A Crown Of Wishes by Roshani Chokshi Review

A Crown Of Wishes by Roshani ChokshiA Crown Of Wishes by Roshani Chokshi (TSTQ #2)

Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin

Release Date: March 28, 2017

Pages: 369

Summary: An ancient mystery. An unlikely union. For one young princess in a state of peril, a dangerous wish could be the only answer…

She is the princess of Bharata—captured by her kingdom’s enemies, a prisoner of war. Now that she faces a future of exile and scorn, Gauri has nothing left to lose. But should she trust Vikram, the notoriously cunning prince of a neighboring land? He promises her freedom in exchange for her battle prowess. Together they can team up and win the Tournament of Wishes, a competition held in a mythical city where the Lord of Wealth promises a wish to the victor. It seems like a foolproof plan—until Gauri and Vikram arrive at the tournament and find that danger takes on new shapes: poisonous courtesans, mischievous story birds, a feast of fears, and twisted fairy revels. New trials will test their devotion, strength, and wits. But what Gauri and Vikram will soon discover is that there’s nothing more dangerous than what they most desire.

My Rating:★★★★☆ ½

My Thoughts: Chokshi deliver’s a magical tale with lush and vivid writing, fascinating characters, rich and wondrous settings, and a plot that will have you captivated from start to finish!

Going into ACOW, I was unsure of what to expect, because while I really enjoyed TSTQ there were a few issues that kept it from being a 5!

However once I started A Crown Of Wishes, I knew it would be a fantastic read! This book went above and beyond my expectations!

Being a companion to The Star-Touched Queen it doesn’t necessarily spoil a lot, however there are references throughout!

The plot follows Gauri, warrior princess of Bharata who wants to reclaim her throne and Vikram, the Fox Prince who seeks to be more than the “Puppet King” he is assumed to become. They team up to compete in the Tournament of Wishes, finding their way to Alaka and completing 3 tasks in order to win a wish!

Vikram in need of a partner in order to compete decides that Gauri, currently a prisoner in his kingdom of Ujijain, will be perfect!

Though they don’t get along at first and bicker along their journey, they learn to understand each other and forge a friendship/relationship that encourages them to bring out the best in each other!

While I found myself captivated by both Gauri and Vikram separately, I adored their interactions and their overall dynamic was superbly written!

There are elements of romance and Chokshi did it magnificently! It really flowed well with the pacing of the story and overall was beautifully written!

Told through Gauri’s 1st person POV and Vikram’s 3rd person POV, we get an in depth look at their past and how the outcome of this tournament can change their lives for the better. While their focus remains a central part of their story, Chokshi’s writing really paints the complexities of their emotions and inner struggles they must face.

Chokshi really highlights the flaws or obstacles these characters encounter and makes their journey of overcoming them and accomplishing their goals a major part of their development! Both major and side characters have complexity to them that unravels and gets revealed as the story unfolds!

The plot itself goes in directions I wasn’t expecting and I loved every moment of it! Flashbacks that appear, really became an integral part of the characters stories and their development!

There were so many themes and messages of independence, acceptance, personal growth…the list can go on! The characters are definitely not the same once you finish the novel and it shows from the journey they undergo in A Crown Of Wishes!

A big message I found throughout this novel that really built into the story as Vikram and Gauri find themselves in the Tournament Of Wishes, was that their actions or decisions influence more than just themselves! It really brought an aura of mystery and suspense as the plot unfolds!

No major spoilers but, I adored the ending and how it wrapped up! With how the story develops I felt truly satisfied with the ending! I adored it so much!

My only minor issue was slow pacing towards the end! However the plot really drives the story forward and wasn’t really a bother because I was just so invested in the story!

A Crown Of Wishes melds Indian folklore and mythology and is weaved all throughout! The characters, plot and world come to life through Chokshi’s magical and captivating writing-style! Vikram and Gauri’s journey to obtain their wish is filled with action, adventure, witty banter, and so much more!

This book will leave you enchanted! Highly recommend!

