Title: Under Rose Tainted Skies

Author: Louise Gornall

Published: July 7th, 2016

Publisher: Chicken House

Find the Author: Goodreads | Twitter

I received this book for review! As always, my reviews are fair and unbiased.

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 …

An important and uplifting debut from a British author, which tackles mental health issues such as agoraphobia and OCD.

As soon as I heard about URTS a few months ago on Twitter, I felt a magnetic pull to find out what it was about and what was beneath the beautiful floral cover. When I saw it dealt with things such as agoraphobia, OCD and anxiety, I was compelled even more. These things are hardly touched upon in the YA community, so many heroines being potrayed so unlike real life. I was excited to get involved anyway that I could and I was over the moon that I got the chance to read URTS and be a part of the tour.

Norah is undeniably honest, this I know from only opening the book just a crack. She talks about her mental health; her agroaphobia, OCD and depression/anxiety so bravely, reminding me in parts of my own struggles with social anxiety and OCD that I still have to this day. Norah’s anxieties and problems affect her every day and the way that Louise captured the qualities of the feelings and thoughts was unerring. Norah is housebound from her illnesses, only ever getting air at her front door on occasions, life outside like a different world completely. It’s there that she meets Luke, who moves in next door. Her anxieties don’t stop or halt when she meets him and love doesn’t conquer all her problems, but he tries to help in different ways, like trying to alter her way of looking at things and her thoughts. She can’t help but feel like he deserves someone “normal”, though. Nevertheless, her poignant and charming narrative of trying to cope with letting someone in whilst going through an inner battle with herself is as vulnerable and honest as a reader can observe.
Not only does Norah feel real, but her story is one I’ll never forget. URTS feels real because Norah’s mental health problems are real world things that can hold us back, shape our lives and try to change who we are. It’s her sheer determination and enthralling, heart-felt voice that reminds me that it’s okay to be different and to not be “normal” and sometimes need help along the way.
Overall, Under Rose Tainted Skies is in a word; phenomenal. It’s powerful, moving, heartwarming and sincere. Norah and Luke’s connection was written beautifully, as was Norah’s courageous journey through the pages. I was overwhelmed at how effortlessly I fell into the story and wrapped around the characters, feeling as if they were my friends and that I knew them. URTS is a breathtaking debut that is going to sky-rocket and it deserves every amazing thing that happens. Louise has written what I can gladly say has been my favourite book of the year so far. Five stars completely.


Louise is a graduate of Garstang Community Academy, and she is currently studying for a BA (Hons) in English language and literature with special emphasis on creative writing. A YA aficionado, film nerd, identical twin, and junk food enthusiast, she’s also an avid collector of book boyfriends. Her debut novel, Under Rose-Tainted Skies, will be published in July 2016..

The YA community and finding a place! 

by Louise Gornall

Stepping into the world of writing was jarring. Admittedly, I knew nothing when I arrived. A query letter? What’s that? Books have word counts? I just thought you were supposed to stop when you ran out of story. No?

Luckily, I signed up to Twitter and bumped into the lovely Heather Marie, who was also writing books for teens. I think it took just one quick chat with Heather to discover how complex writing YA was, and how dangerously I lacked in direction. 

Cut to four years later, and a vast community of YA writers, several of whom I consider among my best friends, have taught me how to be the best writer I can be. And not just technically with the querying and the word counts and the character building and all that other stuff. The YA community is an amazing source of support, because, real talk, this business is tough. You will be rejected more times than you can count. You will feel crappy and worthless and like you want to quit, at least once a month (if not once a week). And people outside of publishing won’t get it, as wonderful as family and friends can be, if they don’t know shhh about the industry, you can bet your bottom dollar that you’ll be needing support from someone who knows exactly how it feels. That’s just science.

Plus, you know, there are perks to being BFF’s with YA writers, apart from them being lovely human beings, who, for the most part, really understand the importance of pyjamas and junk food, and that’s exclusive reading privileges.

Have you read Under Rose Tainted Skies?

What did you think?

If you were affected by any of the issues in the book, MIND and the Mental Health Foundation are available.

happy reading!

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