Author: Louise Gornall
Release Date: January 3, 2017
Publisher: Clarion Books
Source: Raincoast Books
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. (Goodreads)
*I received and eGalley of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion.*
I went into Under Rose-Tainted Skies looking for a good, compassionate story about a girl living with mental illness and maybe to swoon a bit. I got both of those in abundance. I was also able to develop an incredibly strong connection to the characters which is a huge draw for me.
I loved how mental illness was treated in this book. Norah proves that you can be incredibly compelling, likable, witty, etc. and suffer from mental illness contrary to what long-standing stigmas may suggest. Her relationship with Luke is also amazing; if more people were able to help those close to them struggling with mental illness the way Luke does with Norah, many lives would change for the better. I also love seeing Norah’s thoughts on it and how her everyday life is affected and also seeing her try to progress. There’s no magic cure for mental illness but we can all work together to make it manageable and support those around us that need it.
I also wanted to swoon and I got that. As I’m sure you can guess from my mention of how Luke is with Norah, he ends up getting his very own book boyfriend membership card. He’s funny, caring, kind, a little bit nerdy but also still cool, and an overall amazing character. I love them individually as characters and I loved their dynamic in dealing with one another. Norah’s idea of talking to a guy she likes/flirting is soooo in line with how I am so it was nice to see another awkward girl because I always end up super envious of the girls in books that have great skills for talking to boys.
I found myself not wanting to stop reading Under Rose-Tainted Skies when I had to take breaks for inconvenient things like work, meals, bathing, etc. It’s not a fast-paced action story (obviously) but I was so incredibly invested that I flew through the book. The pacing was good and wanting Norah and Luke to hurry up and become a thing made it a quick read.
This is easily one of my favourite YA books that touches on mental illness. I loved the story, the characters, the portrayal, the journey. I definitely recommend Under Rose-Tainted Skies if you’re looking for a cute contemporary read that also sheds some light on life with mental illness.