My rating: 2 of 5 stars
Publication Date: January 3rd, 2017
Publisher: Clarion Books
Point of View: 1st Person & Feminine
Recommended Age: 12+
Genres & Themes: Young Adult, Contemporary, Mental Illness, Romance, Agoraphobia, OCD
Norah has agoraphobia and OCD. When groceries are left on the porch, she can’t step out to get them. Struggling to snag the bags with a stick, she meets Luke. He’s sweet and funny, and he just caught her fishing for groceries. Because of course he did.
Norah can’t leave the house, but can she let someone in? As their friendship grows deeper, Norah realizes Luke deserves a normal girl. One who can lie on the front lawn and look up at the stars. One who isn’t so screwed up.
Where do I even start?
I bet many of you will like this book. Is has that type of snarky, sarcastic main character who feels real and as if she were telling us her story while simultaneously living it. She’s vulnerable and she’s strong. She’s funny and she’s morbid. She’s real.
But she’s very sarcastic and says things that live a bad taste in my mouth, such as: It’s possible I’ve ingested enough of my own fingers to call myself a cannibal.
Furthermore, I found the idea of exploring the theme of mental health with agoraphobia quite interesting. (Norah also has OCD.) However, it is extremely reminiscent of Everything, Everything, which is a book I found heartfelt and powerful in themes.
They’re comparable vis-à-vis the subject (girl cannot leave her home), the romance (neighbour to the rescue), the mother (single and crazy about her daughter) and the way the story unfolds… slowly and heavily on the romance.
Sadly, the romance is one of the things I least enjoyed. Don’t get me wrong, Luke can be sweet, but he sure isn’t realistic. Guys his age (seventeen) don’t talk the way he does (like a robot)—or so I think, but it may be me who expected more charm out of him. He’s calm and a beautiful listener, but he certainly does not know how to woe a girl.
Plus, it just isn’t romantic. Norah and Luke’s interactions are extremely awkward. I understood that they both had little idea of how to react around each other, but hell, does no teenager nowadays know how to flirt? What. And truly, I got that it was a HUGE deal for Norah to even clasp his hand, but the whole romance felt so anticlimactic, instead of adorable like in Everything, Everything.
The writing is one of the things that could have made me up my rating to 3 or 3.5 stars even, because there is nothing I hated about this book (aside form the weird, unexpected, what-the-hell ending). Louisa Gornall has a way with words, I’ll give her that. She does… So why is she trying so hard? I swear, every single descriptive paragraph contains a comparison.
I’m all for figures of style (and hers are quite imaginative) but that’s too much! It takes away from the realisticity of the story (and annoys the reader).
It wasn’t a chore to read it for me, so do keep that in mind in you’re interested in reading it. If what bothered me will not bother you, it can make for an incredible read!
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