Title: Under Rose-Tainted Skies by Louise Gornall
Publisher: Clarion Books
Genre: Contemporary, Young Adult
Length: 336 pages
Book Rating: B
Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley
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.
Readers themselves will fall in love with Norah in this poignant, humorous, and deeply engaging portrait of a teen struggling to find the strength to face her demons.
Under Rose-Tainted Skies by Louise Gornall is a poignant and heartbreakingly realistic portrayal of a teenager with debilitating anxiety, agoraphobia and OCD.
Other than appointments with her therapist, seventeen year old Norah Dean has not left her house in four years. Stricken with a multitude of inexplicable mental illnesses, she is homeschooled by her mom and relies on social media to keep up with her former friends’ lives. Constantly struggling against overthinking things, Norah’s mind always goes to the worst case for any given situation. With her life ruled by her crippling anxiety and overwhelming fears, she works hard to avoid succumbing to depression over her inability to live a “normal” life.
When a handsome teenage boy moves in next door, Norah is taken off guard by his interest in her. She at first tries to hide her problems from him, but when Luke’s interest in her does not wane, she is forced to be honest with her issues. Luke takes her revelations in stride, but does he truly understand the limitations her mental illnesses will put on a relationship? And will Norah be able to put aside her fears that Luke will not be able to cope with all of the baggage that comes with dating her?
Narrated strictly from Norah’s perspective, Under Rose-Tainted Skies is not always an easy book to read since living inside of her head means experiencing Norah’s irrational fears, nearly uncontrollable anxiety and panic attacks right along with her. This unflinchingly honest look at the various mental illnesses that Norah is forced to live with is quite eye-opening. Norah is a likable and sympathetic protagonist and watching her open herself to a new relationship is extremely uplifting. This heartfelt young adult novel is a well-written debut by Louise Gornall that I greatly enjoyed and highly recommend to readers of all ages.