Published in 2016
5 out of 5 stars
At seventeen, Norah has accepted that the four walls of her house delineate her life. She knowsthat 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?
Let’s talk about the plot;
For me, this was all about character. Norah was one of the most brilliantly written characters ever, Gornall has captured mental health so perfectly, I was definitely awed. Norah’s agoraphobia and anxiety were both captured vividly, and real. I could sympathise and relate, I felt things that she had.
Now, I know what you might think, the Goodreads Synopsis almost reads like a potential insta love story, but honestly it was so much more than that. I think rather than love at first sight, Norah had finally realised that in Luke, there is someone that accepts her for who she is, I mean, her friends, from the gist of it, didn’t attempt to visit her at home, and it seems that they just didn’t want to understand what she was going through. Enter Luke, and also enter a journey of grief, illness and love.
Let’s talk about the characters:
Norah is definitely relatable with her thoughts. I was with her every step of the way, and their were so many times that my heart just broke for her. She was so brave, even when she felt most scared, I admired scenes when she tried to be rational, yet I couldn’t help but ache for her when things became tough. I definitely feel like she’s one of the most real characters in YA Lit, and this book is definitely one of the best contemporaries I’ve read in some time. Actually since Turtles all the Way Down! I felt every emotion that Norah did, I wanted to hug her so much and tell her every thing would be okay.
Luke was so precious too! He was an utterly unique and not at all what I was expecting. His character definitely contrasted to Norah but at times they had slight similarities and I loved every minute of seeing their interactions develop! In a friend and confidante; and vice versa too, it was amazing seeing these characters open up so vastly and deeply.
I really loved how supportive Norah’s mum was of her, I feel like that’s semi rare sometimes. But I could feel how much love their was between Norah and her mum, it was just amazing, lovely and touching to see how much her mum had sacrificed for her daughter’s wellbeing: and she wasn’t one of the suffocating mum types, she just wanted Norah to be happy and well.
Let’s talk about the writing:
The writing was so addictive, I couldn’t stop once I started, and I wouldn’t put it down. The writing was done so well, not only could I see everything played out in my mind, but I felt suspense when Norah was scared, uncertain when she was, and so much more, and when Luke admitted something to Norah, I honestly had to chuckle because of how the events of the book played out. Utter brilliance, and there was a scene at the near end that actually terrified me, I was so nervous and proud.
An utterly beautifully put together book, I know I’ll definitely revisit it.
Happy reading 🙂