Sunday, February 20, 2011

The Vast Fields of Ordinary by Nick Burd

Dade Hamilton has had a secret boyfriend for two years. In the summer after he finishes high school, and before leaving his small Iowa town for college in the autumn, Dade decides he has had enough of being closeted. He falls for a guy from the wrong side of town, Alex Kincaid, who also happens to be the local dope dealer. As he deals with ex-boyfriend and new one, and while watching his parents' marriage fall apart, Dade learns to be true to himself.

The sense of being on the cusp of adulthood is very strong in this realistic novel. Nick Burd shines a golden light on ordinary moments in an ordinary life, illuminating the wonder of it all.

Readalikes: Someday this Pain Will Be Useful to You by Peter Cameron (for a similar look at the liminal space between adolescence and adulthood from the viewpoint of a young gay man), or Sprout by Dale Peck (for a another secret boyfriend in a small town). Grade 9 - adult.

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