times.Though there were a bunch of loose ends left in this book and a lot of things didn't get explained, the ending of this book was so well done and it all came together beautifully.The Downsides of A Room Away From the Wolves:You don't know anything ever and it nothing ever gets an explanation! I just wanted to know things. This actually was a fantastic part of the intrigue for this book, but it was also annoying as hell and I'm still annoyed that I don't know what was going on. I want explanations!I got super confused about the minor characters in the book, especially when it came to the girls in the house. There were a bunch of them, and I was forever losing track of who was who because at best, they each had only one thing that made them relevant to the book.This book was a bit slow to get going and got draggy at a few points. It makes it a little trickier to get into, but the middle bits that are slow are fine.There were no wolves. I don't even know what the wolves refer to. The title and cover give you the impression it's going to be something other than it is. Which is fine, but it was another thing to be confused about.All in all, this book was brilliantly done. It annoyed the hell out of me at times, but this was a hard book to put down and I loved how it all came together in the end. If you like ghost stories, books that leave you guessing until the very end, or unreliable narrators, you should definitely check out A Room Away From the Wolves!
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  • Alyssa
    January 1, 1970
    Review originally posted at A Lovely Book Affair.Received an ARC in exchange for an honest review.“Somtimes a person can’t tell you what you already know,” she said. “Somestimes you have to see it for yourself. Then you’ll believe.”Bina has had a pretty complicated upbrining. Leaving her crap father with her mother and hitchhiking only to be thrust into this new step-family where her step-sisters are basically scum of the earth. So many things happened, including getting a massive black eye the Review originally posted at A Lovely Book Affair.Received an ARC in exchange for an honest review.“Somtimes a person can’t tell you what you already know,” she said. “Somestimes you have to see it for yourself. Then you’ll believe.”Bina has had a pretty complicated upbrining. Leaving her crap father with her mother and hitchhiking only to be thrust into this new step-family where her step-sisters are basically scum of the earth. So many things happened, including getting a massive black eye the night before she left to go to Catherine House. She was a fun character to read about. I enjoyed her personality and reading through her adventures while living in Catherine House.All of the other characters added to the mystery of the novel. Their half-answers and weird stares only made things even more haunting. Monet was an interesting character. I was definitely as captivated by her and what she was up to as Bina was.Nova Ren Suma is an incredible writer. Everything about this book was so dark and atmospheric and I loved it. I could imagine all the haunting this being presented to me as a reader and I enjoyed it.My smallest issue was the plot. I felt like for a lot of the book I was questioning where it was supposed to be going and what I was supposed to be expecting. The one good thing is that it wasn’t predictable. I had a strong sense of what the ending was going to be concercing what was going on with Bina, and I was glad to be wrong. Everything did tie together at the end, but I still had a lot of questions. To be fair, this is my first time diving into magical realism, so maybe it’s because it’s a new genre to me that I’m not used to how things are supposed to go.The pacing of the novel was great. It took place over the course of a month and all of the events flowed together so well. Nothing was rushed and nothing was slow. The pacing definitely added to the dark atmosphere of the novel in the most positive way.A Room Away from the Wolves is the perfect dark book to settle in with on a cold autumn evening. Get a warm blanket, light a couple candles, make a latte, and immerse yourself in this wonderfully haunting novel.
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  • Paige Green
    January 1, 1970
    Disclaimer: I received this book for free through KidLitExchange. Thanks! All opinions are my own.Rating: 3/5Genre: YA FantasyRecommended Age: 16+ (depictions/mentions of suicide, abuse, assault, dark humor)Pages: 304Author WebsiteAmazon LinkSynopsis: 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 Disclaimer: I received this book for free through KidLitExchange. Thanks! All opinions are my own.Rating: 3/5Genre: YA FantasyRecommended Age: 16+ (depictions/mentions of suicide, abuse, assault, dark humor)Pages: 304Author WebsiteAmazon LinkSynopsis: 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...I was totally entranced again by the cover. It has purple on it! Anyways, now that I got that out of my system I have to say besides the cover the synopsis drew me in immediately. It sounds haunting and that’s my type of genre. Overall, I thought the book was pretty good. It had some really dark tones and the character development was amazing.However, I just felt really disconnected with the book. I couldn’t keep up with what was happening at all and I found myself confused a lot while reading this. The pacing was just kind of everywhere and there really wasn’t any world building. I find myself really disliking books that don’t explain the magic or the backstory of the book and I found that to be the problem in this book. It’s one thing to leave a character in the dark, but I as a reader want to know what’s going on.Verdict: Dark and haunting, perfect for slumber parties!
