Under Rose-Tainted Skiesby Louise Gornall
Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Clarion Books on January 3rd 2017
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult
I received this book for free from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
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.
Anytime I can get into someone else’s mind and see their point of view, I’m all for it. If that point of view is so different, so unique and unlike anything I’ve witnessed, felt, or even known, you can’t hold me back! I must know how it feels to be in the person’s shoes. I’m a huge supporter of mental health awareness so I was doubly interested in this story.
Before Louise Gornall begins Norah’s tale, she takes the time to write the reader a brief letter. Not to be skipped over, this letter introduces the protagoist, Norah, and how she came to life. I always, ALWAYS appreciate anytime an author shares their connection to the story. In this case, it’s a pretty big connection.
Both Louise and her character Norah suffer from agoraphobia, a debilitating anxiety disorder where your fear of perceived danger overrides your ability to think calmly and stay in control (my paraphrasing – don’t consider me an expert!).
Norah is a junior in high school but she’s done homeschooling for the last four years. Norah’s best friends are her mother and her therapist, but she keeps tabs on all things going on in the world by following her former schoolmates’ social feeds. When a very cute boy moves in next door to her, Norah’s self-contained world gets turned on it’s axis and she feels like her sanity is starting to spill out.
I immediately connected with Norah because Ms. Gornall wrote Norah with a snarky, intelligent, quick wit. So even when Norah was in her own head, she explained her unique situation with style and no-nonsense. Norah knew she wasn’t normal but she thought she was the only one not normal. She never guessed anyone would tolerate her rules and way of living. She was an easy protagonist to root for.
The story was original, fast moving, and held my heart in it’s hands the entire time. I can’t say the ending had a classic “happily ever after” but I will say it was perfectly proportionate to the rest of the story. I loved it!
My wish is for this book to be in every school library’s bookshelf and in every library’s young adult collection. While we’re at it, might as well toss some awards it’s way… it’s that good 🙂