Aaron's Reviews > The Vast Fields of Ordinary

The Vast Fields of Ordinary by Nick Burd
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May 11, 10


Dade Hamilton just finished from high school, and he is getting ready to enjoy his last summer before heading off to college. Little does he know, but it is going to be filled with all sorts of changes.

The first of the changes relates to the fact that he has known that he has been gay for years. The kids at school used to tease him about it, but he said or did little to confirm or deny the fact. What everyone doesn't know is that he was having a relationship with Pablo, one of the most popular guys at school. Pablo, on the other hand, enjoyed the time they spent together, but was really confused about his feelings and really didn't want to take them any further. Pablo's girlfriend really wouldn't appreciate knowing what is going on.

Then, Dade meets Alex Kincaid, who ends up becoming Dade's first real boyfriend. For the first time, Dade seems to understand what it is like to have someone in his life who is comfortable with showing him affection.

Dade is also dealing with the fact that his parents' marriage is crumbling. His father has gotten involved with a woman he met at a poetry class, and his mother is struggling with the fact that her life has not taken the path she had wanted.

In the background, the whole town is dealing with the disappearance of a 9-year-old girl. Everyone fears that she was kidnapped or something even worse, but they find themselves also going on with their daily lives, just wondering. Dade, in particular, can't seem to get the little girl out of his mind.

Through the book, Dade is finding more confidence in himself and in those around him as he starts to come out to the people he cares about. These people include Fessica, the younger sister of the bane of his existence and a girl who crushes on him; the lesbian niece of a neighbor who has moved in for the summer and ends up becoming his new best friend; and a band leader who is Alex's best friend.

This is a first novel for the author, and it received rave reviews in a lot of sources that look at teen literature. I think a big reason is the rich characters and the full inclusion of everyday life in the plot. A lot of novels are so focused on the main characters and the core plot that the periferal aspects of our everyday lives. Burd has really capture that in the lives of his characters.

Dade is an incredibly likable protagonist. You want him to find a place in life in which he can be happy. This is a great read and one that is likely to be looked over by many readers.
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