Couch, Robbie. The Sky Blues. Simon & Schuster. 2021. $19.99. 325p. HC. 9781534477858.
In Robbie Couch’s debut YA novel The Sky Blues, 17-year-old senior high schooler Sky Baker is counting down the days until he plans to “prompose” to his crush Ali Rashid. He and his bestie Bree have been creating a Promposal Wall in his bedroom, brainstorming how best to prompose. He’s not even sure if Ali is gay, but he’s adorable and friendly and even has a cute nickname for Sky: Sky High. Life is difficult for Sky–his father is dead; he’s seemingly the only gay boy in his school, making him the target of a relentless bully; and worst of all, his mom kicked him out of the house when he came out to her–but when a photo of the Promposal Wall is leaked to the entire school, Sky is beyond mortified. But to his surprise his world doesn’t collapse but actually expands. He realizes that he’s not the only queer kid in school, that he has a ton of allies, including supportive teachers, and that he’s not as alone as he’d thought.
The Sky Blues is a fun coming of age story. I love how accepting and encouraging Bree’s parents are, inviting Sky to live with them after his mom kicked him out, and the unexpected appearance of an old friend of his dad’s provides a welcome addition to the cast. The support Sky receives from those around him is wildly unbelievable, which may be due to this being Couch’s first novel.Despite that, it’s exactly what the primary audience of this novel needs to hear: a message of hope that not all families are emotionally abusive homophobes, the world is filled with allies, and that true acceptance is not only possible but readily available, but often from unknown or unsuspected sources. Prom doesn’t turn out as Sky had fantasized it would, but it turns out great in a way he couldn’t have imagined, and more importantly, he learns that he’s tough enough to handle what life throws at him.
University of Michigan