The Vast Fields of Ordinary by Nick Burd
Dade just graduated from high school and his entire life has reached a breaking point. He has a horrible job at Food World, his parents should be divorced but are hanging on until he leaves for college, and his “boyfriend” Pablo is so far in the closet that he has a girlfriend and won’t acknowledge Dade in public. Dade drifts through his summer in a haze of marijuana and booze, living in that strange world between high school and college. On the way he finds both a first true friend, a real boyfriend, and his own voice.
This book is about making connections and the amazing moments in life that come from making that first leap into fear. Burd’s writing is a wonderful mix of straight-forward prose and then buttons on the ends of the chapters that rise to another level. He writes emotional scenes without reveling in the drama but also without denying the emotions that young men feel.
Dade is a great character who is confused, lost and entirely himself. He is a person that straight and gay people will relate to easily. Burd writes beautifully of first love and how tentative it is. Readers will finally get to read a book where gay teen sexuality is embraced. Beautifully written, the sexual passages read just like any straight sex scene in a teen novel. Thank goodness!
Highly recommended, this book offers a gloriously normal but profound look at a gay teen. Appropriate for ages 16-18.