This is the last Shattering Stigmas post before the wrap-up on my blog, and it comes from yours truly. We’ve had some great recommendations these past two weeks, so I thought it was time for a review! I was inspired to read Under Rose-Tainted Skies during Shattering Stigmas, and it came highly recommended by my blogging friends. I’m happy to say I’ve finished it in time to share this review with you.
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?
First of all, let me say I really enjoyed this book. Norah was a great protagonist, and her story never got boring – I was surprised when I reached the end of the book, because it didn’t feel like I’d been reading for that long. I don’t have agoraphobia, so I can’t fully judge whether the depiction of it in this book was accurate (especially since these things are usually somewhat different for everone), but I thought it seemed to be really well-handled. From the description it almost seemed as if it was going to be one of those cute-boy-heals-mental-illness books, but this was thankfully not the case at all. Luke (cute boy in question) does sort of spark a renewed determination to get better in Norah, but his cheeky smile is no panacea to her condition. In fact, their relationship causes some major struggles and temporary setbacks for Norah, which seemed like a more realistic portrayal than I’ve encountered in other books.
I loved that Norah’s mum was so awesome and supportive and that therapy was depicted in a positive and helpful way. Sometimes it was exhausting to be in Norah’s head, but I thought that was quite brilliant as it really drives home how frickin’ exhausting it must be to be Norah, and how strong she is for dealing with the shit her brain throws at her 24/7. There were some scenes that were a little painful to read for me, but I liked that the author didn’t shy away from these experiences that many people go through.
Now let’s get to the cute boy. I’m not gonna lie, I liked him. He was pretty awesome, but sometimes he felt… a bit too awesome? I mean I’m sure there are many kind and supportive people in the world, but most people also make mistakes and eff up, and Luke was a tiny little bit too perfect for me at times. I did like the progression of their relationship, but some of the things that brought the two together seemed a bit too coincidental for me. Maybe I just like pain and suffering in books and this is a me problem, I don’t know. But overall, cute boy was sufficiently cute, and I was rooting for him and Norah all the way.
Under Rose-Tainted Skies was an easy read despite its sometimes heavy subject. It seemed to handle Norah’s mental health issues in a realistic way, which was a huge plus. There was some romance in it, but it wasn’t a cure-all through cuteness. Four cupcakes from me!