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.
Kindle Edition, 336 pages
Published: January 3rd 2017 by Clarion Books
Four stars: A touching and eye opening look at life with agoraphobia.
Norah heads downstairs, trying to forget the book on her bookshelf that is slightly misaligned, but just like an itch that you can't stop scratching, her fevered brain won't rest until she adjusts the book. For seventeen year old Norah, life has become a never ending battle with her own mind. She has suffered with severe agoraphobia, OCD and anxiety since she was thirteen. Norah's condition is so bad, she can't leave her house, except for doctor's appointments. Then things take a dramatic turn when Norah finds herself on her own for a few days. When things seem dire, she receives unexpected aid from her new neighbor, Luke. Before long, Norah finds herself making friends with Luke. Could it be possible for Norah to conquer her illness?
What I Liked:
- Under Rose Tainted Skies was a remarkable and poignant book. This is a book that takes on agoraphobia, obsessive compulsive disorder and severe anxiety. It is an educational and eye opening read, one that I highly recommend you take a chance on.
- What I loved about this book was plunging into Norah's head. It was terrifying and interesting at the same time. Norah's frantic mind can stumble and obsess over the most mundane things. It was frightening and shocking to see how things that most of us take for granted could completely cripple Norah. Even though Norah has tons of issues, she is charming, and she is a fighter. I couldn't help but to admire her and cheer for her as she bravely fought her own brain every day. Sometimes she won, and other times she faltered, but the girl has heart, and she got up over and over again. I loved how realistic and inspiring Norah was.
- The cast of supporting characters were just as intriguing as Norah. Her mother is eccentric and patient with a heart of gold. I liked how she always had Norah's best interest at heart and that she never pushed her. Norah's doctor was also amazing. She was patient and willing to whatever was necessary to help Norah, even make house calls. Then there is Luke. If only there were more people like Luke in the world, willing to see beyond one's weakness and quirks to the beautiful person underneath.
- What I found the most compelling about this book was how the whole issue of Norah's condition was handled. Too often in this day in age, mental illness is seen as a weakness that people should be able to overcome, as in Norah's case, many people couldn't see why she couldn't just conquer her fears. However, for someone battling a mental illness, it is not that easy. Mental illness is not a weakness, it is a disease of the mind. I also loved that Norah was inspired by the author who in real life suffers with her own mental battles. Definitely read the author's note at the beginning and end.
- I liked the bit of romance in this one. It isn't a traditional type of romance, and it takes its time to build into a friendship before moving hesitantly forward. I loved seeing how this friendship changed Norah and gave her courage.
- The ending was nice and satisfying. I liked that it was realistic and that there was still battles to be fought. I closed the book with hope for Norah.
And The Not So Much:
- The ending was much too abrupt and fast paced in comparison to the rest of the book. The story takes its time to explore Norah's condition and her daily battles. Then there are a couple of big catalytic and climatic moments that brush by exceedingly fast. I was disappointed that after the big terrifying event, you get a quick recap, and then an epilogue down the line. I wanted more depth and detail. I wish that the author had taken more time to develop those final scenes and the ending. It felt too hurried.
- I was touched when I read the author's note, and pleased that she encouraged anyone who suffers like Norah to seek help. I just wish that she had provided some online resources for readers who need that information.
- I felt like there was more story to tell. I wanted more of Norah, and I wanted to see if she could continue to fight and make headway against her demons. Perhaps there might be a sequel?
Under a Rose Tainted Sky is a touching and educational read. If you know someone who struggles with OCD, anxiety and agoraphobia, or any other mental condition, this is a book to read. It is sweet, funny, and hopeful as well as informative. I highly recommend this book for all readers as I feel it is important for all of us to understand mental illness better. I applaud the author for being brave enough to share part of herself with the world.
I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own, and I was not compensated for this review.