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The Vast Fields of Ordinary

3.93  ·  Rating details ·  10,519 ratings  ·  636 reviews
It's Dade's last summer at home, and things are pretty hopeless. He has a crappy job, a "boyfriend" who treats him like dirt, and his parents' marriage is falling apart. So when he meets and falls in love with the mysterious Alex Kincaid, Dade feels like he's finally experiencing true happiness. But when a tragedy shatters the final days of summer, he realizes he must face ...more
Paperback, 309 pages
Published March 17th 2011 by Speak (first published May 1st 2009)
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Average rating 3.93  · 
Rating details
 ·  10,519 ratings  ·  636 reviews

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May 11, 2011 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Fans of Twilight
Reading this book was painful.

Our main character, Dade Hamilton, is an idiot. I wanted to pimp slap him every other page. Dade makes Bella Swan look like Mother Teresa.

Just as a side-note, Dade is gay, but that's pretty much irrelevant to the plot. Dade wants you to think that his problems stem from being gay, but actually, he's just an asshole. There are kids who get tormented every single day because of their sexuality. Then we have whiners, like Dade, who are the Jesse Jacksons of the gay r
"The Vast Fields of Ordinary" is about Dade Hamilton, a gay in the closet teenager who is living his senior summer in the worst way possible. He has a horrible job at a grocery store, a "boyfriend" who won't even acknowledge his presence in public, and his parents are at each other's necks in arguments and conflicts. Dade is barely getting by with alcohol and drugs, until he meets Alex, a dreamy and somewhat thrifty young man who might just change Dade's life forever.

I loved this book. Every wor
John Egbert
Apr 06, 2011 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Drug dealers trying to convert teens, people who think smoking pot is cool, idiots
Recommended to John by: I can blame nobody for this but myself.
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Aug 25, 2011 rated it it was ok
First of all I want to say that often my favorite books to read are any fiction books that have queer themes. So I was hoping to be pleased no matter what, and I seem to think of myself as a forgiving person when it comes to books (in fact before this I couldn't really name any book in recent history I'd read besides Twilight that I would consider 'bad') Unfortunately, I quickly began to realize that this book is in fact, awful.

Although some of that is to blame from the back cover. I know that a
Nick Bicknell
Feb 28, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I think this book gets a bad rap for a variety of reasons, the chief reason being that it isn't afraid to deal with drugs and not paint them in a negative light. Of course when I refer to drugs, I'm referring to marijuana and alcohol, you know, the two things that most teenagers manage to get their fingers into at one point or another, and most of us, honestly, grow up just fine. It's no surprise that the most popular negative reviews on this site harp on the fact that there are drugs and that t ...more
Jun 02, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

Welcome to Dade Hamilton’s last summer before heading off to college. A summer of coming out, falling in love, and finding himself. But also a time of confusion, loneliness, tension, and longing. Dade has a lot going on in his ordinary world. His parents are on the verge of divorce, his “boyfriend” won’t acknowledge their relationship, and a local girl goes missing capturing everyone’s attention. Things are not as ordinary as they appear.

This is an “I’m never going to be able to explain what thi
2.5 stars rounded up.

So. The Vast Fields of Ordinary. Indeed. Because there wasn't anything really extraordinary about this book.

Someone should probably rewrite the blurb. I kept expecting "tragedy to shutter the dreamy curtain of summer," but unless you count the last chapter—that textbook example of telling instead of showing—tragedy was resoundingly absent from this book.

I didn't like Dade. He was a boring, unexceptional, detached, and at times even mean rich kid with rich kids' problems. (Ok
Apr 24, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ya, glbt, _audio, _fiction
I became hooked on this book quickly. I liked the 'real' lives of all the characters. All of the characters had enough complexities described to understand the real turmoil that is in all of their lives and minds. It is not overdone. Surely we 'know' these characters around us, or in us.

Dade is graduating from a midwest high school and tells us the story of his senior year and summer. Its a boring town, and Dade has a complex relationship with Pablo, because Pablo has a serious girl friend. Dade
3.5 stars

I have a hard time rating this one because nothing really happens besides some mild angst on Dade's part and a brief scene at the end of the book. I also hated the ending but after I got into the story, I didn't really want to stop reading it.

