"I try to look up but I can't see anything but darkness. All the stars have gone out. I think the sky is dead."
- Review by Cindi
Danny is homeless. His 'home' is under a bush in a park, the only place where he can get any rest without being run off or harmed. He often spends time at a local shelter but he refuses to accept any kind of help other than an occasional meal, fiercely guarding his independence. He has been on his own and independent since the day he was kicked out of his home when he was sixteen for being gay.
The Sky is Dead begins in the present time with a prologue as David Miles' partner is pushing him to tell the story of his past. The two men have been together for many years but secrets have been kept that affect both men. Reluctantly David begins and this is where the story begins and the reader discovers the life of Danny, a young man who later becomes David.
Danny was forced out of his family home for kissing his boyfriend Steve on New Year's Eve. He manages to stay with Steve for a few days before Steve's homophobic parents take it upon themselves to force him into the system where he ends up with a horrible, homophobic roommate who harasses him at every turn. He is allowed to go to the same school during this time where he is able to still spend time with Steve. Steve is the one bright spot of Danny's life until one day Steve betrays him in the worst possible way. Moments later, something happens at the group home and Danny is forced to run away. Thus begins Danny's life of homelessness.
Every few chapters begins another part of Danny's life. When he is eighteen he meets sixteen-year-old Harry in the park. Harry is being bullied by two of the local thugs, two thugs who Danny has given a wide range up to this point. When one pulls a knife Danny knows he cannot stand by and watch the boy be injured or worse. Once the threat is over and Harry gets over his anger over Danny's interference, he is so appreciative of his life being saved that he takes it upon himself to take care of Danny. Harry's mother agrees and Harry comes by almost daily to bring Danny food, clothing and other items that are needed. What starts as a reluctant friendship quickly turns into more as both boys have grown to love the other. Harry's mother allows Danny to come to her house often and even to stay the night as long as he stays in the guest bedroom. Harry's mother is aware that her son is gay and she accepts this and she accepts Danny. Unfortunately something happens and Harry is ripped out of Danny's life right as he is finally allowing himself to care and to give up some of his much-fault-for independence.
This begins a downward spiral for Danny. All the nights of sleeping in the cold and rain have affected his health and he is in and out of the hospital with pneumonia. He is assaulted and almost killed, saved only by a worker at the shelter. When he is twenty and there is another hospital visit due to pneumonia, Danny is told that one more infection in his lungs and he will not survive... there have been too many. This is when his saviors Mary and Sylvia step in, two women who are a force to be reckoned with who take Danny in whether he wants to be taken in or not.
A few months after receiving help from Sylvia and her mother Mary, Danny has decided that from now on he will be David. It is time for a new start and as far as he is concerned Danny died the day Sylvia and Mary saved him. It is as David that he meets Jack at the shelter volunteering with his family at Christmas during a family vacation from the states. Jack is only eighteen but there is something about him that draws David to him and in only a day or so the two are involved in a heated relationship with the boys falling in love even knowing that Jack will be going back to the states in a matter of days. David and Jack are sweet together though there is not a lot of time in the book with David and Jack as an actual couple.
This is a very well-written and emotional story. It's difficult to watch as Danny is forced to endure one betrayal or tragedy after another. He is offered help but refuses it. He would rather live under a bush in a park than be forced to give up his independence. Only with the help of two strong women and a shelter worker is he able to move on and start living for the first time since he was sixteen.
One thing (actually two but they are related) bugged me about this book. I am unable to say what it was because it is the one big spoiler. There is one particular secret that should come out long before it does in my opinion. I understand where the author was coming from and I get that the rest of the story could not have played out had this been revealed. However, I feel that forgiveness for that should not have been as forthcoming by the other party as it was. Maybe I'm harsh but a lot of pain could have been avoided had David told the truth sooner. The entire story is about Danny/David being betrayed but yet I feel that he did the same thing. Otherwise, an outstanding book.
This book was provided by Dreamspinner Press in exchange for a fair and honest review.