Publisher: Chicken House Books
Genre: YA, Contemporary
Source: a copy in exchange for an honest review
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Norah has agoraphobia and OCD. When groceries are left on the porch, she can’t step out to get them. Struggling to snag the bags with a stick, she meets Luke. He’s sweet and funny, and he just caught her fishing for groceries. Because of course he did.
Norah can’t leave the house, but can she let someone in? As their friendship grows deeper, Norah realizes Luke deserves a normal girl. One who can lie on the front lawn and look up at the stars. One who isn’t so screwed up.
Under Rose Tainted Skies is told from the perspective of Norah, a teenage girl who suffers from agoraphobia and OCD. Since this is told from her perspective, we get an insight on just how much her invisible illness, as it’s referred to at one point in the story, interferes with her life and makes certain things that some people don’t even give a second thought to – like bringing in groceries from outdoors – a nerve-wracking and impossible task.
I feel like we don’t get enough realistic portrayals of mental health since it’s somewhat of a taboo subject that’s often brushed under the carpet, and Louise Gornall’s portrayal of mental health in this story was completely realistic and not sugarcoated in the least which not only means it’s a completely brilliant book but that as a reader we grow more empathetic and understanding of mental health. It showed how mental illnesses such as anxiety are always present and have an affect on almost every aspect of your life.
I love that Norah didn’t suddenly change and that her struggles didn’t lessen as soon as she met the good-looking boy next door. I really loved her relationship with her mother, too. Her mother was patient and strong, their conversations made me want to laugh and cry. I also loved how honest the ending was – there wasn’t a happily ever after, but it ended in a way that felt hopeful and optimistic.
Can we just talk about Luke for a second? I know this book addresses so many important themes and I have to just mention how much I love Luke. We see Norah and Luke, Norah’s new neighbour, slowly build this friendship that turns into a romance. Obviously it’s not easy, they face a lot of obstacles and slowly begin to open up to each other. Luke is so understanding and patient, and when he does something wrong instead of getting mad at Norah for panicking, he admits he was wrong and does research/reads books so that he can understand better. If only everyone was like this when it came to mental health and things we don’t understand.
Despite the sensitive and important themes URTS touches on, I still found myself laughing at times.I started reading this and ended up finishing it in a day or so, and whenever I took a break from reading to do something my mind always wandered back to the story. I feel like this is one of those stories that will stick with me and that I’ll carry on thinking about non-stop for a while. Such a brilliant and honest depiction of mental illness that left me teary-eyed and hopeful.
Favourite quote: “Beauty comes from how you treat people and how you behave. But if a little lipstick makes you smile, then you should wear it and forget what anyone else thinks.”
(I think it’s appropriate that one of my favourite quotes from this book was spoken by Norah’s mum).
I’m so excited that I’ll be able to share this book with you guys! The lovely Nina has provided me with 3 copies – a copy of each shade of pink – to giveaway to 3 lucky winners! Make sure to keep an eye out for my Twitter! [EDIT: NOW CLOSED].