Publication: January 3, 2017 by Clarion Books
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?
Ever since I saw this article which mentioned that “If you’re a fan of Everything, Everything, you should definitely check out Under Rose-Tainted Skies”, I’ve grown quite intrigued with the latter. Everyone knows how big a fan I am of Nicola Yoon AND Everything, Everything so to read this debut novel from Louise Gornall has been my plan ever since. And, as expected, I loved it just as much as I loved Nicola’s debut, albeit for very different reasons. Today, I’m excited to share with everyone my review for Under Rose-Tainted Skies.
As I’ve mentioned above, Louise Gornall’s debut is just as impressive as Everything, Everything but for very different reasons. Norah’s story focuses on how it is to be trapped inside one’s own mind while having to endure daily life battles and insecurities. It highlights how hard life can sometimes be for people with OCD and / or Agoraphobia. But with the help of this book, readers such as myself can get a glimpse at how differences usually play out, especially for those with this specific kind of mental illness. Through Norah’s perspective, I have instantly grown my affection for those who suffer this way. Not only do they need extra care and attention, but they also need to feel a sense of normalcy in their life. As with those who suffer normal illnesses, they don’t need to be constantly reminded of how sick they are so we, as always, should be careful as to how we treat them.
Luke and Norah’s romance story is not your usual contemporary cup of tea. Norah didn’t just fall in love with Luke’s physical appearance, and Luke didn’t just fall in love with Norah because of sheer fascination. Their slow burn love story was written in a way that a reader won’t easily ship both characters. The author did an amazing job at developing the characters individually first before trying out how well (or perfect) they could be for one another. And, when it came to it, Luke and Norah’s story moved me in ways even I have never imagined. It gave me a glimpse at how it is to be loved fully despite your illness, and how amazing it would feel to find this kind of love. I cried, I cried, I swooned, and most importantly, I got attached to their story.
I have to admit, however, that my selling point for this novel is the main character herself. From start to finish, though, I’ve grown fond of Norah. She’s the type of girl that I might not get along that well with since I’m a fairly active and energetic person, but that didn’t hinder me from rooting for her and wanting to see her dreams through. I guess what I’m trying to say here is that I am impressed with how the author was able to introduce me to a character who I didn’t expect that I would easily feel attached too, not because I related to her, but because I was delighted to see how resilient and persistent Norah was in trying to live her life. In the end, I couldn’t deny the fact that I craved more of Norah’s backstory. I wanted to read about how her life was pre-OCD. I wanted to get to know her before she was diagnosed with her illnesses, and so I could view her character development through all the possible angles.
Before I end this review, though, I want to mention that I felt like the ending was a bit rushed, albeit it was fairly understandable. I’m delighted with how the story ended, don’t get me wrong, but while reading the last few pages of this book, I felt like everything happened a bit too fast. I didn’t get confused with what’s happening, if that’s what you’re wondering, but on the contrary, it seems to me that there were tons of scenes that felt squeezed into the story’s final pages. No worries, though! I still adored this book just the same!
“Under Rose-Tainted Skies deserves to be read generally by everyone. Norah’s story screams bravery and resilience, and I just know that a lot of readers, especially Young Adults, might be able to understand and somehow even relate to her. Now, I can only dream of reading this once again for the first time, just to relive how amazing I felt while getting to know Norah.”
Have you read Under Rose-Tainted Skies by Louise Gornall? What did you think of it? Also, are you one of those who associated this novel with Nicola Yoon’s debut, Everything, Everything? Let me know via the comments section below!
JM is a 21 year old blogger from Manila. He has a degree in Hotel and Restaurant Managment mainly because it was too late when he discovered that literature and publishing is his true calling. He enjoys reading contemporary and fantasy novels as much as he enjoys playing video games and baking pastries. You may find him on Twitter, Instagram, and on Goodreads.