Published by Chicken House on July 7th 2016
Genres: Contemporary, Romance, Young Adult
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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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