Title: Under rose-tainted skies
Author: Louise Gornall
Publication: July 2016 by Chicken House Ltd
Tempted by glowing reviews on Goodreads, a blurb by Holly Bourne, and its stunningly beautiful cover, I knew it wouldn’t be long until I was shuffling my books around and welcoming this, to borrow Holly Bourne’s sentiments, ‘beautifully unflinching description of agoraphobia’ into my bookcase.
I may be an anxious person, but I do not have OCD, anxiety or agoraphobia, the conditions synonymous with our heroine’s everyday life. Regardless, within these pages, I felt every raised heartbeat, every prickling palm, every emotion and every struggle that Norah went through as she fought to reclaim her life. Never before have I read a book that has so undauntedly approached the realities of panic attacks so intense that they cause blue lips and loss of consciousness, the struggle between the want for a normal life and relationships and the thoughts swirling around in her head, and so much more.
Like many of the YA books that I have read and adored, this also contained a romance. However, unlike the only other book on agoraphobia I have read, Sophie Kinsella’s Finding Audrey, the relationship in Under rose-tainted skies did not cause recovery but rather encouraged it, something I appreciated. Relationships can be fabulous. They may even be able to change your life but to insinuate that they could even be a cure for a life-long, and difficult mental illness feels a little much, even in the realms of fiction, but it was in reality and relatability that this wonder of a story really excelled. Nora was sarcastic, grumpy and confused, sometimes caused by her anxiety, but it was also clear that mental illness, at least not Nora’s case, cannot overshadow the hormones and feelings purely associated with being a teenager.
I worry that I am unable to put sentences together well enough to do this fantastic books justice, adjectives and my love for them can only go so far in persuasion. However, I can honestly say that this is a book everybody should read. Read it; you won’t regret the time you spend doing so.