Under Rose-Tainted Skies by Louise Gornall
Publishing Date: January 3, 2017
Publisher: Clarion Books
Young Adult Contemporary
The Premise from the Publisher: "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" (Clarion Books).
My overall thoughts and review: When I first read the premise for this book, I knew immediately that I had to read it because it has a strong emphasis on mental health. I'm sure you all know by now, but that is a subject that is very dear to my heart and I love finding new reads that speak openly about it. This story focuses on Norah, our protagonist, who suffers from agoraphobia and OCD. She lives with her mom and is home schooled. She sees a psychiatrist weekly (Dr. Reeves), but you learn early on in the book as the reader that Norah also has a tough time going to see Dr. Reeves. Her agoraphobia and anxiety completely consumes her. The moments when the reader gets an inside look inside her mind and thought process is chilling. I have general anxiety myself and I really empathized with those sections. Gornall offers the reader such an accurate depiction of moments when you brain can completely control your body. I loved that Gornall did not sugar coat anything and was so open about Norah's thoughts and experiences.
At the heart of this novel is Norah's friendship/relationship with Luke, the new next door neighbor. When her mother is away, they hire Helping Hands to deliver groceries for Norah. Except the delivery person doesn't actually bring the groceries inside. He leaves them on the porch. Norah finds herself in a tough situation as she tries to literally "fish" her groceries inside. Enter Luke. He helps her with the groceries and from there a sort of friendship evolves. Norah at first is reluctant to share details about herself with Luke (understandably) but what blossoms is quite a lovely relationship. I loved the scenes when they were together and I found myself grinning a lot! I also loved how mature Norah was in some circumstances in terms of not wanting to hold Luke back with her situation.
All in all, I really enjoyed this book. The only reason it does not get a full five stars from me was the ending. I'm fine with how things turned out, however, I wish that it was fully fleshed out more. I felt that the ending resolved way too quickly and it wasn't even proper resolution. We got an epilogue(?) chapter and it felt very out of place because the final chapter felt quite rushed. I know that the book is already quite long, but I feel like a few more chapters would've done the end good. Overall, it was a great YA contemporary read that emphasized on mental illness and I think fans of Sophie Kinsella's Finding Audrey or Jennifer Niven's All The Bright Places, would definitely enjoy this!
My rating of the book: ✮✮✮✮ (4/5 stars)
Available for purchase at:
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Disclaimer: An advanced reader's copy of the book was sent by Raincoast Books in exchange for an honest review. All opinions of the book are my own.