Published by Clarion Books on January 3rd 2017
5 of 5 Stars
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?
This is one of the better YA books that I’ve read. It felt realistic and honest and overall, it felt believable.
This is Norah’s story. Her agoraphobia makes it almost impossible to even step outside the front door. She also struggles with OCD, anxiety and panic attacks, making every day life difficult and lonely. When Luke moves in next door, he’s persistent in getting to know her, and Norah eventually lets down her guard and slowly lets him in. He’s incredibly understanding of her struggles and limitations and we also see Norah grow as she overcomes some of the barriers that she’s erected due to her illness.
The portrayal of mental illness in this book was, in my opinion, done the right way. It was real, I could believe in it, and it wasn’t romanticised. I feel like this story could have gone sideways fast, but by keeping the focus on Norah, rather than Norah-and-Luke, the author kept the attention where it needed to be.
I loved the characters, and the story was so well written. I actually felt like it could have been longer. Things wrapped up fairly quickly at the end, and I wanted to see how things played out for Norah over a longer period. Above all, this book was interesting. It caught my attention instantly and I really learned a lot from it.
I’ve seen this book referred to as a romance, and I guess it is, but I really felt like the relationship between Norah and Luke is secondary to Norah dealing with her agoraphobia and OCD. The focus of the story, for me, was really Norah and her issues. Plus, the “relationship” between Norah and Luke felt more like friendship than anything else.
I think this is an important, eye-opening read and I would definitely recommend it. I loved the story, but I loved the messages about mental illness even more. This book is worth your time.