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  • Stephanie Ward
    January 1, 1970
    3.5 Stars'A Room Away From the Wolves' is a mystery filled with twists, turns, and questions built upon questions. This was the first book I've read by the author and maybe it's because I'm not used to her writing style, but I feel so lost about this novel. I'm honestly not sure if I liked it, loved it, or didn't like it at all. I had no expectations or hopes going in, but I'm thinking that might have been a disadvantage. After reading other reviews of her works and writing style, I'm thinking t 3.5 Stars'A Room Away From the Wolves' is a mystery filled with twists, turns, and questions built upon questions. This was the first book I've read by the author and maybe it's because I'm not used to her writing style, but I feel so lost about this novel. I'm honestly not sure if I liked it, loved it, or didn't like it at all. I had no expectations or hopes going in, but I'm thinking that might have been a disadvantage. After reading other reviews of her works and writing style, I'm thinking that if I had known about the strange way of storytelling and how her stories work - I would have had a completely different experience. Not as confused and maybe actually understanding what the heck I just read. Oddly enough, even though I'm not sure exactly what I just read, I know that I really like the author's writing. It's very descriptive and sucks you in right from the start. I might not have known what was happening a lot of the time, but it was beautiful narrative to be confused in. That's definitely one thing I'm sure of - I love her writing and want more of it. Maybe now when I read another one of her books I'll be ready for the mind-bending and surrealism of the plot. My mind is so messed up about this book that I can't even begin to go into anything concerning the plot because I don't want to give anything away and, honestly, I'm still not completely sure what I did read. It was sort of implicated and not stated right out in the open, so the reader has to make the leaps and connections themselves. But what if mine aren't right? That's part of the reason I'm so lost right now. I know other readers have felt similarly about this novel after finishing it, so that makes me feel a bit better - like maybe I'm not completely crazy after all. Anyways, I'll just keep rambling about nothing if I don't stop now. If you like the author's other books, you'll probably really love this one. Otherwise, I say give it a shot but do a bit of research before starting to be sure you've got a handle on what's going on. Recommended for fans of YA contemporary, fantasy, paranormal, and magical realism.Disclosure: I received a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.
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  • elizabeth
    January 1, 1970
    Thank you very much to Algonquin Young Readers and Goodreads for giving me the opportunity to read an advanced readers edition. It begins with Bina who is being kicked out by her mother in favor of her husband and his two daughters. Her mother has set her up to stay with family friends but after years of frustration with her life she sets her sights for New York City instead. To a boarding house which just so happens to be the center of most of the stories her mother had told her growing up ab Thank you very much to Algonquin Young Readers and Goodreads for giving me the opportunity to read an advanced readers edition. It begins with Bina who is being kicked out by her mother in favor of her husband and his two daughters. Her mother has set her up to stay with family friends but after years of frustration with her life she sets her sights for New York City instead. To a boarding house which just so happens to be the center of most of the stories her mother had told her growing up about her own life. When she arrives she arrives with pre-packed luggage courtesy of her mother, and a black eye from the night before courtesy of her step sisters and their friends. (view spoiler)[ At the boarding house she sought out so desperately she meets the housekeeper Ms. Ballantine who goes over the rules of the house both practical and both odd. She is then given a room and begins to meets the other girls in the home and finds herself most fascinated by one girl, Monet. Monet is an important character in the book, maybe just as much as Bina. However, Monet isn't the type to tell you much about herself. Instead she is often hanging around the fire escape of the house, escaping to the roof at night, and dodging questions. Bina finds herself unexplainably drawn to her. Throughout the book, Bina becomes intrigued and drawn into the life surrounding Catherine House. The late night garden visits, the party that took place on the night of her arrival, the painting that greets you when you arrive. That is of the founder Catherine de Barra, always watching guard of the house. Bina experiences flashbacks to the night before she left. Weeks after arrival she finds the black eye she arrived with has stayed in perfect form, not changing color or showing signs of healing. As the story progresses she sometimes appears oblivious at times to the ongoing of the house and the other girls because she is too busy searching for her mother. That is, the woman she was when she stayed there. Not the one back home. It ends with an opal ring, a rooftop at night where an incident took Catherine's life, another incident that happened 18 years ago, and the incident that would happen to the other girl from room 10. (hide spoiler)]
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  • Susan
    January 1, 1970
    If poetry could be prose then Nova Ren Suma would be the Beatles of it. Her lyrical and often mesmerizing phrasing pulls beauty and atmosphere off the page and fills your senses. Much like a pointillist painter gives you a whole scene from afar but it becomes a blur of tiny points of paint the closest one gets to the portrait. Or in the case of the ladies in the Catherine house, seeing a picture one the stair case from afar can often be quite different from being up close and personal to the sam If poetry could be prose then Nova Ren Suma would be the Beatles of it. Her lyrical and often mesmerizing phrasing pulls beauty and atmosphere off the page and fills your senses. Much like a pointillist painter gives you a whole scene from afar but it becomes a blur of tiny points of paint the closest one gets to the portrait. Or in the case of the ladies in the Catherine house, seeing a picture one the stair case from afar can often be quite different from being up close and personal to the same painting.Catherine wasn't scowling anymore. Her eyes were deep black pools, perfectly serene. Her mouth was loose and coming open, a hint of teeth showing. There was no mist or fog- it was all so clear. On her faint gray face was a new and undeniable grin, a hard beam of light that landed straight on me... there inside her frame facing the foyer...Be careful with beauty. It can become monstrous very quickly. Often lulled into this luxurious platitude of brilliant colors, mysterious people and a quick-witted city, Suma wrenches and lurches the whole thing ajar with a mix of brutal reality bested by mystical madness that interweaves unreliable childhood flashbacks, horrific time-traveling recounts and things seen but not to believed.It is just as you are comfortable in the beauty of her words that Suma makes you want to take aim at the closest walk, launch the book and yell oh come on man!?And for me, that is the sign when reading becomes a contact sport, blurring the lines between I can't put it down and for the sake of my sanity I have to put it down (there are few, few books on this list) but yet come crawling across the room to it, busted up begging for more that I know it is a brilliant piece of art.
