Under Rose-Tainted Skies (Standalone)
Written by Louise Gornall
Published January, 2017 by Clarion Books
Genre: Mental Health, Young Adult, Contemporary
At seventeen, Norah has accepted that the four walls of her house delineate her life. She knows that fearing everything from inland tsunamis to odd numbers is irrational, but her mind insists the world outside is too big, too dangerous. So she stays safe inside, watching others’ lives through her windows and social media feed.
But when Luke arrives on her doorstep, he doesn’t see a girl defined by medical terms and mental health. Instead, he sees a girl who is funny, smart, and brave. And Norah likes what he sees.
Their friendship turns deeper, but Norah knows Luke deserves a normal girl. One who can walk beneath the open sky. One who is unafraid of kissing. One who isn’t so screwed up. Can she let him go for his own good—or can Norah learn to see herself through Luke’s eyes?
Under Rose-Tainted Skies is one of my favorite books of 2017 so far. This book just explains mental illness so beautifully. I’m always incredibly worried that mental health would be treated inappropriately and really be more harmful than helpful. I was honestly shocked about how good this book was. It’s real. It’s raw. And most of all, it’s important. It deals with serious topics such as agoraphobia, anxiety, OCD and self harm. I personally have a very limited understanding of agoraphobia and reading a book about it by an author who suffers from it is incredibly refreshing. I hate when mental health is done incorrectly and this book just gives me so much hope for future books about mental health.
Norah is a great protagonist; she is easy to relate to and care for. If you have anxiety or OCD or know someone who does I think you will definitely see the accuracy of the illnesses depicted. It is not hard to sympathize with Norah’s struggle and feel for her.
I had a lot of feelings for Norah. She’s got so much personality, she feels trapped by her mental health, she mourns the life she used to have, she has dreams for the future, she wants to be with Luke but has no idea how to go about it or if her anxiety and OCD will let her.
One of my favourite part was that, even though there was a love interest and a romantic plot, love did not cure all. Luke is an incredible love interest and is so supportive but he doesn’t attempt to cure her. I can’t even tell you how sick I am of books that deal with mental health being easily solved by love. Love does not cure mental illnesses. Sure, they can definitely help but they do not cure it.
Mental health should never be used as a fun plot point that can be easily solved. Norah is sick when we meet her and by the end, she is still sick but slowly recovering. This is what it’s really like.
I hope this book finds an audience because of its vivid and powerful descriptions of what living with mental illness can be like.