I loved the characters. Well most of them. Dade is funny in a sarcastic, somewhat mellow, what-do-I-do-now type of way and I liked that. Lucy, Dade's lesbian friend, brought Dade out of his shell and made him into a funny, likable person. Alex was
Doug Beatty
Jul 28, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: teen
This book was tremendous. The characters are so life like and it really makes clear the angst of being a teenager. The story centers around Dade Hamilton who is secretly having sex with Pablo, one of the stars of the high school football team. Pablo also has a girlfriend and does not recognize any relationship with Dade other than that of clandestine sex partner, and Dade begins to question whether that is what he really wants. Dade is also having problems with his parents, his mother is driftin ...more
Jul 06, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Vast Fields of Ordinary stands out in the dense genre of young adult fiction. Although it’s emotional and filled with angst, it’s also edgy and daring. It puts teenage behavior on display with all the rebellion, antisocial yearning mixed with tentative forays into drug and alcohol use. This is not a book parents will give to their kids to learn from but there is so much captured within these beautifully written pages that readers can’t help but identify and learn from the characters. I can easil ...more
Ellen Hopkins
Aug 30, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An important book, especially for young gay men.
charlotte, (½ of readsrainbow)

Rep: gay mc, gay li, lesbian side character, Black & Latino side characters

CWs: homophobic language, biphobia, mentioned past relationship btwn 18 y/o and 30+ y/o, physical abuse, sexual harassment, suicide of a side character

some Thoughts

• the slurs are tiring, like every other word that comes out of these characters' mouths is the f slur and i hate it thanks

• the biphobia involved in this like, pablo could be bi did you ever think that, or is it just gay/straight and nothing else

• 18 and
Mar 25, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I read this book a year ago, and it's narrator quickly became one of those characters who stuck with me as I moved on to other books. (spoilers) He is a young man dealing with his parents dysfunctional relationship, his own burgeoning sexuality, and the rejection from the young man he loves. This book beautifully depicts what being a gay teen can be like. Life for many teenagers is not sanitary or politically correct. If you think being a drug dealer or excessive smoking and drinking aren't real ...more
Ralph Gallagher
Nov 08, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Ralph Gallagher by: Thomas
This novel is about Dade Hamilton's last summer at home. He goes to parties, goes to work and meets a few friends. The boy he's fooling around with pretty much dumps him and he meets a new boy named Alex who he falls in love with.

Okay, I liked this book overall but there were a lot of things I didn't like about it. I think there were too many side plots going on and none of them were really developed at all. The whole thing with Jenny Moore was weird, and didn't really have anything to do with t
3.5 stars

I don't have many experiences with GLBT Young Adult, in fact this might only be my 4th books in this genre. I'm glad that I don't find too many angst or that "search of sexual preference". This is like reading one or two other young adult fiction titles, of living in a suburb, with a gay teenager as lead character.

Dade Hamilton already know that he is gay. He never has that urge to try with girls. I'm sort of glad that it doesn't focus on his high school years -- I've read some other s
Jan 07, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
So good. Such a disappointing ending. I can see how thematically the ending works, but...ugh, it hurts like a broken heart.
Aug 05, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A good read. When I started it, I prepared myself for a long and bitter tale of closeted suburban hell. Dade's parents are splitting up, his hot closeted boyfriend is a selfish asshole, and he has no real friends in school. Thankfully things go up from here. The summer after he graduates he meets up with Lucy, a spitfire lesbian who becomes his bff. She's awesome and gives him the emotional support he's been starving for. Dade also meets Alex, an adorable drug dealer who's crazy sweet and is pre ...more
Jul 22, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
Dade is an entirely realistic character. There are times you want to hug him and there are times you want to slap him.

