Review: Under Rose-Tainted Skies by Louise Gornall

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Under Rose-Tainted Skies (Standalone)
Written by Louise Gornall
Published January, 2017 by Clarion Books
330 pages
Genre: Mental Health, Young Adult, Contemporary
Rating: ★★★★★

Synopsis:

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?

Review:

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.

Review: When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon

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When Dimple Met Rishi (Standalone)
Written by Sandhya Menon
Published May, 2017 by Simon Pulse
380 pages
Genre: Fiction, Young Adult, Contemporary
Rating: ★★★★★

Synopsis:

A laugh-out-loud, heartfelt YA romantic comedy, told in alternating perspectives, about two Indian-American teens whose parents have arranged for them to be married.

Dimple Shah has it all figured out. With graduation behind her, she’s more than ready for a break from her family, from Mamma’s inexplicable obsession with her finding the “Ideal Indian Husband.” Ugh. Dimple knows they must respect her principles on some level, though. If they truly believed she needed a husband right now, they wouldn’t have paid for her to attend a summer program for aspiring web developers…right?

Rishi Patel is a hopeless romantic. So when his parents tell him that his future wife will be attending the same summer program as him—wherein he’ll have to woo her—he’s totally on board. Because as silly as it sounds to most people in his life, Rishi wants to be arranged, believes in the power of tradition, stability, and being a part of something much bigger than himself.

The Shahs and Patels didn’t mean to start turning the wheels on this “suggested arrangement” so early in their children’s lives, but when they noticed them both gravitate toward the same summer program, they figured, Why not?

Dimple and Rishi may think they have each other figured out. But when opposites clash, love works hard to prove itself in the most unexpected ways.

Review:

I can’t believe we’ve been blessed with a book that is equally cute as it is culturally diverse. I couldn’t stop smiling while flying through this. This book is probably one of the most diverse and adorable contemporaries I’ve read this year. It’s packed full of Indian references and subtle little quips and it’s just so fucking good!

Dimple Shah has just graduated high school and is about to go to Uni to become a web developer and has no time for romance, tradition or her mother’s dedication to get Dimple married. Dimple Shah is determined, opinionated, and fiercely independent.

Rishi Patel on the other hand is quite the opposite of Dimple, he was traditional, romantic and intensely filial and he’s 100% on board with his parent’s arranged date between himself and dimple. Their first meeting is something straight out of a romcom – filled with miscommunications, twisted fate, and hilarity.

I also really liked how it was a positive story about arranged marriage for Indian cultures! Generally I see it portrayed as very negative, so it’s nice to get this perspective. Plus both sets of parents were lovely, kind, and wanted the best for their children. It’s always refreshing to see parents in YA books not casted as the villains.

This is a very fantastic rom-com. The jokes are actually funny and the romance was just adorable. It just works, you know? Dimple and Rishi are perfect together. I’m also glad it split up to tell both perspectives, because they really both were precious cinnamon rolls and I loved every chapter. The writing had me hooked on every chapter and I truly cared for the characters. I would highly recommend if you’re a fan of heartfelt romantic comedy.