The Vast Fields of Ordinary by Nick Burd

It is Dade Hamilton’s last summer at home. He’s ready to leave everything behind: the small town where he grew up, his parent’s disintegrating marriage, and everyone who reminds him of same, including the boyfriend who can’t be gay but can’t leave Dade alone either. Wouldn’t you know that this is the moment Dade makes some of his first real friends ever, including falling in love?

Burd has written a very readable, realistic coming of age story that anyone who has ever agonized over what to do about a relationship (that one both wants to keep but needs to leave) can relate to. His characters may be recognizable but they are well-developed and readers will enjoy getting to know them (Dade, Lucy, Alex) while aching for others.

Others have commented on the sub-plot with the missing girl. Either I don’t get what Burd was hoping to accomplish with her or he doesn’t succeed with it; but it is a small enough part of the book that it didn’t interfere with my overall enjoyment of the book. I particularly like that the sexual orientation of some of the characters is not the point of the book – it just so happens that some of the characters are not hetero. This book is for high school and up.

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