Dade has just graduated high school and is coming into his own in a small, stuffy town where every house looks the same. He is torn between his love of the fields and the country and the freedom it provides, and the structure of his life now in a suburb where you eat dinner at the country club and keep all your dark secrets hidden away. His parents are in a loveless marriage and
Nyrae Dawn
Apr 20, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Omg.... OMG, did I love this book. So incredible. I finished it last night and spent half the night awake thinking about it. So, so good. The voice is incredible and very authentic. This book goes on my keeper shelf, for sure.
Beagle Lover (Avid Reader)
A very worthy 3.75 stars.

Review to follow...
This is another Y/A novel that sets the standard of a boring and trite approach to the genre and one that follows the same trope of gay youth need to suffer to evolve.

The book begins with Dade, a 17 year old closeted guy scrawling a middle school-esque Name + obsession on the inside of a bathroom stall, during, all things prom. This sets the stage and the obvious atmosphere for the novel. Here we go again, I thought; another sad guy whom of course is going to get all self-injurious on his emoti
Jan 21, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book was about a boy who had problems with his family. His mom and dad weren't doing so good and on the verge of getting a divorce. To top it off, his "boyfriend" wasn't acting like one. his boyfriend was still in the closet and wasnt planning on coming out anytime soon because he had one of the hottest girls in school. At least this is his last summer before college, but what will this summer bring? It brings crazy evenings and parties and a boring job at a super market. As well as meetin ...more
Brian Herrera
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mar 30, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Dade Hamiltion is the main character's name. This is his last summer before college and all he wants to do is get out of his crappy town, Iowa. There is one thing that Dade has going against him no matter where he seems to be and that's the fact that he's gay. Yes, Dade Hamiltion is gay. He tells his ceiling fan "I'm gay" everyday in hopes of eventually coming out to his parents. His mom is a pill popping mother who cares for Dade. Dades father is in another world of his own, trying to reach out ...more
May 07, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: lgbt, young-adult
A simple, quick read. It had its tender moments, but also had its incredibly bizarre moments.

I wasn't particularly thrilled by sentences such as 'we were kissing again, slow and deliberate like ice melting on a countertop.' No, thank you.
Roger Market
Jan 06, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Having just read a bad–mediocre gay novella that was more porn than anything else, I read this book in two days—between work and sleep and my second anniversary celebration with the most wonderful man in the world—and it completely wrecked me. For one thing, I couldn't stop reading. That hasn't happened to me for a long time, for a book I've never read. I literally did not want to stop reading it, not even to go to bed.

The story is engrossing from the start, and while it is not perfect (because
Chris Hernandez
A heart breaking but beautifully written book from Nick Burd. The story was Dade being a closeted gay and him being a secret "fuck buddy" of one his jock friends. Then he met Alex, who made him feel special and loved.

The author was very believable and credible with how he delivered story of closeted gay until his coming out. The way he wrote the characters was amazing and will leave their marks to the reader. But the story, did not only focus on the story about being a closeted gay and his comi
Yinglin Chen
Feb 26, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: freshman-year
The Vast Fields of Ordinary is an appropriate title for this Being 18, and going off to college in another state in a few months, things are pretty hectic in the life of Dade. Dade's life in general is pretty complicated, and definitely not like a teenager at all.

He's different, and not like the other teenagers that live around him. Life is complicated for Dade, but he doesn't have a choice but to live through all this trouble. Being bullied for his sexuality, is heartbreaking and really rude.
Jan 28, 2015 rated it it was ok
Shelves: lgbtq, young-adult, meh
Actual rating: 2.5 stars
The Vast Fields of Ordinary isn't really a terrible book. I just feel so emotionless after reading it. I just don't care.

It was easy enough to get through. At first it was kinda boring but things picked up once Dade met his friend Lucy. Something about the writing was nice and Dade was a fairly likable character. He kinda acts dumb at times but whatever.

Also, what was the tragedy mentioned on the back cover? Some random kid that he didn't even know disappeared? Kind of
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Mrs. Gallagher's ...: Book Review 1 11 Nov 14, 2012 03:10PM  

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Nick Burd attended the University of Iowa and received his MFA from The New School. He used to live in Brooklyn, New York; presently he lives in Los Angeles. The Vast Fields of Ordinary is his first novel.

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