TITLE: Under Rose-Tainted Skies
AUTHOR: Louise Gornall
PUBLISHER: Chicken House
GENRE: Young Adult, Romance, Contemporary
RATING: 4.5/5 Stars
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...
What I Liked:
- There were so many aspects of this book that I enjoyed! More than anything, I loved the focus that Gornall gave to mental health: in particular, OCD, Agoraphobia and self harm. I realised in fact that I have never read a book that focuses on self harm which is disappointing because it's an issue that a lot of teens face nowadays and I think should be properly discussed. I don't have Agoraphobia or severe OCD like Norah but the anxiety thing was 100% spot on, that's for sure. Also, bonus points for the positive outlook on therapy!
- I really did have a lot of love for the romance in this book, and that's a great compliment from me because that genre is not something I usually enjoy all that much. Luke was absolutely adorable and really meshed well with Norah. I loved the cute letters through the post box and his unstoppable enthusiasm and understanding of Norah's situation AND the fact that Luke wasn't there to 'cure' her. In fact in some ways, he made things worse. His backstory made for an interesting read too. Norah was likeable enough as an MC and I was impressed that Gornall put so much development into all her characters (except maybe Amy, who definitely fit a 'trope').
What I Disliked:
- There were a couple of issues with this book that stopped me from giving it the full five stars, and they mostly arose from the ending...or lack of. I understand that mental illness doesn't just stop and life goes on, but the whole someone breaking in thing felt a little forced and bizarre and the recovery from the hospital didn't satisfy like the rest of the book had. It didn't address the self-harm, nor did it give any 'where do we go from here' hints.
This book definitely lives up to the hype it's been receiving in the Blogosphere and I'm glad that I ended up enjoying it so much. Don't be fooled by it's pretty pink cover, this book goes dark when it needs to and I think it will be triggering for some people that read it. However, it covers a lot of important issues really well and does a wonderful job of introducing a cute romance story-line in the process. I just wish that the ending had been as well thought out as the rest of the book!