Hunted by Meagan Spooner Review

Hunted by Meagan SpoonerHunted by Meagan Spooner

Publisher: HarperTeen

Release Date: March 14, 2017

Pages: 384

Summary: Beauty knows the Beast’s forest in her bones—and in her blood. Though she grew up with the city’s highest aristocrats, far from her father’s old lodge, she knows that the forest holds secrets and that her father is the only hunter who’s ever come close to discovering them.

So when her father loses his fortune and moves Yeva and her sisters back to the outskirts of town, Yeva is secretly relieved. Out in the wilderness, there’s no pressure to make idle chatter with vapid baronessas…or to submit to marrying a wealthy gentleman. But Yeva’s father’s misfortune may have cost him his mind, and when he goes missing in the woods, Yeva sets her sights on one prey: the creature he’d been obsessively tracking just before his disappearance.

Deaf to her sisters’ protests, Yeva hunts this strange Beast back into his own territory—a cursed valley, a ruined castle, and a world of creatures that Yeva’s only heard about in fairy tales. A world that can bring her ruin or salvation. Who will survive: the Beauty, or the Beast?

My Rating:★★★★☆

My Thoughts: Spooner delivers a magical and captivating Russian-inspired Beauty & The Beast Retelling! With vivid characters, themes of sisterhood and family, immersive plot and rich world, you will be enchanted!

Told through a 3rd person POV, we follow Yeva (the Beauty) and the journey she undergoes when her family (Her sisters & father) loses their fortune! Forced to move to their old cabin in the woods, they must adjust to their new life.

However, when their father gets lost in the woods (presumably searching for the Beast), Yeva sets out to rescue him! As the story progresses she finds herself in Beast’s castle and learns more about herself and the magic that lies deep in the woods.

The characters were wonderfully written! While it may seem that this is a very romance-heavy novel, it really isn’t! It focuses so much on the characters and their development.

Spooner really showed the bonds that the sisters (Yeva+Asenka + Lena) have with each other and no matter what tragedies or trials they face along the way, they are always there to help and support each other! No jealousies or rivalries. Just sisterly love/support and I loved that so much! ❤ ❤

Even the male characters, who show feelings for some of the sisters don’t have romance as a central part of their story. They help the sisters and stick by them.

Each character was crafted wonderfully! There was never a character trait/motive that felt out of place or dragged the story. They all remained focused and nothing they did ever felt out of character!

Yeva was my favorite! She longs for freedom and wants to seek out more for herself and her life! While she may be eager to seek out the magic of her world on her own, she always puts others happiness first before her own! ❤

The world, while setting wise could have used a little more description, was very well constructed and the Russian-Folklore elements weaved perfectly into the story!

While reading, this story felt magical and I loved that!

Above all, a lot of fantastic elements to a fantastic retelling!

However, my only issue was towards the 50% mark or so, the story felt like it slowed down for me personally. For the rest of the novel, I was powering through. Not that I didn’t enjoy it…I really did! It just felt that once the story progressed and Yeva finds herself back home, the rest of the story’s pacing felt very slow.

Aside from that, as for the plot while I’m very familiar with the tale, I loved Spooner’s retelling and found myself surprised along the way! Overall the originality and surprises of this tale, kept me turning the page!

Spooner delivers a magical that puts emphasis on characters and their development! With magic weaved throughout each page, you will find yourself captivated Russian-Inspired retelling of Beauty & The Beast!
Spooner’s tale is spellbinding, bringing a wholly original take to a classic fairy tale!

The Golem And The Jinni by Helene Wecker Review

The Golem And The JinniThe Golem And The Jinni by Helene Wecker (The Golem & The Jinni #1)

Publisher: Harper

Release Date: April 23, 2013

Pages: 486

Summary: Chava is a golem, a creature made of clay, brought to life by a disgraced rabbi who dabbles in dark Kabbalistic magic. When her master, the husband who commissioned her, dies at sea on the voyage from Poland, she is unmoored and adrift as the ship arrives in New York in 1899.

