Ori’s dead because of what happened out behind the theater, in the tunnel made out of trees.
She’s dead because she got sent to that place upstate, locked up with those monsters.
And she got sent there because of me.
A teen ballerina who may or may not have committed two brutal murders. A prison for delinquent young ladies that may or may not be haunted by the ghosts of girls gone bad. A narrative that twists, turns, dives and pivots like a dancer onstage, only to blow your mind in its very last pages.
Nova Ren Suma's "The Walls Around Us" is a book unlike any you'll ever read, in the best way possible. In its pages, two narrators in two different times reveal the story of Orianna: a gifted dancer, a convicted murderer.
By the time her story begins to unfold, Orianna is already dead -- along with every last one of the girls who were incarcerated with her, inside the walls of a juvenile detention center that still holds many secrets.
"The Walls Around Us" hits bookstores tomorrow, and today, MTV News has an amazing sneak peek at what awaits you in its pages: three cinemagraphs that take us up the winding road to a deserted prison, inside the crumbling walls covered with vines, and onto a stage where one of the story's narrators pirouettes all alone.
Check out our exclusive cinemagraphs for "The Walls Around Us" below.
The night burst open the way a good riot tends to, when it takes over the yard and no one knows who started what, or cares. The shouts and screams, the whoops and wails. Forty-one of the worst female juvenile offenders in the state set loose without warning or reason or armed guards to take us down. It was beautiful and it was powerful, like lightning in our hands.
She’ll see it, somehow, this gesture I’m making. She’s looking down from high up on that hill, and she’ll understand. She’ll see it and she’ll let go. Of me. And we’ll move on, to our two different futures. Mine involves the sparkle and lights of the city, and Juilliard, and the big stage, and fame and recognition and everything I’ve ever wanted. Hers involves eternity in a dark hole.
Now comes the building crescendo of music, every little increment of movement from my body studied in mirrored reflection, coached and corrected into place. It may not be as free-form as Ori would have done it, but it’s impressive because I’m so precise. I make no mistakes, not a single one. But inside, past the tulle and the skintight stretch of fabric going three layers deep, I’ve got things I can’t talk about. If you peel away the first layer, and the second layer and the third layer, underneath would be something ugly. Eyes clawed out and blood still clinging to her neck, her arms, her face. Sometimes I think I still have the blood on my face. There’s this thumping, and it’s not my pristine pair of pointe shoes touching floor. It’s what’s going on in my head. It’s a stampede.
"The Walls Around Us" releases March 24.