To celebrate the Year of Reading, The National has teamed up with Scholastic, the specialist educational publisher, to give away more than 40,000 books to schoolchildren. To find out more and enter the weekly draw to win, visit www.thenational.ae/uaereadschallenge.
Under Rose-Tainted Skies
Chicken House, Dh29
Suitable for readers 15+
Our main character, Norah has spent a large part of her life confined to her house by her anxiety disorder, agoraphobia – a fear of open or public places. Because of this, the outside world is mostly viewed through glass windows or open doors. But when Luke moves in next door, Norah begins to develop feelings for him. She is determined to be as normal as she can, to be the girl Luke deserves.
There are so many things I’d like to say about this book that I have no idea where to start. It’s honest, realistic, well-written and it explores a topic that is so extremely important but isn’t very easily discussed in society. So many teenagers today suffer with mental health issues but refuse to talk about them because they feel it may make them look weak, that they may be made fun of, or most importantly that they will not be understood. Instead they choose to suffer in silence.
Louise Gornall has written her novel in such a way that many teenagers can relate to, whether they suffer from the same issues as Norah or not. Under Rose-Tainted Skies is refreshing and realistic. When Luke arrives and Norah falls in love, she’s not magically cured by her feelings. She still struggles and she progresses slowly, just like someone would in real life. There are no unrealistic expectations set for young people who suffer from these types of disorders and are in love at the same time.
Being in Norah’s head gives us a first-hand view of how “invisible” illnesses are just as real as others such as cancer. When someone suffers from an anxiety disorder or mental illness, they sometimes find it very difficult to explain what is going on in their heads. Norah explains and describes her feelings to us so perfectly – so we can relate to her.
This is a perfect read for anyone who would like a little bit more insight into the life of a teenager with mental health issues and her day to day struggles. Thank you Louise Gornall for a very insightful read.
Radeeyah Ebrahim is a 16-year-old student at Horizon Private School, Abu Dhabi. She blogs about books for Scholastic Middle East at http://worldofpossible.tumblr.com/
Source: art & life