Best Fiction for Young Adults (#BFYA2022) Featured Review of The Sky Blues by Robbie Couch

The Sky Blues Cover Art

The Sky Blues by Robbie Couch
Simon and Schuster Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: April 6, 2021
ISBN: 978-1534477858

White teen Sky is one of the only openly gay people in his small town of Rock Ledge, MI, and he has a major crush on a fellow classmate named Ali, an Arab-American. Sky and his best friend Bree, also white, concoct a plan for Sky to enact a dramatic promposal that will get Ali to go to prom with him. Plans get derailed when photos involving Sky and Ali are sent out to the entire senior class through a hacked email newsletter, along with racist and homophobic comments. Sky is devastated, believing that his classmates will shun him. Much to his surprise, his classmates show support in growing numbers. Sky, Bree, Ali and their friends Marshall, a straight black teen, and Teddy, Marshall’s athletic white friend, join forces to suss out the bully responsible for the offensive email while publicly showing support for Sky and Ali with DIY t-shirts and clever hashtags. 

This #OwnVoices LGBTQ+ novel features humor and resilience in equal doses as Sky and his friends try to root out homophobia and racism in their school. Sky grows significantly as a character, learning important lessons about how his friend’s various racial and gender identities shape their lives in ways that had never previously occurred to him. The public support of Sky’s dilemma is both rousing and playful, making the plot of The Sky Blues not only entertaining, but also affirming. Written in the first person, Sky’s voice comes through in his witty and occasionally melodramatic narration. The book wraps up on a satisfyingly sweet note. Readers should be aware that there are instances of homophobia and xenophobia.

Readers who enjoyed works like Can’t Take That Away by Steven Salvatore, Prom by Sandra Mitchell, or Moxie by Jennifer Mathieu featuring groups of activist students taking on bullies, whether they be other students or adults in positions of authority will find The Sky Blues to be equally empowering. Also hand this to fans of other queer romantic comedies like Date Me, Bryson Keller by Kevin Van Whye.

Courtney Waters 

Other Nominated Titles

  • Kate in Waiting by Becky Albertalli (April 20, 2021)
  • Winterkeep by Kristin Cashore (January 19, 2021)
  • The Wide Starlight by Nicole Lesperance (February 16, 2021)

The Selected Lists teams read throughout the year in search of the best titles published in their respective categories. Once a book is suggested (either internally or through the title suggestion form), it must pass through a review process to be designated an official nomination. 

Each week, the teams feature a review of one of the officially nominated titles. Additional titles to receive this designation are listed as well. At year’s end, the team will curate a final list from all nominated titles and select a Top Ten. The previous years’ lists are available on The Hub.