Book Review: The Sky is Dead by Sue Brown

Posted: June 8, 2013 by sidlove in 3 Star Reviews, Book Reviews, Susan's Reviews
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Review by Susan Lee



TITLE: The Sky is Dead
AUTHOR: Sue Brown
PUBLISHER: Dreamspinner Press
BLURB: Danny is young, gay, and homeless. He lives in the park, preferring to avoid attention, but when thugs confront a stranger, Danny rushes to his rescue. He and the would-be victim, Harry, form a cautious friendship that deepens months later, when Harry persuades Danny to visit his home. Daring to believe he has found happiness, Danny finds his world turned upside down yet again when tragedy strikes.

Until he runs out of options, Danny won’t trust anyone. Finally he has to accept the offer of a home, and Danny becomes David, but adjusting to a new life isn’t easy. When he meets the mysterious Jack, it stirs up feelings he thought were long gone. Can David dare to allow himself to love? Or will the truth bring his new world tumbling down around him?


When I really, really like a book, I can overlook a lot. I can overlook plot holes. I can suspend reality. I can justify lame twists in the story. I can even forgive bad editing.  I wanted very much to put “The Sky is Dead” into the category of “books I really, really like enough to forgive the rest”.  But, I just can’t…

A tragic and heartbreaking story told often enough in LGBT YA books, Danny is thrown out by his parents when they discover he’s gay.  He has nowhere to turn and eventually ends up homeless at the age of 16.  He lives “rough”on the streets, selling his body for money during desperate times, and just exists…survives.   Harry is a scrawny schoolkid who one day is rescued from knife-wielding bullies by Danny.  Harry crushes on Danny despite his homeless status and filth and a friendship-to-lovers relationship blossoms.

Harry is a hoot. He’s stubborn and strong-willed and knows what he wants…Danny.  Danny has been broken & hurt and because of this, he refuses to let anyone in and fiercely guards his independence.  He doesn’t want to need or want anyone lest they throw him out too.  But, he finds it impossible to deny Harry and the young love between them in the face of impossible differences is quite sweet.

And then tragedy strikes…

Fast forward over a year:  Danny is now “David” and starts a new life.  He meets Jack while volunteering at a homeless shelter and the two hit it off. In a very short time, they forge a connection and fall in love.  They are together for 8 years (if I did the math correctly) before Danny’s past that he’s tried to bury, comes back to haunt him.

Jack, much like Harry is great.  He’s feisty and his capacity to love and forgive is huge.  “David” is still broken, still hurt, still stubbornly guarding his independence.  But we begin to see the walls start to crumble and David starts to grow up and move forward.

The book is told in first person, present tense, which I normally despise.  But, Danny/David is an interesting and sympathetic enough character that I didn’t mind it as much.

What I did mind was the fact that the transition from Danny’s life to David’s life was completely off-page and never entirely explained.  The tragedy that struck and the year that followed was hinted at but never fully described (given it was Danny’s POV, I can see why the author chose to do this, but it was annoying.)

And what I really, really, really did mind (and what I just cannot overlook no matter how much I want to) is this: How the heck can Jack not recognize Danny after having been intimate with him and having loved him???? What, a haircut and weightloss makes someone a completely different person? What about the voice? What about the mannerisms? …this…this…I just can’t accept and it drove me nutso.

The subject-matter is important. And the story, for the most part, was well-told and interesting.  But, I just can’t embrace this book entirely because of that major irritation…

Susan’s Rating: 3-stars-out-of-5-300x70

BUY LINKS: Dreamspinner Press  ||  Book Store

Susan Lee is one of the official reviewers on The Blog of Sid Love

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  1. Dani says:

    wow that is if i am honost a harsh review I dont think the book or the writer deserve this
    I havent read this book yet but i wouln’t want to after reading this. Where i for sure will read it because she is a good writer and i like a lot of her books

    • Susan Lee says:

      Nothing to be sorry about, Dani. I just didn’t enjoy the book because of certain aspects I couldn’t overlook. I apologize if you feel the review was harsh. A 3 star review on this blog means I was satisfied with the book, but there are better ones out there…like, not love. And I stand by that. But, you say the book doesn’t “deserve this” yet you also admit you haven’t read it. I’m not sure I understand what you mean.

      • sidlove says:

        I have to agree, the story has been rated 3 stars which means it is likeable of course. I am sorry you found this review on a bit harsher side, Daan, but there is always going to be difference in opinions when it comes to reviews. I have given all the rights to my reviewers to express their opinions – honest, but never to thrash an author.
        Here, I don’t believe Susan intended to, or even did thrash the author or the book, because she states that she did like the book. What you might be seeing as harsh seems to me as her exasperation to the flaws of the book that kept it from being otherwise such a good book.

  2. Scraps says:

    I don’t believe this review was harsh at all – it was honest and well thought out. In fact the book got one less star from me and I don’t feel I was harsh either. I really value well thought out, honest reviews. When it comes to a review that just says “this sucked” I don’t place any value on it at all.

    Well done Susan and thanks Sid, for giving your reviewers the freedom to be honest.

  3. Dani says:

    thanks for you reply susan 🙂
    Nothing wrong with a difference of opinion in my opinion To me the emphazise was on the negative and for what i understood the focus should be on the positive and to make readers want to read /buy the book and i didnt get that from this one ,so that is what i meant
    I am one who applauds honosty for what its worth to mention that
    I stand corrected on what i said indeed about the book and not deserving ,while not having read it yet so excuse me for that 🙂

  4. great books says:

    This looks to me like it is a book worth reading for anyone going through what Danny is going through. This has all the makings of a very good novel.

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