The Vast Fields of Ordinary

Nick Burd, Author . Dial $16.99 (309p) ISBN 978-0-8037-3340-4

This debut novel is deceptively quiet—the story of a recent high school graduate, Dade, struggling to come out and yearning to get to college and away from his parents' marital troubles and stifling suburban peers. Yet in the same way that Sarah Dessen allows readers to lose themselves in the ordinary, Burd takes a familiar plot—boy struggles with his sexuality, then meets a love interest who changes everything—and makes it fresh. Dade's inner monologues and interactions with others feel real, and bear a poignant honesty (after shopping for college: “It occurred to me that these things made of plastic, glass, and metal would become the foundation for my new life”). With the arrival of Alex, Dade's first real boyfriend and one catalyst behind Dade's coming out, the story moves into sweet, romantic territory, which balances some of the deeper, more painful issues brewing in Dade's life (including his father's affair and his friend/ex-hookup Pablo's inner turmoil). The novel's one flaw is its unsatisfying ending, which feels both melodramatic and abrupt. Aside from this, Burd is an author to watch. Ages 14–up. (May)

Reviewed on: 05/11/2009
Release date: 05/01/2009
Genre: Children's
Open Ebook - 320 pages - 978-1-101-05080-4
Paperback - 309 pages - 978-0-14-241820-8
Open Ebook - 978-1-101-04836-8
Peanut Press/Palm Reader - 978-1-101-04897-9
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