Publisher: Chicken House
Release Date: July 2016
Rating: ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
Plot: 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 wouldn’t have found this book if it wasn’t for social media. The power of the internet and the tweets of a certain author ring strong and true, and I find myself scouring the bookshelves at work to find Under Rose-Tainted Skies by Louise Gornall.
Weirdly, when it came out, it was taken out of the delivery and just put on the shelves and then that was that. But Twitter was screaming for it, and so I picked it up regardless of the lack of publicity.
URTS tells the story of Norah, a girl trapped inside her own house by the evil demon that is Agoraphobia, a manifestation of her OCD and anxiety. It’s fantastic and I’m so grateful that I’m coming across more books concerning itself with mental illness, because mental health still has one of the biggest stigmas in society.
First of all, it’s an ‘invisible illness’, which is also a ridiculous definition because, while it may not reveal itself to you in the form of a wheelchair, the person suffering can feel it every. single. day. And that’s Norah’s situation. There are things in her life that seem so small and routine, like getting groceries, that she just cannot do; the anxiety builds, the worries come pouring out, and the overwhelming feeling of I can’t takes over.
And this book isn’t all about cures, about finding a person to fix it all for you. It’s about supporting, about getting better but at your own pace, at trying harder, and accepting that this may be the situation now, but it won’t always be like this, and that living a happy life is still perfectly doable.
A fantastic debut by Louise Gornall, congratulations!