Ahmad is a jinni, a being of fire, born in the ancient Syrian desert. Trapped in an old copper flask by a Bedouin wizard centuries ago, he is released accidentally by a tinsmith in a Lower Manhattan shop. Though he is no longer imprisoned, Ahmad is not entirely free – an unbreakable band of iron binds him to the physical world.

The Golem and the Jinni is their magical, unforgettable story; unlikely friends whose tenuous attachment challenges their opposing natures – until the night a terrifying incident drives them back into their separate worlds. But a powerful threat will soon bring Chava and Ahmad together again, challenging their existence and forcing them to make a fateful choice.

My Rating:★★★★★

My Thoughts: The Golem And The Jinni is a wondrous story filled with such in-depth characters, fascinating world-building, and a magical plot that will leave you captivated long after the final page!

Originally on my Goodreads review I rated it 4.5 stars, but honestly I’d spent maybe a month or so reading this book (which I’d been wanting to read for years now! ❤ ) and now that I’ve finished, this story truly a masterpiece and I felt it deserved a full 5. Aside from a minor issue (mentioned later in my review), The Golem And The Jinni is a tale I’ll never forget!

I don’t usually mention my “reading experience,” but that’s definitely another aspect that made me love this book so much. No matter where I stopped, I was immediately thrust back into the magical world of The Golem And The Jinni whenever I picked it back up! ❤ ❤

*~While I mostly read/review Young Adult, note that The Golem And The Jinni is an Adult book!~*

There were so many incredible aspects of this book I’ll try my best to explain them all.

Firstly, the plot. It was beyond amazing~ It follows Chava who is a Golem (creature made of clay) and her beginnings as she is created for Otto Rotfeld, who wants a wife. But her husband falls ill on their ship voyage to New York and passes away.

A Golem itself is also created to follow the desires/wishes of its master, however now that her husband Otto Rotfeld has passed, the desires/thoughts of people around her begin to invade her mind and she is unsure of what to do as she tries to better understand herself and navigate this world alone.

Then there’s the Ahmad the Jinni. He finds himself in a tinsmith’s shop in New York and realizes he’s been trapped in a flask for thousands of years. He does have gaps in his memory, but remembers for sure that there was a wizard who trapped him. All he wishes for is freedom.

These magical creatures are now understanding who they are and where they fit, in this new world.

As for other elements of the story (like plot) I don’t think I’ll go too much in depth, because I feel this a tale you really need experience for yourself without much background. But, I will mention the basics and a few specific elements that I really loved!

The writing (3rd person POV) is very descriptive and creates a magical atmosphere which immediately draws you into the story. There is a lot of description of food, setting/nature, that the setting feels rich and immersive.

There are multiple POV’s however, Wecker does a masterful job at making them distinct, really letting you understand each and every character with such depth that they feel so real throughout the story!

The story weaves together phenomenally which is shown masterfully through the differing POV’s.

At its heart, this tale is about finding yourself and understanding who you want to be. I loved that theme of self-discovery was weaved all throughout the story.

The diversity was fantastic! There’s mainly a Syrian and Jewish cast of characters and an array of ages among them.

I adored the world-building! There’s so much detail put into the differing neighborhoods, buildings and architecture. Additionally, I found each character lends a unique scope to the world-building as well, which truly made the settings come to life.

While reading I could really picture the wear and tear of the apartment buildings, the baked goods, the sunsets, bustle of city life…everything! Being able to really envision these little details really transported me.

Magic weaves with history and religion as this tale, which fuses both Jewish and Arabic folklore, unfolds.

The female friendships in this book were fantastic! While a problem or two arises along the way, they show support and care for each other no matter what!

I suppose my only minor issue pacing with some moments throughout the POV’s where it is rather slow.

