A Room Away from the Wolves by Nova Ren Suma R…

Title: A Room Away from the Wolves

Author: Nova Ren Suma

Age Group: Teen/Young Adult

Genre: Magical Realism

Series: Standalone

Star Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars

               I
borrowed this book from my local library and reviewed it.

               I’ve
long been a fan of Nova Ren Suma; she is one of my favorite authors. So, when
it was announced that A Room Away from the Wolves was the July pick for one of
the book clubs I go to, I was so happy. I’ve been wanting to read that book
since it came out, but unfortunately had to take it back to the library before
I could finish it. I finished this book last week, and I’ve been chewing on it
ever since. Strange, dreamy, and confusing, A Room Away from the Wolves may be
Suma’s best work yet. Usually, I like to write a review as soon as I’m
finished, when my impressions are still fresh. But sometimes, a book will
require some serious thought before I can even think about reviewing it. That
was the case with A Room Away from the Wolves. I loved it, but there were a lot
of loose ends, perhaps too many for my taste.

               Bina
Tremper has very little in life, but that’s all right, because she has her
mother. From the beginning, all they’ve ever had is each other. But things
change when her mother finds another man to stay with. Sent away from the home
they share to make peace with her stepsisters, Bina leaves home and runs away
to New York City. There, she finds the boarding house that her mother stayed in
when she was pregnant with Bina. But Catherine House holds a host of secrets,
some of them about Sabina herself. Things get even more complicated when she
meets the mysterious, spontaneous Monet, who may be holding dangerous secrets
herself. Will Bina discover the building’s hidden truths? Or lose herself
entirely?

               This
book, in a single word, was complicated. I was the only one of us in my book
club who had read Nova Ren Suma’s work, and so, I was used to her signature
dreamy, strange style. Even so, I was thrown for a loop when the ending finally
came. The pacing was good; I immediately fell into Bina’s strange world, where
nothing is as it seems. To say that this book is a gothic, haunting ghost story
is to do the story a disservice. It is a story of identity, every type of love,
betrayal, and the secrets we hide even from ourselves. I also adored Bina,
smarting from betrayal and left adrift after her mother sends her away. But
something about her didn’t sit well with me; I got the feeling that she was a
compulsive liar. And I didn’t trust Monet either, even as I cheered for them
both. Haunting, gorgeous, detailed, I loved A Room Away from the Wolves, but I
wish there had been more closure. Even knowing what was coming didn’t stop me
from being confused. Despite the confusing prose, I really enjoyed this book;
it might be Nova Ren Suma’s best work yet. The bottom line: Dreamy, haunting,
and strange, I loved A Room Away from the Wolves! Next on deck: The Guernsey
Literary and Potato Peel Society by Mary Ann Schaffer and Annie Barrows!