A story about resilience and first love…
Genre: Y/A, Contemporary, Romance, LGBT
No. of pages: 328
Sky Baker may be openly gay, but in his small, insular town, making sure he was invisible has always been easier than being himself. Determined not to let anything ruin his senior year, Sky decides to make a splash at his high school’s annual beach bum party by asking his crush, Ali, to prom—and he has thirty days to do it.
What better way to start living loud and proud than by pulling off the gayest promposal Rock Ledge, Michigan, has ever seen?
Then, Sky’s plans are leaked by an anonymous hacker in a deeply homophobic e-blast that quickly goes viral. He’s fully prepared to drop out and skip town altogether—until his classmates give him a reason to fight back by turning his thirty-day promposal countdown into a school-wide hunt to expose the e-blast perpetrator.
But what happens at the end of the thirty days? Will Sky get to keep his hard-won visibility? Or will his small-town blues stop him from being his true self?
I read this in one sitting. It was emotionally compelling… I had tears falling from my eyes so frequently because I was all torn up in the challenges our protagonist Sky was facing. There are moments of hopelessness, of powerlessness, and moments bringing back all of that teenage angst and anxiety. I forgot how that age of high school was living like a guitar string pulled too tight.
We are introduced to Sky as he is reeling from the fact his religious mother has kicked him out of home for being gay while Sky is still grieving for the loss of his father. But luckily he’s landed in a safe place with his bff’s family. Now he’s navigating the rest of high school to a looming graduation, an uncertain future, dodging bullies, and growing the courage to prom-pose to his crush. The build up to the inciting incident was a little long, but I barely noticed it because Robbie Couch’s writing style makes everything so compelling. Sky is all of those teen insecurities we have all felt at one time or another, but with the support of his chosen family and friends, Sky manages to push through all the turmoil.
This is a positive story about endurance, and the realisation that it does get better. Not to be afraid to ask for help from those who truly love and accept you for who you are – because that love is given freely and without conditions. It shows how a chosen family is stronger that some of those blood ties. And the reality of the challenges LGBTQIA+ youth faces when coming to terms with their identity. I loved ‘The Sky Blues,’ it was like the cutest, warmest hug imaginable.
There are a lot of characters in ‘The Sky Blues’ but it was easy to distinguish them all and I never lost track of who was who. Some authors cannot do this so effectively. The stand out aspect of this novel was the friendships. Even though most of the story is discussing Sky and his crush, the friendships are what impacted me the most. Bree and Marshall are the besties I wish I had in my life. But the friendship circle grows as the narrative unfolds to include so many more interesting individuals.
It also challenges perceptions, or preconceived notions we have about people – you never know what someone is about, or going through until you get close to them. You better check those assumptions. And another aspect of behaviour and respect… always be aware of how your words and actions can affect someone else. Be kind, reserve judgement. I know all this sounds preachy, but ‘The Sky Blues’ is anything but, it’s a compassionate snapshot about all of these themes.
I felt I wanted a stronger threat with the romance stakes with Sky, but that’s just a personal preference for my taste in contemporaries. Though, I feel the narrative made sense for the character. And although the book concluded on a positive note and all the plot threads were tied up, I felt it needed a more romantic punch. Again, just the angst-ridden teen in me begging for more. Insatiable and insufferable she it at times.
The overall plot is fairly predictable, but the nuances are surprising, the strength of moral character in the subtext and the strong connection I had with the protagonist are what drives this story more than anything else. It’s a book I’d enthusiastically recommend to all who enjoy this genre.
Overall feeling: Really packed a punch to my heart
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