The Golem And The Jinni is a captivating & atmospheric tale that melds history with fantasy. Filled with compelling characters, themes of family, friendship, and a dazzling setting, this is not a tale to miss!✨

March 2017 Wrap-Up

# Of Books Read: 7

wintersong-by-s-jae-jones1.Wintersong by S. Jae-Jones

Wintersong Full Review

Publisher: Thomas Dunne

Release Date: February 7, 2017

Pages: 436

My Rating:★★★★☆ ½

Overall Thoughts: There was so much pre-release hype + buzz surrounding this book and I was not disappointed! The writing-style (1st person POV) really sucks you into the story and brings the setting and characters to life! Elements of family, loyalty + independence were weaved all throughout this magical tale. What really stood out to me though was the atmosphere Jones created which really made this book stand-out! Highly recommend!

Daughter Of The Pirate King2.Daughter Of The Pirate King by Tricia Levenseller (DOTPK #1)

Daughter Of The Pirate King Full Review

Publisher: Feiwel & Friends

Release Date: February 28, 2017

Pages: 320

My Rating:★★★★☆ ½

Overall Thoughts: I loved everything about this book! We follow Alosa as she plans her own capture aboard The Night Farer in order to help her father “The Pirate King” locate a map! Levenseller blends action, adventure, and romance perfectly! The plot surprised me with every page! The characters, plot and world are wonderfully developed. This was a perfect pirate adventure & I cannot wait for Book 2!

Empress Of A Thousand Skies by Rhoda Belleza Cover Reveal 20173.Empress Of A Thousand Skies by Rhoda Belleza (EOATS #1) 

Empress Of A Thousand Skies Full Review

Publisher: Razorbill

Release Date: February 7, 2017

Pages: 314

My Rating:★★★★☆

Overall Thoughts: A unique and fascinating character-driven Sci-Fi/Space Opera! Belleza discusses and expands on very timely topics and she kept those a central part of the novel! Told through 3rd person, she does an incredible job with dual POV! Additionally, the plot, characters (+diversity), politics, world, etc. are all put at the center which was fantastic! However I do wish the world was expanded on more (more/richer atmosphere)! Regardless, there were so many great elements to this novel & I cannot wait to see how it wraps up in Book 2!

The Girl From the Other Side-Siúil, A Rún Vol. 14.The Girl From The Other Side: Siúil A Rún Vol. 1 {TGFTOS #1} by Nagabe

The Girl From The Other Side Full Review

Publisher: Seven Seas

Release Date: January 24, 2017

Pages: 180

My Rating:★★★★☆ ½

Overall Thoughts: This manga was fantastic! Both dark + enchanting, we follow Shiva & “Teacher” as they live in a world with “Insiders” + “Outsiders” (monsters, similar to what Teacher is). Teacher wants to keep Shiva safe so they live in a quiet cottage near the woods. Themes of family + the shades between light vs. dark are central in this story! It kept me surprised with each and every page! The artwork is wonderful and really brings the story to life! 

under-rose-tainted-skies-by-louise-gornall5.Under Rose-Tainted Skies by Louise Gornall

Under-Rose Tainted Skies Full Review

Publisher: Clarion Books

Release Date: January 3, 2017

Pages: 320

My Rating: ★★★★☆ ½

Overall Thoughts: Norah has both agoraphobia & OCD and with that, finds it difficult to leave her house. However along the way, she comes to understand the bravery that she’s had all along. While reading, I could really follow Norah’s thought process and could really relate to her, in regards to her anxiety. However I did feel the ending was rather rushed near the end. This novel emphasized personal growth and I adored that so much! If your looking for a great YA Contemporary (+ #Ownvoices) definitely check this book out!

we-are-okay-by-nina-lacour6.We Are Okay by Nina LaCour

We Are Okay Full Review

Publisher: Dutton Books For Young Readers

Release Date: February 14, 2017

Pages: 234

My Rating:★★★★☆ ½

Overall Thoughts: The writing is what brought so much emotion and depth to Marin’s story.  Additionally, it also brought the characters to life + atmosphere to the setting! While there is slow pacing, themes and character development are weaved throughout! This novel discusses themes of friendship, family, grief/loss, and love! 

