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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?
Audiobook Received for Review in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Do you ever finish reading a book and the more you think about the book, the more you realize you liked it more than you originally thought you did? This was the case for me with this book. I actually enjoyed this one quite a bit while reading this, but it wasn’t until after I had finished that I realized I ended up liking it more. I know, I always say that I don’t like books about mental illness because somehow they always end the same way, with the MC alone at the end. I know most people hate the idea of love being used as a ‘cure-all’ solution for mental illness in books, and I agree. But I also think it’s bullshit that just because a person has a mental illness there seems to be this unwritten rule that they also can’t fall in love. For some reason, this book gave me hope that it would break that rule.
The first few chapters of this book were a little rough for me because, yes, it was so similar to Everything, Everything (which I loved). But the more the story went on and the more I learned about Nora, it was easy to forget about the similarities and focus on this story. Nora suffers from agoraphobia, OCD and anxiety which is a hell of a combination for anyone to deal with, much less a teenager. She’s spent the last few years stuck inside her house for the most part, a choice she made, because dealing with the outside world is too much to handle for her. When Luke moves in next door, Nora is horrified at the thought that he might actually want to hang out with her, especially since their first few encounters are painfully awkward. She’s also terrified at what he will think about her when he finds out about her illness, but Luke is one of the good guys and he not only tries his best to understand Nora, but he wants to learn more.
Not only was it interesting to see these two get closer, despite their many hurdles, but I also was kind of fascinated by Nora. She spends her life stuck inside her house, watching tv, playing with food and spending way too much time inside her head. As someone who doesn’t deal with people very well, it was understandable to see how certain things affect Nora and how she reacts to them. Things I never would have thought about like her freaking out about holding a boy’s hand because of all the germs or her almost having a full on panic attack at just the thought of kissing and all that spit and germs involved. It was sad to see a normal teenage girl being affected by these thoughts, especially knowing people like Nora exist. Although the romance was pretty cute, for me, the important part of the story was Nora’s relationship with her mom and Nora’s personal growth. By no means is she ‘cured’ by the end of the book, but she also isn’t alone and the book ends in a hopeful note that even though Nora will most likely always have to deal with her illness, she will have people like her mom and Luke to help her along the way,
Some of my favorite quotes:
-But something doesn’t feel right. My mind is attempting sabotage, refusing to find the beauty, the fun, the exciting in watching what are essentially pretty explosives.
-I’m being forced to challenge ideas that have kept me safe for so long. There’s an entire library of information in my head, and suddenly I can’t decide if any of it is worth reading.
-Mental health is usually the last place people go when they think about someone being sick.
-I just want to have proof that I can think straight, that I am more than the girl who believes that odd numbers will cause a catastrophe.
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