Give Up the White Room – Luke Melia


“Through the story Luke has used the character Reya, to highlight the very real issues surrounding mental health problems, in a way that is both sympathetic and understanding… This is a very adult themed book, which deals with modern day life and society, including gender and sexuality, in a subtle and sensitive way.” – Dave K.

Life is a puzzle just waiting to be solved – that’s how Reya, a young woman with a penchant for solving complex puzzles, sees it.

Reya’s life is governed by routine; a roadmap of rules from what foods she eats to what clothes she wears. Most of her time is spent working on her online challenge forum, ‘The Puzzler’. 

An agoraphobe with obsessive compulsive disorder who hasn’t had sight of the outside world in over six years, Reya views her own symptoms as just another puzzle to be solved.

Now, with the help of her self-made therapeutic entity, Ivan, she has a carefully laid out plan to get her back into society. When their plan goes awry, Reya retreats to the safety of her home. That night, when she sleeps, she finds herself in an unusual place called ‘the shared Dreamspace’.

The Dreamspace is a boundless and wonderful place, accessible only to a small selection of individuals from around the world; a place in which one can make anything they desire tangible. Here Reya can finally interact with others, face to face, without needing to leave her home.

As Reya begins to use her talents to help these people and forge new relationships, she starts to feel more and more connected to the Dreamspace.

But what is this place?

Do these people really exist?

Or is this White Room merely an addictive fabrication to retreat from the gravity of her illnesses?

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“…the mental health issues he raises throughout the book he works them so well into the story & characters, that I actually came away with a better understanding of what people with these health issues must go through everyday that in itself is a brilliant way to create awareness about these modern day issues that need to be spoken about more often.” Filthy Rocker


What do I do if, while at Appleberrys, somebody breaks into the house and they’re still here when I get back?

What do I do if Appleberrys has an issue with their refrigerator which means no milk, what can I get instead?

What do I do if I sneeze whilst being served and I don’t have time to cover my mouth? What will Darren think? What if he’s disgusted and starts screaming at me in front of people? Or worse, screaming at me when nobody else is there?

The questions kept me awake all night. I got out of bed at 4am, much earlier than usual, but by that time I’d realised there was no chance I was going to fall asleep. I found myself just pacing around the kitchen going over the plan in my head to make sure I hadn’t missed anything. 10:20 was drawing in fast.

By 6am I’d eaten everything sweet I could find in the house, all washed down with several cups of coffee. 10:20 was drawing in fast.

By 7:30am I was banging on Ivan’s door and screaming his name… he didn’t answer. I suspected he was there, but he knew that I’d try and delay the plan if we spoke. 10:20 was drawing in fast.

I needed to distract myself. I opened The Puzzler page and there were several new challenges waiting. I skimmed down the page to find the most difficult one I could. I thought to myself; if I could find a hard one, a REALLY challenging one, then maybe it’d keep me busy enough that I’d stop thinking about the plan for a moment.

‘OlaEmmaGina’ posted: “Dear The Puzzler. I have a base with twenty prisoners. All of them were born there, and at birth their mouths were sewn shut. They have no way to see themselves; all mirrors and reflective surfaces were removed before they were born. I have a deal with the prisoners; every day at midday I’ll let them approach me if they wish. If they have blue eyes, I’ll set them free. However, if their eyes are anything else but blue then I’ll shoot them dead on the spot. Now here is the twist; all twenty prisoners have blue eyes. So far, none have approached me as they don’t know their own eye colour and it’s too big of a risk to take. I’m going to let you in to see the prisoners, but you must follow my two rules.

Rule one- you may only make one statement.

Rule two- you can’t tell them anything that they don’t already know.

So, The Puzzler, what do you tell my prisoners?”

This seemed like a good one. I could see some comments from members coming in saying how it was impossible and something must be missing from the description… that’s usually a good sign that it’s going to test me and keep my mind busy.

OK The Puzzler, time to focus… twenty prisoners, all with blue eyes. All they know is that everyone else has blue eyes, but they’re uncertain about their own. So, what if when I’m at Appleberrys someone who knew me at school comes in and tries to make conversation, it’s going to be harder to get away, they might try and get me to go for a coffee or something, what do I do then? No Reya stop, back to The Puzzler. OK one statement; can’t be anything they don’t know. Let’s split this into puzzle pieces rather than looking at the whole thing. I need to know everything a prisoner knows, that’s the first piece. I know with 100% certainty that everyone else has blue eyes, I know there is a chance that I have blue eyes too. Let’s imagine I’m a prisoner and there is only one other, let’s call her Juno… no, that was my mother’s name. Let’s go with Jane… what could the visitor tell me about Jane that I already know that would somehow confirm I have blue eyes too? What if the visitor comes into the prison and tells us that Darren has called in sick, and some other replacement has had to cover at short notice? I wouldn’t know that until I got to Appleberrys. The new staff member would be feeling aggrieved at the fact they’ve had to come in to work at short notice. That could be dangerous. STOP! For fuck’s sake The Puzzler!

It was no good, I couldn’t focus. The plan was clouding my mind and monopolising my thoughts. 10:20 was drawing in fast.

“I love the character Reya, it portrays perfectly the life of someone who experiences the same mental health issues as her. The whole book has you wondering what is real and what is not, I love the fact that there are small puzzles just left there without an answer for you to yourself think about.” – Jojo

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About the Author

Luke was just a young lad when, upon browsing the Punisher section of his local comic-book store, he was bitten by a radioactive author. Thinking nothing of it, Luke went home to spend his days playing video games and watching countless movies.

That was until he reached his late twenties, and certain powers began to manifest…

These new “Abilities” included:
“Ultra Caffeine Absorption” – The ability to ingest an inhuman amount of Coffee (also known as creative lubricant).
“Amplified Vision” – The ability to look at two sentences and consider it a ‘productive day of writing’.
“Vocabulary Oblivisci” – The ability to forget all knowledge of the English language the minute pen touches paper.
“Inspiration Insomnia” – The ability to be flooded by ideas at the exact moment you should be sleeping- only to forget them by morning.

“The puzzler has got my brain working for sure, what is real and what is imagination, are our fears irrational or rational? I haven’t been able to put it down, it is engaging, and thought provoking, and the puzzles / riddles all the way through have been keeping my brain active all day!! Certainly a must read!!” – Jemma