Crazy Messy Beautiful by Carrie Arcos Review7.Crazy Messy Beautiful by Carrie Arcos

Crazy Messy Beautiful Full Review

Publisher: Philomel Books

Release Date: February 7, 2017

Pages: 320

My Rating:★★★★☆

Overall Thoughts: Arcos delivers a unique contemporary that puts an emphasis on friendship. In English class, Pablo gets assigned a research paper on a classmate. Pablo & Callie really develop a friendship/bond over the course of this novel. However Pablo realizes he may be falling for Callie. I did find that aspect to be rather rushed + some other plot elements that felt incomplete! Regardless, Arcos really makes friendship a huge factor of this novel while also delivering a unique take on love.

However:*There was one line I *personally found to be questionable, which can be read on my Review* I would love reviewers to give me feedback, perhaps I just misunderstood? 

Additional Posts From This Month:

Literary Listens: Podcast Recommendations For Writers

Traitor To The Throne Reading Playlist + Wintersong Reading Playlist

Waiting On Wednesday I #8 (Forest Of A Thousand Lanterns)

Warcross by Marie Lu Cover Reveal

Crazy Messy Beautiful by Carrie Arcos Review

Crazy Messy Beautiful by Carrie Arcos ReviewCrazy Messy Beautiful

Publisher: Philomel Books

Release Date: February 7, 2017

Pages: 320

Summary: When your namesake is Pablo Neruda—the greatest love poet of all time—finding “the one” should be easy. After all, sixteen-year-old aspiring artist Neruda Diaz has been in love many times before. So it’s only a matter of time before someone loves him back.

Callie could be that someone. She’s creative and edgy, and nothing like the girls Neruda typically falls for, so when a school assignment brings them together, he is pleasantly surprised to learn they have a lot in common. With his true love in reach and his artistic ambitions on track, everything is finally coming together.

But as Neruda begins to fall faster and harder than ever before, he is blindsided by the complicated nature of love—and art—in more ways than one. And when the relationships he’s looked to for guidance threaten to implode, Neruda must confront the reality that love is crazier, messier, and more beautiful than he ever realized—and riskier, too, than simply saying the words.

My Rating:★★★★☆

My Thoughts: Arcos delivers a unique take on love and puts an emphasis on friendship!

Highly recommend this novel if your looking for one that focuses on friendship while also discussing the complexities of love! Crazy Messy Beautiful is YA Contemporary that delivered a unique plot that had me surprised with each page!

Written through 1st Person POV, we follow Pablo Neruda who is an artist at heart. When he discovers his long-time crush Autumn (crush #8) doesn’t reciprocate his feelings, he is heartbroken.

Then in English, the entire class gets assigned a research project on a randomly chosen partner. He gets paired with Callie Leibowitz. Though both have sat at the same group table together for months, they’ve never really talked.

He had his preconceived ideas about her, however over the course of the novel they both learn much more about each other and develop an incredible friendship.

Arcos really brings the main character Pablo to life and I felt he was given such depth and I really understood his character over the course of the story.

Callie and Pablo bond over a number of different things like movies and art! They encourage each other to pursue their passions and really get to better understand each other!

Pablo learns more about Callie’s passion for makeup & makeup design and Callie learns more about Pablo’s passion for art (sketching, painting, etc.)

However conflict arises when Pablo realizes he may be falling in love with Callie. Regardless, they really get to know each other and the friendship forged between the two was truly the highlight of this novel!

Arcos also delivers the novel through a thought-provoking + at times poetic writing-style where you really get to understand these characters, especially Pablo!

The plot itself is very character-driven and overall was very unique comparing to other contemporaries I’ve read recently! It went in directions I did not see coming!

When Pablo discovers some family secrets and comes to terms with his feelings for Callie, he learns more about love and its complications over the course of this story, while also coming to terms with his perceptions and concepts of love.

Arcos focuses this novel on Pablo and his development, while making friendship and family central parts of the story!

Additionally, I loved that there were diverse Main + Side characters! (Chilean + Mexican Representation!)

