April is LGBT Month at Laura Plus Books
Falling From the Sky
Written by Nikki Godwin
Published February 21st 2014
Thank you to Nikki Godwin
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All stability in sixteen year old Ridge McCoy’s life crashed and burned in the plane crash that killed his dad. This summer-long basketball camp is his chance to improve his skills and escape his problems back home. But his summer plans take a turn in an unexpected direction when he meets Micah Youngblood, the guy who runs the carousel at the local mall and has a reputation for devouring straight boys’ heterosexuality for breakfast, alongside his chocolate chip pancakes.
Ridge needs a way to avoid the guys at camp, whose only quest for the summer is to drown in beer and hook up with girls. So when Micah offers to explain how the ten unique horses on the carousel are significant to his tribe, Ridge takes him up on it. Still, Ridge can't decide if this is a bad thing or not. All he knows is that he hasn’t felt this alive since his dad fell from the sky, and as the horse adventures come to an end, Ridge finds himself falling as well, for Mica.
Ridge McCoy is spending the summer at Dunson Hills Sports Camp, where the seventeen year old won't spend his time dwelling on his father, who died in a plane crash, his mother, who can't see past her own grief, or his distant girlfriend Samantha, who holds onto a relationship simply so she doesn't become that girl. The one who left him while he was grieving the loss of his father. Along with best friend Terrence, basketball camp seem the only option in which Ridge can escape.
But camp isn't what he'd thought it would be. So when he meets Micah at the mall, he's just happy to flee the constant drunken parties and talk about the local girls. Micah runs the carrousel, and the two bond over video games. Using Micah as yet another escape, he reluctantly agrees to an adventure of sorts, to learn about the ten horses that adorn the much loved ride. The horses represent his tribe, and wants to show Ridge how they connect to his life, asking for only ten days over the summer period. But Ridge just wants to be alone, he doesn't want pity or false offers of sympathy... But it's better than being alone on the weekends when the rest of the camp return home.
Micah is gay. Ridge has a girlfriend. But as their friendship blossoms, the labels they each carry are shed and the two begin to bond over Zombie video games, loneliness and Micah's Indian heritage. Ridge begins to dodge messages from his girlfriend, instead choosing to spend his time at Micah's house on the reservation. But it seems his teammates are beginning to notice his absence from the dorms at camp, which only adds to his confusion. He's straight, but why does Micha's smile bring him to his knees, looking forward to spending his days with the lonely teen and feels the tension and physical attraction growing. Micah understands, he doesn't need to offer words of condolences and Ridge can't remember the last time he felt so alive.
But Micah isn't without his secrets, and falling for a heterosexual boy can only lead to heartbreak. Over the course of a summer, two boys who have both loved and lost will learn what it is to confide in one another, comfort one another and risk it all for one another.
This is the first young adult novel I've read where either boy isn't the token gay background character. Usually we only see them as a comedic element, flamboyant and little value apart from being a stereotype to the wider audience. Falling From the Sky was incredibly gentle, loving and I fell in love with both the main characters which doesn't happen often, if ever.
Ridge is a lost soul. Since losing his father it seems that he's lost his family to grief and anger as well. They don't talk about his father, and has no one in his life apart from friend Terrance that he can talk to. He has a fear of planes and the mere sight of one freezes him in his tracks. But camp isn't an escape, it seems to be creating more problems... Until he meets Micah. Micah is lovely, overly dramatic and is dealing with his own hurt. But the gentle teen has nothing but time where Ridge is concerned and the two form a beautiful bond.
It was an incredibly touching story, I loved the Native American history of Micah's Jocolnu tribe and the Bear Creek Indian reservation. If you've never engaged in a same sex young adult contemporary, Falling From the Sky is the perfect introduction. There are no steamy scenes between the teens, which some readers who aren't perhaps as accepting, may find confronting. It's a stunning coming of age novel about healing, finding yourself and falling in love. Simply brilliant. Nikki is fast becoming one of my favourite indie authors. My only complaint is that I need more.