Publisher: Chicken House
Release Date: 7th July 2016
Edition: UK proof, review copy
Agoraphobia confines Norah to the house she shares with her mother. For her, the outside is sky glimpsed through glass, or a gauntlet to run between home and car. But a chance encounter on the doorstep changes everything: Luke, her new neighbour.
Norah is determined to be the girl she thinks Luke deserves: a ‘normal’ girl, her skies unfiltered by the lens of mental illness, instead, her love and bravery opens a window to unexpected truths…
I knew I was going to enjoy Louise Gornall’s debut, but I didn’t expect to love it as whole-heartedly as I did. Under Rose Tainted Skies is my favourite contemporary YA read of the year so far. Hands down.
Norah is the kind of character you fall in love with pretty much immediately. She’s sharp, funny and bitey. She also suffers from OCD, anxiety and agoraphobia, but she’s working on it. Norah’s frustration and anger with her illnesses is vivid and tangible; it was heartbreakingly honest. I’ve never suffered from either OCD or agoraphobia but I now feel like I understand them a bit better, the thought processes and the day-to-day limitations as well as what they really are.
When Luke moves in next door, Norah suddenly has a whole host of new things to worry about and these two are ADORABLE. I mean, seriously, it should be illegal to be that cute! Their relationship moved beautifully, and realistically, slowly and I loved watching Luke learn about Norah’s illness and take it in his stride while Norah adjusted to let Luke into her world. It was incredibly sweet, but it also felt honest and right.
Now, Imma talk about the ending for a bit, so if you haven’t finished the book, know that I loved Under Rose Tainted Skies completely and scamper off to finish it. Right. The ending. Lots of YA that I've read dealing with mental illness seem to have a miraculously happy ending, with the illnesses forgotten or just gone, or a horribly sad one, so I’m really glad that Norah’s story didn’t end like that. I mean, it was happy and hopeful and authentic, but it wasn’t perfectly wrapped up in a bow, and I can’t imagine Norah’s life will ever be that easy, but it can better, and it will. I loved the hope and positivity in it while keeping it real. This book just made me really happy, tbh.
I completely loved this beautiful, brave, and honest book and I’m genuinely excited to see what else Louise Gornall has up her sleeves.
Thanks to Chicken House and Nina Douglas PR for the review copy.