Title: Under Rose-Tainted Skies
Author: Louise Gornall
Genre: Romance, Contemporary, YA
Publisher: Chicken House
Publication date: 7th July 2016
Summary: 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 …
I was put off by this novel for a long time. Just before the release and shortly after, it was being made a very big deal of online, and i wasn’t quite sure why. Admittedly, i knew nothing about it anyway. I’d never read the back of it or never picked up a copy in store (i think it was the garish pink that put me off!) but one day, i put a copy in my basket and that was it. It was advertised a lot while we were at YALC this year, and i knew i had a copy at home, but i still wasn’t in the mood to pick it up and read it. Until one day, i was choosing a book to read and Under Rose-Tainted Skies came in to my eye line.
Norah has agoraphobia. She doesn’t leave her house very often, she takes the bottom step twice and she most definitely doesn’t kiss boys. That changed when Luke moved in next door and mistakes Norah shooing off a bird for a flirtatious wave. The rest is history.
I knew absolutely nothing going in to this novel. I chose to not read the back or watch any reviews online, i wanted to know nothing. I was pleasantly surprised by it all. I couldn’t help but think it reminded me of Everything Everything or Finding Audrey as i was reading. Both of those novels are about teenage girls who for some reason or other, are ‘saved’ from leaving their homes by a boy. However Under Rose-Tainted Skies seemed so much more realistic than any i’ve read before. The boy doesn’t automatically fix Norah and she’s suddenly okay out in the real world, it’s very the opposite, and that was so refreshing to read.
I was about to recommend this to everyone i know (because it honestly is a great book) before i hit about half way through. MASSIVE TRIGGER WARNING, there is a lot of detailed mentioning of self harm in this novel. I’m surprised it isn’t warned more of on the cover. There is a small notice on the back ‘for older readers’, however i’d say the self harm aspects are very graphic and could be triggering for a lot of people. Keep that in mind if you want to read this novel yourself of buy it as a gift.
The characters weren’t very relatable for me, i’m not sure why i didn’t fully connect with them. However i enjoyed the story very much, and fell a little bit in love with Luke (trust me, he’s like Noah Shaw swoon worthy). The pace kept the story going quickly and meant you were constantly interested in what happened next. That meant that even a slow reader like me managed to get through it quite quickly.
Under Rose-Tainted Skies was the debut novel from Louise Gornall, and i honestly cannot wait to see what she comes out with next. Without a doubt i will be picking up anything she releases in the future.