Under Rose-Tainted Skies by Louise GornallUnder Rose-Tainted Skies by Louise Gornall
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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?

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Some books have flare, have that cover and synopsis that draws you in the moment you lay eyes on it. You know you want to read it, you know it’s a genre you are absolutely obsessed with, but it’s also a genre that makes it difficult to gauge what’s going to be good, and what’s going to be a pile of wasted potential. And under those breathtaking covers and beautiful synopses, you expect (and hope) to find a spellbinding novel, the same level of awesomeness the outside of the book promises…but you almost always end up disappointed, because nothing is ever as good as you wish. But I can promise you-this isn’t that book.

A side effect of worrying about everything and everyone; I cry at least once a week over things that shouldn’t concern me.

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It may not be for everyone. And, hey, you might even find it repulsive. I can only assure you one thing-this book feels wholly authentic, and I find that to be one of the hardest things to get past these days. Finding an authentic novel that not only shows you a deep, introspective look at a mental illness, but also lets you see that people understand, that people can be kind, that falling in love is a possible thing, no matter the restrictions or stipulations, is so very rare, and it’s just as captivating as any other love story. I find that fantastic and just plain beautiful.

I just want to have proof that I can think straight, that I am more than the girl who believes that odd numbers will cause a catastrophe.

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This story felt so unique to me. I know, I know, mental illness books have been handled well before and so have realistic fiction-gasp!-but the depth to this story…it touched me. And, even more than that, the romance was handled so delicately. I never once felt forced into their relationship. I never once felt uncomfortable (well, aside from when Norah felt uncomfortable). And seeing Luke’s journey from clueless, to informed, to understanding, helpful love interest was a true transformation-and, frankly, also realistic.

Perfection is a feeling; you’ll know it if you’ve ever questioned the competency of your penmanship before writing on the first page of a new notebook.

He didn’t understand-not at all. He said he did. He really wanted to…but he didn’t truly understand until it all fell apart, until he saw how horrifying it was for Norah, how terrifying each and every day was for her if things didn’t go just as she needed them to. He didn’t understand-not at all…but he figured it out, for her.

“Do you need some help?”
I’m drenched in shadow, and boots with steel toecaps take three steps onto the porch. Three steps. That’s awkward. He leaves his back leg trailing behind. I wish he would bring it forward and make it four steps even. My eye twitches.

*This did not happen…but they did hang out on the bed and it was so cute so I had to use one of these!*

Look. Nothing goes perfect in this story, and that’s frankly the best part. Life doesn’t come wrapped up neatly in a perfect little bow, and not everyone gets their happily ever after. It takes work. It takes trust. It takes friendship….and it takes a strong support group surrounding you, people who will stand by your side no matter how tough life gets, and I just loved that about this story. I even felt like there was quite a bit of tough love in this story-Norah’s therapist didn’t let her off the hook, ever, and she constantly tried to push her out of her comfort zone.

It’s possible I’ve ingested enough of my own fingers to call myself a cannibal. They’re so chewed I have trouble straightening them. I very much doubt every girl my age does this. This is perhaps bordering more on my unhealthy levels of panic.

Funny, witty, wholly gripping, and with an adorable romance that stole my heart and took my breath away, this story sunk its claws into me from the moment I started it. I saw this book and just knew it was going to be special…and for once? I was right. It’s refreshing to pick up a story and feel not only giddiness, happiness, elation, true love…but also a life altering reality that many people live through every day. To read about something that hinders someone else’s life to the point of almost ruining it, to read about them and the support they receive but also how hard it still is for them. It broke my heart in the best possible way… and patched it back up again.

I hope others will find the same love and enjoyment from this book as I did, but if not, I’ll cherish it all by my lonesome-and I won’t feel the least bit guilty about it.

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