There were some moments when the pacing was rather slow and I felt Pablo’s feelings for Callie came rather quickly. Additionally there were plot points that felt not only incomplete, but unnecessary (b/c they were never really expanded upon)

Overall Arcos delivers an engaging YA Contemporary that focuses on friendship and family, while also delivering a unique take on love!

EDIT/UPDATE: *Perhaps I just misread/misunderstood this line, however after finishing, this line has still stuck in my mind. This line personally just left me uneasy b/c I’m surprised the MC would just assume that to begin with!! Just to be sure, I wanted feedback from fellow reviewers.*

Background: Ezra is a pen-pal that Neruda mentions he had when a class of his assigned students to inmates to write letters back & forth, and now is acquainted with Ezra who’s now out of prison, they still talk and hang out.

Over the years I’ve teased out bits and pieces of his story. From what I can tell, he was trying to help his brother,Rafa, and ended up going with him to rob a house. I think Ezra was trying to stop him from doing it. The house was supposed to be empty, but it wasn’t.  Rafa was shot and killed and Ezra was sent to prison. He was eighteen at the time and served ten years for an armed robbery conviction. But as soon as I got to know Ezra I immediately doubted his guilt. He just didn’t seem like the typical stereotype of a Mexican guy in jail, the one you see portrayed on TV shows and movies-shaved head, arms covered in tats, maybe even one circling his neck or a teardrop close to his eye…(page 24-25)

We Are Okay by Nina LaCour Review

we-are-okay-by-nina-lacourWe Are Okay by Nina LaCour

Publisher: Dutton Books For Young Readers

Release Date: February 14, 2017

Pages: 234

Summary:Marin hasn’t spoken to anyone from her old life since the day she left everything behind. No one knows the truth about those final weeks. Not even her best friend, Mabel. But even thousands of miles away from the California coast, at college in New York, Marin still feels the pull of the life and tragedy she’s tried to outrun. Now, months later, alone in an emptied dorm for winter break, Marin waits. Mabel is coming to visit, and Marin will be forced to face everything that’s been left unsaid and finally confront the loneliness that has made a home in her heart.

My Rating:★★★★☆ ½

My Thoughts: We Are Okay is a beautifully crafted story which journeys Marin as she encounters grief and solitude coming to terms with events of her past! 

LaCour’s writing-style is what made We Are Okay a captivating read. Her writing style brings out facets of Marin (emotionally) that drives the novel throughout.

While the plot is there, its mainly the emotion evoked through the 1st person POV of Marin that brings a unique aspect to this YA Contemporary!

Told through present and past chapters, Marin recollects on what led her to leave those she loves behind before her 1st year of college. With each and every line, I could feel the loneliness and grief that Marin carried with her!

Additionally, reading from her POV brought such depth and life to the characters, like Hannah, Mabel and her grandfather.

Reading about the loss Marin goes through was difficult at times, because with each page we understood just how alone she felt. However throughout the novel, we learn more about those from her past and that she has a great support system behind her and slowly but surely can find hope.

Because We Are Okay follows Marin in a unique + emotional head-space,  the novel does slow at some points (hence the 4.5) but it gives such insight into her true feelings and emotions which really makes this novel captivating.

There is not only GLBT+, but also Mexican representation which was great!

LaCour also weaves themes of family and friendship which are heavily discussed and explored throughout.

Marin’s struggles and difficulties with opening up to friends and establishing stronger ties with those friends was something I could see in myself. It’s never easy, but reading that Mabel did all she could to reconnect with Marin, was beautiful!!

Marin was a very soft-spoken character (at least from my perspective) and I found that so relatable. There is so much that she considers and ponders in her head, but when putting those thoughts into words, she finds it difficult!

I loved Mabel and Marin’s relationship! It does have its complications, but they have so much history that their friendship and love for each other is clearly seen in the story. They want the best for one another regardless of what happened in the past. There is so much girl-power that I found throughout We Are Okay! Just girls supporting each other through their darkest + emotional moments in life.

