REVIEW: The Sky Blues by Robbie Couch

The Official Description: Sky’s small town turns absolutely claustrophobic when his secret promposal plans get leaked to the entire school in this witty, heartfelt, and ultimately hopeful debut novel for fans of What if it’s Us? and I Wish You All the Best.

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?

Just the facts: YA with a great gang of friends, a battle to fight, and a prom-posal to make.

Sky is my new hero. This book has all the good things: a mystery, friendship, protesting, awesome t-shirts and promposals. While some of the subject matter is heavy, it’s well-balanced with the banter and energy of high school life. – Kinzie Things

My thoughts bit: Robbie Couch’s debut young adult novel is a good read. Sky spends his life living with his best friend Bree’s family, trying not to think about how his mom disowned him for being gay, and planning an epic promposal for his crush, Ari.

Unfortunately, someone manages to leak a photo of Ari and Bree’s promposal wall full of ridiculous ideas and suggestions. The message that is sent out to everyone is homophobic and racist (Ari – the crush is referred to as a terrorist). Of course, Sky’s first reaction is to turtle in his room and avoid everyone. He cuts off his friends and found family and runs through all the “doom” scenarios that we all would.

The friends, some teachers, Bree’s family, and some people from the past work together to try and find out who posted the photo and make a statement that their school and their prom are welcoming to everyone.

That’s a really brief summary, but there’s quite a bit going on in this story. One of the things I liked about Couch’s style was that even though there’s some really horrible stuff happening to the characters… the way they move through it all felt quite “real” to me. It’s not overly dramatic and the characters don’t spend pages catastrophizing.

Sky is a wonderful character. He’s always been quite self-aware. He just hasn’t been “out”. Some of his discomfort from being/ acting gay comes from a place of confusion. He thinks he’s different from his straight friends… and hasn’t really even given some of them the chance to get to know him truly. There’s a lovely subplot with Sky and his best friend Marshall. Marshall is straight and interested in sports… and Sky makes a lot of assumptions about what he can and can’t tell Marshall. Couch’s story lets us follow along as the friendship between the two young men grows and changes.

As Sky’s world grows bigger, there are always people who aren’t supportive but there are a lot of people who are. Couch does a fantastic job of balancing everything in this novel.

The plot is engaging, and I found the mysteries in Sky’s story interesting. I didn’t really put the book down once I started it and I found it thoroughly entertaining. It contains a lot of humor, snappy dialogue, and some lovely, flustered teens. A wonderful read.

Things You May Want To Know: Please be aware, I’m by no means an expert on what may or may not have the potential to disturb people. I simply list things that I think a reader might want to be aware of. In this book: (SPOILERS) homophobia, character shamed on the internet, racism, parent killed in an accident, the main character was in an accident and was disfigured by a scar, character’s parent was killed in an accident, character disowned for being gay, religious persecution, a parent wants son to attend conversation camp (he refuses and cuts ties).

Links: Goodreads // The Author // The Publisher

I received an ARC of The Sky Blue’s by Robbie Couch from Simon and Schuster via Edelweiss in exchange for an unbiased review.

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