Sky may seem like your typical high school senior, but his life has been difficult. His father passed away in a car accident when Sky was little and he has no memory of the man. The one thing Sky does have is a scar from being in the car as well. His relationship with his mother and brother were always tenuous, but when Sky comes out, his mother asks him to leave. He has a safe place to live with his best friend, Bree, and her family, but graduation is approaching and Sky knows he will be left behind in their small town.
Sky is out in school and, while his friends are supportive, not everyone is, and Sky is constantly checking himself to blend in better and diffuse the bullies. But Sky is determined to enjoy his senior year and his plan is to publicly ask his crush, Ali, to the prom during the senior beach party. The party is 30 days away and Sky is busy making plans.
His plans are blown sky high when they are leaked in an embarrassing and intrusive way over an eblast that gains a lot of traction. Sky is prepared to never set foot in school again, but support from his peers is the last thing he expected. With his promposal plans on hold, the countdown continues to find out who hacked the eblast. But Sky is now unsure what happens when the thirty days are up and Sky’s life is about to move in paths that he never expected.
Robbie Couch offers his debut novel with The Sky Blues and I think fans of YA will find a lot to like here. The story here draws on inspiration from Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda, (or the adapted movie Love, Simon) with even a brief reference made to Simon, and has some 80s movie vibes woven in. Sky is an easy character to like from the start and if high school isn’t sometimes difficult enough, Sky has a few more layers of difficulty piled on. He’s self-conscious of being able to blend in at school and he’s self-conscious of his scar and although he knows he has a place to live during high school at his friend Bree’s house, no one has talked yet about what happens after graduation. Sky’s crush on Ali has reached epic levels and even Sky feels like he’s too invested, but figuring out how to ask Ali to the prom has been his current life goals.
The book has a movie feel to it, where some scenes might have been more impactful if I had been able to see them due to the way they were structured. The positive people in Sky’s life are definitely there to prop him up and don’t have nearly as much dimension or depth as Sky himself does. When things do go wrong for Sky, he realizes he had more support in places he never thought and is disappointed in the places he thought he should have support, and his perspective starts to change as he grows up.
Some things were too convenient and too well placed in his quest to uncover the truth behind the online leak and, as the 30-day countdown wound down and Sky became unsure of his plan, it seemed the storyline suffered the same fate with not knowing where to position itself as it ended. There is a romantic interest for Sky and it becomes a plot line that is in addition to the rest of his story and keeps to the YA feel. There is a loose ending here, as Sky’s journey is still a work in progress and some aspects of his story are not tightly tied up. While I was okay with that in some areas and it worked for his age, I also felt that other areas needed more follow through.
Robbie Couch would be an author to watch as his writing moves beyond this debut. The one thing I think most readers would agree on is that Sky is a character that you will want to cheer on as he navigates his last year of high school.
Personal Note: The Sky Blues was first selected by Sammy to review. When she passed away in April, I then took over the review opportunity in her honor. Sammy had a special fondness for young adult books and was a champion for young heroes finding their way. I would like to think that she also would have been cheering on Sky.