A Room Away from the Wolves is my first Nova Ren Suma book and I can’t believe I’ve waited so long! It was stunning and magical.
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 hooks us in and reels us back. Starting with an incident, Suma brings us back to the past to tell us what happened. There are layers of mystery and intrigue like fog in the morning. And we are trying to wade through it to make it to the other side. The characters are striking and they stay with you. We know there’s a deeper story if we can only uncover it, to read further. And you are pulled further into the story.
And what you find within is entrancing. There’s recklessness, settling old debts, and trying to find meaning. Who are we? It’s a journey about going back into the past, into the nostalgia, and trying to find out where it all began. Not only are we pulled through Bina’s own journey, but the mystery of her mother. It’s like having a conversation with an absent figure as we try to figure her out. The whole thing is whimsical and magical. It’s about the power of letting go of things which bind you and the power of belief.