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Read.Read.Read: Under Rose-Tainted Skies by Louise Gornall (Review)

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Release date: January 3rd, 2017 Author links: Goodreads - Twitter - Website Publisher: Clarion Books Description (from Goodreads): 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? Oh my, this one was REALLY good!  I always feel slightly hesitant to pick up books which deal with anxiety because of (a) my own anxiety and (b) the fear that anxiety is used only as some sort of gimmick that the anxious character suddenly and magically gets rid off when for example a cute guy shows around. "It's like my mind and my brain are two separate things, working against each other. I can't get them to cooperate." The latter is just not the reality of anxiety (at least not for me) and I am glad to report that at least I was able to identify Gornall's representation of anxiety and anxious feelings as realistic. Because of that, Under Rose-Tainted Skies  is hard to read at times, but that also makes it so damn real.  The novel focuses on Norah, who suffers from agoraphobia and is unable to leave her house. As she herself says, she is "scared of everything." She lives with her mother, who I absolutely loved by the way, and is used to spending a lot of time on her own. "She thinks that all my baggage shouldn't matter. She thinks people should see past it, should see that I am more than what is wrong with me. The clouds in her sky are always rose-coloured, which I know is a beautiful way to be. Alas, I have a mind that muddies everything. My skies aren't so pretty; more tainted with fear than tainted with whimsy." While agoraphobia is obviously a huge part of Norah's life, I loved the fact that she is not defined only by that. What I mean by this is the fact that Gornall represent Norah as this wonderful, multifaceted character who fears the outside, but who also fiercely loves her mother, dreams of a kind of future her mind keeps fighting against, and who possesses a wonderful sense of humor and an ability to laugh at herself. Pretty much from page one, I was rooting for Norah! I always like it when young adult novels feature good description of a therapist-client relationship, and I think Gornall does pretty good job creating the scenes in which Norah talks about her life with her therapist. Such scenes are also interestingly used to give insights into Norah's condition and the different things she has been going through.  One of the main aspects that made Under Rose-Tainted Skies  hard to read at times are the sections of the novel focused on Norah's self-harming behavior, such as cutting and picking on her skin. As a result of these scenes, I would definitely attach a trigger warning about self-harm to this novel! "Acceptance of the strange is his superpower." The romantic element of the novel is introduced when a new guy called Luke moves to the house next door to Norah's. As she connects with Luke, first hesitantly, Norah starts to feel things that both scare and excite her. In general, Luke is a super decent guy, but I did appreciate the fact that Gornall does not attempt to portray him as some sort of 100% perfect prince but rather as someone who is flawed and might not always know at first how to talk to or act around Norah. All and all, the romantic aspect of the novel was very cute, yet realistic, at least to the extent that Norah does not suddenly just recover from her anxiety after a cute guy looks at her. I though Under the Rose-Tainted Skies  was a beautiful, touching, occasionally funny, and romantic novel about growing up, about coming to terms with issues related to mental health. Gornall writes beautifully and once I really got into this story I found it extremely difficult to put down. Rating:

Avainsanat: young adult under rose-tainted skies review louise gornall world wonderful windows who website watching walk twitter talk super strange starts sort some social sky skin she sense scenes rose result report release relationship related reality real rating rather publisher prince pick perfect people mother media mean me matter main louise looks iives like leave learn latter job january it house herself general funny friendship four feeling feature fear extremely example each dreams door difficult deal damn creating clouds clarion by brain big beatiful author against adult act able 2017