This book was refreshing, sobering, funny, at times heartbreaking, but always hopeful. It was also an eye-opener, letting the reader catch a glimpse of what it's like for a teen girl to live with agoraphobia and OCD.
Under Rose-Tainted Skies by Louise Gornall
Category: YA Fiction
Genre: Mental Illness / Romance
Publisher: Clarion Books
Published: Jan 3, 2017
Hardcover, 336 pages
Content rating: PG-13 for profanity
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.
Readers themselves will fall in love with Norah in this poignant, humorous, and deeply engaging portrait of a teen struggling to find the strength to face her demons.
Norah is a bright and spunky teen who is housebound because she cannot step out of her house. Even going out to see her psychiatrist causes her to have a full-blown debilitating panic attack. So she has been homeschooled for the last four years, her only contact with the outside world being the Internet and her mom. Until Luke moves in right next door.
Suddenly Norah has to deal with situations and feelings that are new to her. Luke takes an interest in her, but how is she to tell him that she is sick, that she panics when someone touches her, that her mind works differently than other girls? But Luke, who is sweet and has family issues of his own sees Norah as the beautiful quirky girl he likes, who shares the same interests he does, who he feels comfortable talking to.
I truly enjoyed reading this story. It was insightful, especially for me being the mom of two teens. I know how much hanging around with friends and being a part of a social scene is important to teens, so my heart broke for Norah who wanted to be a part of that but couldn't. The book is written in the first person, so we get to see how Norah thinks as she spews out all that goes on in her mind. This is what makes the book unique and realistic. Norah is vulnerable but she is also strong. I kept rooting for her throughout the book.
Because of my background in Special Care Counselling, I am always attracted to books that deal with mental illness. The author who has the same mental struggles as Norah, the character she created, states in a letter to the reader on the first page, "I believe passionately in the importance of talking about mental health issues and in opening the doors to safe and empowering conversations." I think this is so important, and I applaud the author for doing this and for succeeding with this novel!
Although this is YA fiction, (and there is profanity with f-words but no sexual content) I think this book would appeal to anyone who has an interest in mental illness. I especially liked the character of the mom who was supportive and compassionate, and knew not only how to deal with her daughter's illness, but also how to gently push her into making positive changes and facing coming-of-age situations. This novel is a great mother/daughter book. I think teens will enjoy Norah's story and will be able to relate to a girl who falls for the boy next door.
This book releases today!