Setting was painted so beautifully. I could picture the New York snow and the California beaches as more than just locations in a story,but moments in time and with emotion + atmosphere (both dark and hopeful) that was only possible through Marin’s POV.

As stated above I adored this novel, however because of the way we follow Marin’s POV, the story did slow at times for me.

We Are Okay captures grief, hope, forgiveness, friendship and family.  Through an elegantly crafted writing-style, emotion and atmosphere capture the tone of this novel and drive the story forward as we follow Marin who finds hope in her darkest times!

Under Rose-Tainted Skies by Louise Gornall

under-rose-tainted-skies-by-louise-gornallUnder Rose-Tainted Skies by Louise Gornall

Publisher: Clarion Books

Release Date: January 3, 2017

Pages: 320

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:★★★★☆ ½

My Thoughts: Under Rose Tainted Skies is a captivating YA Contemporary which is honest, raw, heart-breaking at times and tells the story of Norah as she uncovers the bravery within herself she never believed she would have!

Under Rose-Tainted Skies was a book I was super excited to read! Though with so many releases + my library copy coming late, I read it a little later than I wanted too, but I’m so happy I finally did because it was wonderful! 

Reading from Norah’s POV was so much more than just following her through her daily life, it was traversing with her through her ups & downs and growth as she overcame fears + obstacles and forged a relationship she never thought possible.

What I loved the most about reading her POV was that through her eyes I saw+pictured the characters in a very unique way, much more than just beyond their physical descriptions I saw their own struggles +obstacles as well and overall this made them feel so real! Gornall did a fantastic job at bringing all the characters to life. Norah was very witty + funny and I loved that about her!

While I do have a good amount of knowledge on OCD + Agoraphobia, just reading from Norah’s POV as whole gave me more insight into the mental process one goes through and it felt so real I could picture her thought process all through out the novel! She was my favorite character because no matter what happened, she always pushed through and found her strength!

Additionally, there were moments I really could relate to her, especially with her anxiety, like overthinking situations and jumping to conclusions when nervous. It’s something that I’ve done for sure. And reading from her perspective, I felt Gornall portrayed SO accurately!! Norah even mentioned its very easy to see why those conclusions obviously wouldn’t make sense, but thinking them anyways with the overall nervousness she would feel was something that I could definitely relate to!

She hasn’t left her house in years and we see how she has adjusted to this life, but its clear she wants what is beyond her front door.

It was great seeing the inclusion of her therapist Dr. Reeves and how she offered advice to never be afraid to speak/talk to someone and overall help Norah in navigating her new relationship with Luke, the adorable new neighbor.

I adored Luke (who is 10% human + 90% charisma ❤ )!! Through Norah’s POV, we see that even though she has OCD+Agoraphobia, he accepts her for who she is and gives her distance when necessary + is so understanding. He was so supportive with her and overall I loved how their relationship developed.

One day when she is trying to get her groceries from the front porch, he decides to help her and sooner or later, he begins sending her letters! ❤

After much hesitation, she finally tells him about her agoraphobia + ocd and he is very accepting of Norah and doesn’t push her. Instead, he always makes time to go to her house to hang out with her. He’s compassionate and very supportive. While Norah thinks she isn’t good enough for him and her fears of no longer being his friend constantly come into mind, he ensures her that he cares for her and is grateful for their friendship. ❤

I loved the mother/daughter relationship, through out the novel, whenever Norah found herself nervous or unsure about something, she knew she could always talk to her mom! Amazing family dynamic!!

My only issue is that I felt the story was a little rushed when it neared the end.

Overall Gornall delivers an emotional, raw, but honest story as we read from Norah’s perspective and follow her journey to find the inner strength/bravery she’s always had.

This novel left me feeling hopeful! I highly recommend this novel if your looking for a deeply moving YA Contemporary or are looking for a great mental health #ownvoices!!

Under Rose Tainted Skies is both gripping and heart-felt. With an emphasis on friendship+family and personal growth, this novel will captivate you!