Woow I neglected writing reviews towards the end of 2016! I got so caught up in reading all of the things in December I forgot to sit back and actually reflect on them for five minutes. I’ll be catching up- although I’m now about fifteen reviews behind.
This book was one of my favourites in 2016 and I’m so glad that it’s getting a lot of recognition for its portrayal of an invisible illness. I believe that it came out last week in the US, although we seem to have had in Europe for some time. Under Rose-Tainted Skies deals with the subject of extreme agoraphobia and OCD; the main character, Norah, is largely incapable of leaving her home and has various OCD rituals to get her through the day.
Things I immediately liked about this book were the fact that there was no underlying trauma behind her mental health issues and the fact that romance wasn’t used as some sort of instant cure. I’ve read a few books (mainly YA) about people with severe mental health issues and almost all of them have blamed trauma. Which, yes, is often a cause but it was nice to see a book where there no one strong catalyst. As someone who had a variety of anxiety issues growing up, it was nice to see that experience reflected and not feel like I had no right to be anxious unless one big thing had happened to me. Then, the romance; I’m generally not a romance fan, it tends to be very much designated to a secondary plot point in my eyes, so I liked the fact that a boy doesn’t come along to instantly solve Norah’s problems by helping her see the world or some such rubbing. Her mental health recovery is a work in progress, and that felt very much more real to me.
Overall, though, it’s a cute girl-meets-boy-story, with the added grit of having to work around some quite serious mental health issues. It doesn’t sugar coat them, nor does it dramatise them for effect (my favourite combination). It’s an optimistic, quick read that I think normalises something that often has a lot of stigma.