Under Rose-Tainted Skies by Louise Gornall – Review

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.

I’m not sure how to put into words just how much I enjoyed this book but I am more than willing to give it a try. The problem I’m having is where to start but simply put, I loved each and every word.

Louise Gornall has somehow managed to write a book about such a difficult topic, in a way that made me want to read it over and over again. For various reasons, I can often find it quite tough reading books surrounding the topic of mental illness and I think I tend to subconsciously avoid them, (although I am currently consciously trying do the opposite). So although I knew I wanted/needed to read this book after reading the synopsis, I was still somewhat apprehensive about how I would feel whilst reading it. But oh my gosh, did I love this book?! (Yes. The answer is yes. Yes, yes, yes. I absolutely, 100% totally and utterly adored it!) This book made me feel so much. I found myself swimming through whole spectrum of emotions, from the first page up until the last. This book made me happy, sad, anxious, frustrated. I related to Norah on many levels and my heart hurt for her on so many others. I wanted to cry and laugh at the same time and I fell totally and utterly in love…

…. But yes, there’s the gushy part over. Honestly, I want to gush about this book to everyone and anyone who will listen but it’s possibly a good idea, for my own sanity, and everyone else’s, that I go into some of the reasons why I adored this book so much.

Where to begin?…

The way mental health was portrayed in this was, in my opinion, superb. It was honest and raw, heartbreaking and informative, and despite the romance, Norah’s mental health wasn’t romanticised. ‘Under Rose-Tainted Skies’ focus’s heavily on Norah’s agoraphobia, OCD and anxiety, but also touches on her experience with depression. It was sensitively written, whilst at the same time, not to hiding or sugarcoating how soul destroying it can be living with mental illness.

Norah. She was human, flawed, honest, funny, scared and full of heart with busy mind. She was a brilliant example of how a person is not their mental illness, no matter how much it can take over their life. She had a personality, dreams, fears and a sense of humour, all of which weren’t solely dependent or due to her mental health. Yes, she was living with all of these things but they weren’t 100% of what made her who she was. She was still portrayed as a whole person and character despite all these things, which I loved.

Now to possibly, my favourite part of the book, Luke. Luke, Luke, Luke. I’m not one to fall in love with a book solely due to it’s love interest (and that’s definitely not what happened with ‘Under Rose-Tainted Skies’) but, boy oh boy did I fall in love with Luke. Louise Gornall has written my newest and possibly favourite ‘book boyfriend’ of all time. I feel like I’m twelve again, wanting to tell everyone about my love for Josh Hutcherson. (Journey to the Centre of the Earth Josh Hutcherson. Despite my crush, I only spoke about him once, one lunchtime in primary school, to a group of ‘friends’ before they all laughed at me. A few years later one of them had photoshopped herself with Josh’s ‘Hunger Games’ red carpet photo as her Facebook profile picture. I was well over that crush by then. Who’s laughing now? BUT, getting back to my point, I wanted to talk about him all the time. Anyway…) Luke was sensitive, caring, funny and witty. He asked about Norah’s mental health and then listened when she told him. And the best thing? He then went out of his way to learn more about it so he could understand, because he wanted be there for Norah. He didn’t run away scared, he wasn’t immature about it and he didn’t change himself or the way he talked to and acted around Norah once he found out. Luke is who you find as the oxford dictionary’s definition of perfect, right? Okay, so he wasn’t perfect. He was still human, he made mistakes but that almost made his character even more fantastic because he didn’t pretend he hadn’t made mistakes, instead he understood and learn’t from them, as did Norah. It was so refreshing to have a romance that wasn’t all about the drama and love interest who was simply a decent human being. I like Luke.

Lastly I wanted to mention the writing. Simply put, it was gorgeous. Louise Gornall has a way with words that is not only undeniably wonderful but also gives you that ‘I never want put this book down but I also don’t want to finish it because then it will be over and what will I do then’ feeling… In fact, I was so caught up in the whirlwind of emotions this book was causing me to feel, that I forgot to jot down any quotes, which I’m now kicking myself about as this book is ridiculously ‘quotable’. I guess I will just have to read it again…

Under Rose Tainted Skies was heart wrenching, truthful and utterly wonderful. Without a doubt one of my favourite books I’ve read so far in 2016.


5/5 *cough* please, please read it *cough* stars!

Amazon // Goodreads

4 thoughts on “Under Rose-Tainted Skies by Louise Gornall – Review

    1. This makes me SO happy, it’s honestly such a wonderful book, I couldn’t recommend it more highly! I really hope you enjoy it! I would love to know what you think of it!!

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