Our Pride Reads series continues with The Sky Blues by Robbie Couch, which follows a gay teenage boy who finds solidarity after a humiliating incident.
The Sky Blues is the story of a gay teenage boy named Sky who lives in a small town. Sky, with the help of his best friend Bree, plans to ask his crush Ali to Prom in an epic promposal. Unfortunately, Sky is humiliated when his plans are revealed in a hacked school-wide e-mail blast, complete with a homophobic slur as well as a racist slur towards Ali. A mysterious gift points Sky towards the gay high school friend of the father he never got a chance to know, giving him the courage to stand up to the hacker with the help of his friends and unlikely allies.
Sky is a relatable protagonist and author Robbie Couch accurately captures the emotions of being an awkward gay teenager in high school. At the beginning of the story, Sky is dealing with living with his best friend after his mother kicks him out for being gay, a homophobic bully in school, his worries regarding his future after high school, and his insecurity about a scar on his chest that he’s had since a car accident that killed his father.
His reaction to his humiliation is heartbreaking and understanding, but his eventual decision to stand up against his bullies is inspirational. Throughout his journey, Sky also learns to confront his own assumptions about other people and pay more attention to the struggles of his friends. Sky is easy to root for as a protagonist and his journey is satisfying to follow.
The supporting cast around Sky is also lovable. In the aftermath of the hacked email, Sky’s friends, classmates, and a supportive teacher rally around him. Sky’s best friends, Bree and Marshall are incredibly supportive from the beginning of the story. While Sky is slightly wary of being openly gay around Marshall, Marshall shows him that his hesitancy is unfounded while also opening Sky’s eyes to his own struggles with being Black in their small town. Even Ali, who turns out to be straight, continues to remain a great friend to Sky after finding out about the promposal plans.
Sky, Bree, Marshall, and Ali band together to fight back against the hack while launching an investigation to prove their suspicions of who is behind the hack. Though their plan is met with homophobia from some of their classmates, parents of some students, and the school’s principal, the four spark a movement that causes many of Sky’s classmates join them in solidarity. In addition, Sky’s bravery inspires other students, and he quickly finds out that he is not the only LGBTQ+ student in the school.
The subplot of Sky connecting with his father’s friend is also interesting. Through Charlie and his partner, Sky gets to learn more about his father and see that life after high school can get better for openly gay people like Sky. In addition to inspiring Sky to fight back, this also helps to provide a contrast to Sky’s mother and brother, who are not supportive of his sexuality.
It’s delightful to see how much support Sky gets from the people around him and how they all band together in the aftermath. There were many times I couldn’t help but grin at the supportive actions of Sky’s expanding group of friends and allies and the fun memories that they make together.
The ending is an enjoyable culmination as Sky embraces his support system and becomes comfortable in his own skin as a gay man. He also ends up getting a promposal and subsequently a boyfriend of his own. In addition, all the plot threads and questions set up throughout the story are resolved and answered satisfactorily by the last page.
While those who are triggered by homophobic slurs and other instances of homophobia may need to be cautious, The Sky Blues is a beautiful story about standing up to homophobia and embracing yourself and the support system around you. This story is highly recommended for anyone struggling with their sexuality, particularly high schoolers. Above all, The Sky Blues proves that the best journeys include the friends we make along the way.
The Sky Blues is published by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers and is available now.
Check out more of our Pride Reads.
Author: Jessica Wolff
Jessica Wolff is a graduate of Drexel University with a BS in Film/Video. She has a passion for entertainment and representation in entertainment. She currently resides outside of Washington, DC.
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