Under Rose-Tainted Skies Review: This is What Agoraphobia Is

November 16, 2016 by Jenna | 4 stars, Books, Reviews

Under Rose-Tainted Skies Review: This is What Agoraphobia IsUnder Rose-Tainted Skies by Louise Gornall
Published by Chicken House on July 7th 2016
Source: Purchased
Genres: Contemporary, Romance, Young Adult
Amazon | Book Depository | Publisher | Angus & Robertson | Booktopia | Barnes & Noble
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Agoraphobia confines Norah to the house she shares with her mother.
For her, the outside is sky glimpsed through glass, or a gauntlet to run between home and car. But a chance encounter on the doorstep changes everything: Luke, her new neighbour. Norah is determined to be the girl she thinks Luke deserves: a ‘normal’ girl, her skies unfiltered by the lens of mental illness. Instead, her love and bravery opens a window to unexpected truths …

An important and uplifting debut from a British author, which tackles mental health issues such as agoraphobia and OCD.

Under Rose-Tainted Skies is a book about agoraphobia that is written by an own-voices author. The book came across as a very accurate depiction of what agoraphobia is like and I think it’s because it’s written by an author who has experienced the condition.

I thought the book was an accurate representation of agoraphobia but my biggest issue with the book was that that was all it was. There wasn’t a lot of plot in the novel and I felt like all I was reading were different symptoms of agoraphobia and situations that are made difficult by the illness. I would have liked a little bit more story to tie it all together. However, I did like that the novel made me think a lot about how the condition affects agoraphobics. There was one scene in particular where the main character, Norah, has groceries delivered and has a freak out when they are left outside instead of delivered. It never even occurred to me that that would be a problem for agoraphobics and it was definitely an eye-opening read.


If you’ve read Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon and was disappointed with the twist at the end of the book, this might be a book that you’d enjoy. In Under Rose-Tainted Skies, Norah slowly falls in love with her neighbour, Luke, who seems fun-loving and has a lot of friends, but chooses to spend his time with Norah. I liked how their relationship played out and enjoyed that it wasn’t a love-cures-all kind of story. It was an adorable romance that was slightly cliched at times but I thought it was a good example of a healthy relationship. My main criticism with the romance was that Luke’s character was a little unrealistic at times. He was almost too good to be true and I couldn’t imagine any teenage boy doing some of the things that he did in this book. Having said that, I did really love the two of them together.

Norah’s character itself was very easy to connect with. She had a very strong voice and it was extremely easy to get into her story. But having said that, I wasn’t a big fan of the writing in the book. It didn’t really flow seamlessly and I found that the author used too many similes and metaphors, which took me out of the story and made me start to skim the writing. It was by no means a badly written book – the writing style just wasn’t for me.


2016 seems to have been the year for books about agoraphobia. Some of the others that I’ve enjoyed are Highly Illogical Behaviour and Underwater and I enjoyed Under Rose-Tainted Skies just as much. I thought it was one of the best representations of agoraphobia that I’ve read but I did find it to be lacking in plot and I didn’t connect with the writing style.

Rating: 4 out of 5



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Jenna is an Aussie blogger and reader who loves to indulge in great books and great food. She is a doctor (of philosophy) and can usually be found fangirling about something, devouring delicious food, or taking a nap. You can find her on Twitter @readwithjenna and on Instagram @readingwithjenna.

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19 responses to “Under Rose-Tainted Skies Review: This is What Agoraphobia Is

  1. Thanks Ksenia. I definitely enjoyed the agoraphobia aspect of it and thought it was extremely insightful but I did wish there was more plot. At the same time, I also didn't mind it too much because I don't think I would have liked it as much if it had a complete story arc, with a fully resolved ending. It just wouldn't be realistic.

  2. Kelly

    That beautiful cover does plenty to add to an awesome sounding book! I read Underwater earlier this year and fell in love with it, which is probably why I'm so excited for this one. I'm really looking forward to seeing how the story plays out, and I'm really intrigued by the fact that the author is writing about a condition she has personally experienced. Great review as always!
    My recent post Review: All in Pieces by Suzanne Young

    • The fact that this was an own voices book was what drew me to it initially and it definitely didn't disappoint on the agoraphobia aspect. I highly enjoyed it and thought it was very insightful. If you liked Underwater, I think you'll really like this one too!

    • Oh that's so disappointing! I hope you can pick it up from the library (or just get the UK edition online now!) because it was a really adorable but insightful book.

  3. Great review, Jenna! Thanks for writing so clearly what you did and didn’t like. This book definitely raises an important topic; I’m glad to hear that there is a realistic representation of agoraphobia. It helps those of us who doesn’t suffer from this mental illness to have a better understanding of obstacles that agoraphobics face every day. At the same time this is a fiction book, so I’m sad to hear that other aspects of the story were lacking.

  4. Jamie

    Great review! I just recently read Everything, Everything and I also felt like (slight spoiler) the ending was a cop-out. (slight spoiler over) This book sounds like it'd have an insightful yet really cute plot. Definitely adding it to my TBR!

    • Yesss I'm glad to hear that. I've read quite a few books with agoraphobia this year and the best ones have been written by own voices authors, including this one!

    • It's almost like a slice of life (but with a bit more of a story arc) that highlights the difficulties that agoraphobics experience I guess.

    • Thanks! This book wasn't on my radar at all but someone recommended it to me as Everything Everything without the weird twist so I picked it up! It was a great story and a good look into agoraphobia.

    • The lack of plot didn't really bother me until the book was over and I was able to enjoy it anyway. It's a super quick read so I hope you give it a go soon!

  5. corrallingbooks

    This sounds like the book for me! I'm so happy that so many more books about mental health are being published now, and as someone who was disappointed with the ending of Everything Everything – I am SO EXCITED to read Under Rose Tainted Skies! Thanks so much for sharing – had no idea this book even existed until you reviewed it!
    My recent post The Yearbook Committee by Sarah Ayoub

    • HAHA yes I was disappointed with the twist in Everything Everything too. This book definitely does not have that! I think it's coming out in early 2017 in North America but the UK edition is available already.

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