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  • Kait
    January 1, 1970
    Bina has always hoped that her life would be something bigger, something more. But when she and her mother finally leave her abusive father, her dreams of an unpredictable but free life are squashed when her mother settles down with the next man she meets, prioritizing a stepfather who largely ignores Bina’s existence and two cruel stepsisters over Bina herself, all in the name of security.Years have gone by since then, but Bina still hasn’t adjusted. The latest in a string of incidents is about Bina has always hoped that her life would be something bigger, something more. But when she and her mother finally leave her abusive father, her dreams of an unpredictable but free life are squashed when her mother settles down with the next man she meets, prioritizing a stepfather who largely ignores Bina’s existence and two cruel stepsisters over Bina herself, all in the name of security.Years have gone by since then, but Bina still hasn’t adjusted. The latest in a string of incidents is about to get Bina sent away, and that’s when when she decides to strike out on her own first. She knows exactly where she’ll go: Catherine House, a boarding house where her mother stayed in her youth, before she met Bina’s father. Of course, Bina’s mother always spoke vaguely of Catherine House and when Bina gets there, it’s not at all what she expected.I didn’t know anything about A Room Away From The Wolves other than the description on the inside flap before I started reading. Perhaps it’s my own fault for expecting a twisty paranormal mystery featuring two young women falling in love (this book is not that, despite the description sounding like that) but I found myself struggling with this novel. It’s hauntingly surreal and Nova Ren Suma’s writing style is quite lovely, but the story lacked a solid plot and the mystery fell flat.Once Bina gets to Catherine House, things sort of fall apart. There is a mystery there, but it seemed like the author didn’t know what to do with it. Frustration builds as the secrets of the Catherine House become painstakingly obvious to the reader, but Bina remains in complete denial, trying to explain very obvious paranormal dealings as a trick of the light, a daydream, etc. Surely, a couple things could be explained away, but Bina does it so often that she just looks incredibly naive.Bina builds up a relationship with her upstairs neighbor, Monet, who believes Bina may have the key to leaving Catherine House. The two girls are extremely curious about one another and strike up an unconventional friendship of sorts. Curiosity slowly morphs into obsession, but it was hard to see the “why” behind it. Despite one scene that gave the two a beautiful, cathartic moment together, there wasn’t a whole lot of chemistry, even platonically. I had hoped their story would be a romance, but it never felt like one. In fact, exactly WHAT type of feelings the two have for each other is never that clear.This also isn’t a novel in which a whole lot happens. This is heavily reflective material that’s character driven with very few important plot beats. I feel like I could describe all the major moments in just a few sentences, because a large chunk of it all is Bina thinking about her past and talking with the other residents of Catherine House.I read on however, because I was waiting for it: The big twist, the bombshell, the one moment that explained the strange ways of Catherine House and how they connected to Bina’s past or even an ancient history far beyond Bina. The end of the novel falls upon it casually, almost accidentally, with little fanfare. It mostly confirmed what I already suspected, and left several more specific questions unanswered. The ending felt purposefully convoluted, more haphazard than magical.If you’re a fan of Nova Ren Suma’s other novels, you’ll probably enjoy this one, but it just didn’t work for me.Thank you to Algonquin Teen for providing me with a copy of this novel.
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  • Zoë Danielle
    January 1, 1970
    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 magic 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, but it's been over four years since I've picked up a novel by her (17 & Gone) 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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  • Michelle (Pink Polka Dot Books)
    January 1, 1970
    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!!
  • Kate
    January 1, 1970
    Yes to magical realism, mysterious boarding houses, ghosts and strange, lying girls. Yes to New York City, crazy cat ladies, and tiny hidden doors.But this book also comes with some no. No to mystery so shrouded in hazy mystery that you never ger any answers or resolution. The writing was lovely, haunting and mysterious, but the lack of answers and overall confusion kept this from a 5 star read.
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  • Sara
    January 1, 1970
    4.5/5 stars. This was incredibly atmospheric and stunningly written - Full RTC!
  • Mic
    January 1, 1970
    A NEW NOVA REN SUMA BOOK OMG.
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