YVO’S SHORTIES #17: Under Rose-Tainted Skies & Station Eleven

Another day and another round of Yvo’s Shorties… This time around two Beat The Backlist titles I managed to read last month. The first, Under Rose-Tainted Skies by Louise Gornall, I mostly picked up on a whim because I was in the mood for a YA contemporary read. I didn’t remember it had a mental health angle, which was a nice surprise, but I did feel the story was way too similar to Everything, Everything. The second title, Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel, is one of those books I have been wanting to read for ages, but always felt slightly intimidated by. I’m glad I finally did pick it up, because the writing was wonderful!

Title: Under Rose-Tainted Skies
Author: Louise Gornall

Genre: YA, Contemporary, Romance
First published: July 7th 2016
Publisher: Clarion Books
Finished reading: January 29th 2018
Pages: 330

“We can assume the best, but we can’t choose how people perceive us. We can, however, chooce how those views affect us.”


I kind of picked up this title on a whim while I was browsing my kindle looking for a YA contemporary since I was in the mood for the genre. I didn’t look up the summary before I started reading, so it was a pleasant surprise when I discovered Under Rose-Tainted Skies has a very prominent mental health angle. I can always appreciate when a story focuses on this illness and helps spread the word… In this case, the main character suffers from agoraphobia and OCD, and her situation plays a very big role in the story. The main focus of Under Rose-Tainted Skies is on Norah, how she is trying to live with her illness and how it affects those close to her. I think the author did a good job portraying this element as well as addressing a few misunderstanding and cliche reactions along the way. The writing and pace made this story easy and fast to read and overall it is an engaging and entertaining read. BUT. I did feel it just all felt too similar to Everything, Everything. The girl ‘trapped’ inside her house due to her illness, the single mom, the cute neighbor… Even the unnatural ‘fast’ development of the relationship felt kind of the same. Also, I wasn’t too sure about the ending or credibility of certain parts of the plot. In short, I ended up having mixed thoughts about Under Rose-Tainted Skies, but I do think contemporary romance fans will enjoy this one better than I did.

Title: Station Eleven
Author: Emily St. John Mandel

Genre: Science Fiction, Dystopia
First published: September 9th 2014
Publisher: Knopf
Finished reading: January 31st 2018
Pages: 336

“First we only want to be seen, but once we’re seen, that’s not enough anymore. After that, we want to be remembered.”


Station Eleven is one of those books that has been on my shelf for years and somehow I just kept posponing it. One of the reasons is probably that this story by Emily St. John Mandel is such a popular one and I was afraid it wouldn’t live up to the hype… Even 3+ years after the publish date. You can also say I was a bit intimidated by it. I’m glad I did finally pick it up though, because I ended up enjoying it considerably. I went in with no idea what to expect whatsoever and the whole dystopian setting came as a huge (but pleasant) surprise. I don’t think I was expecting the story Station Eleven ended up delivering, but that doesn’t mean I enjoyed it less because of it. I always love my surprises! The first thing that stood out for me was the writing style, which had me under its spell immediately. Station Eleven starts out as a contemporary and then suddenly throws the bomb (or should I say, Georga Flu) on you and turns dystopian. This ‘after’ is in fact the most dominant storyline and I really liked reading about the different characters and how their stories connect or overlap. There will be a few plot twists in story for you as well! I do have to say that, while I really enjoyed this story, I do think the plot felt a bit disjointed with all those flashbacks and different storylines. Especially in the beginning it was hard to put each storyline and character in its correct place and this might slow down the pace a little. This is only minor compared to how I felt about Station Eleven overall though, and I can recommend it to anyone who appreciates a good dystopian story with a perfect character/plot/background/action balance.


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23 thoughts on “YVO’S SHORTIES #17: Under Rose-Tainted Skies & Station Eleven

    • Yeah I can totally understand that… The whole TBR pile situation is pretty hopeless for most of us bloggers. 😉 I hope you will get to Station Eleven this year! It’s definitely one worth reading…

      Liked by 1 person

  1. I have to confess I’ve been a bit intimidated by Station Eleven too. It’s one of those books with a lot of hype but also a lot of praise from literary critics which is often a red flag for me. I’m very happy to hear you enjoyed it so much. I really must pick it up.

    I hadn’t realised Under Rose Tainted Skies was about mental illness and in particular agoraphobia. I’m thinking I may be best avoiding it in case it’s a trigger.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Station Eleven is definitely worth giving a go… I personally decided to go in completely blind and didn’t refresh my memories of the blurb and reviews; definitely helped not having expectations this time.
      And if it’s a trigger definitely stay away, because it plays a huge role in the story. 🙂


  2. I have both on my TBR list although I’m more interested in Under Rose-Tainted Skies and only added Station Eleven because of the recommendations really. I haven’t read Everything Everything either and didn’t know it was about the same topic.. I’m interested in the subject though and think I could easily connect with the characters so I still want to find out and read both of them :-).

    Liked by 1 person

    • Everything Everything doesn’t have a mental illness theme; the main character has SCID (allergic to just about everything), which basically means she can’t leave the house either, although for medical reasons. But the basic similarities are definitely there. I hope you will enjoy both though! One of the better features of both is how they put a relatively unspoken of disease in the spotlight.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Under Rose-Tainted Skies might have just suffered from the fact the genre isn’t really for me… Although the similarities to Everything, Everything did bother me. Most people seem to love it though!


  3. I loved Under Rose-Tainted Skies when I read it. I can definitely see the similarities it has with Everything, Everything, but I like URTS a lot more since I haaaaated the ending to Everything, Everything, haha. Really glad to see yet another person who enjoyed Station Eleven! I seriously need to pick that up.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Glad to hear you enjoyed both books! Station Eleven was one of my favorite reads of last year, so I’m especially happy you liked it. And with Under Rose-Tainted Skies, I also felt lukewarm about the romance, but I could relate to the mental health angle. The anxiety I experience isn’t as debilitating as Norah’s, but the way her mind worked was very believable.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I can understand Station Eleven being one of your favorites! I really enjoyed it as well and loved the mix of contemporary and dystopia. And I agree the mental health angle is one of the strongest features of Under Rose-Tainted Skies. It is the main reason I kept reading, as the agoraphobia was well described.

      Liked by 1 person

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