Goodreads Summary: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?
My rating:4/5 stars
One of my biggest pet peeves is romance novels that feature a mentally ill Mc who gets better after she falls in love. No matter how strong love is, it can never cure mental illnesses and for authors to constantly utilize this trope is frustrating and so problematic. When I heard that Under Rose Tainted Skies was a book that didn’t follow this annoying trope, I knew that I had to read it. I definitely wasn’t disappointed and I’m truly amazed at the way the mental illness was handled.
From what I understand, the author herself has some sort of mental illness- I’m not exactly sure what- so I’m pretty sure that this is partially #ownvoices which is always great. I thought the author’s depiction of Norah’s agarophobia was really great- I recently read Follow Me Back and the Mc has agarophobia but comparing the two, it seems that Under Rose a Tainted Skies. I thought it was particularly interesting how there wasn’t any specific tragic incident that triggered it, and it just manifested itself. Mental illness can’t always be so easily pinpointed to one specific incident, but that doesn’t it make any less valid or real. A lot of the stories I’ve read that feature characters with anxiety disorders often rely on the tragic incident as a major plot which I’m really not a fan of so I’m glad that this book didn’t do that.
As I said, I loved how Norah’s mental illness didn’t magically disappear after meeting Luke,love doesn’t magically change anything.She does make a lot of progress throughout the book but by the end, there’s still a lot of work to be done and that’s okay.It’s extremely hard and any step-no matter how small- is amazing.
While love doesn’t cure all, and is definitely more of a side-plot with Norah’s illness being the central focus,it’s still very well developed and adorable. Luke is so supportive and understanding and doesn’t overstep his boundaries and is everything you can dream of in a love interest. He doesn’t force Norah to do anything that she doesn’t want to do.Norah’s her own hero but Luke helps her in the best way he can.
One thing that I think would have been interesting to see would be a resolving of the friends she lost touch in. I think it would’ve been interesting if one of her friends came to see her and apologized because Norah was really lacking any supportive girls of her own age which would have been nice to see.
The only problem I had with the novel was the development of the climax. I found it a little rushed and a little bit unrealistic? It just seemed so unlikely to occur and this event wasn’t given nearly the length of time it deserved. I think it could have been touched upon just a little more.