From the Publisher
"A fascinating and dreamy first novel." -New York Times
"Bold. Engaging. Heartbreaking." -Ellen Hopkins, New York Times bestselling author of Crank
"A brilliant account of alienation and angst in the heartland." -Quest Magazine
"Nick Burd reaps a bounty from The Vast Fields of Ordinary." -Vanity Fair
"Burd is a terrific writer+he is a new talent to watch." -Booklist, starred review
…fascinating and dreamy…The Vast Fields of Ordinary reads like the best kind of first novelit's packed with insights that might have been carried around for years, just waiting to come out.
The New York Times
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)Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
The New York Times
A fascinating and dreamy first novel.
A brilliant account of alienation and angst in the heartland.
. . . Burd is a terrific writer with a special gift for creating teenage characters who are vital, plausible, and always Engaging . . . [he] is a new talent to watch., starred review
VOYA - Dotsy Harland
It is Dade Hamilton's last summer in Cedarville, Iowa, before he leaves for college. Dade has always felt on the fringes, oppressed by the fact that he is gay and still in the closet and in drab Cedarville with its endless procession of strip malls and suburbs. He is in a disappointing hidden relationship with Pablo, a member of his high school football team, and his self-esteem is suffering. But when he is swept off his feet by the charming and considerate Alex Kincaid, who also happens to be a marijuana dealer, he finds himself with his first real boyfriend. At the same time, he meets Lucy, who becomes his first true friend and offers him the support he needs as he gets to know Alex and comes out to his parents. As Dade's confidence grows and his interest in Pablo wanes, Pablo becomes increasingly aggressive toward him. Finally Pablo wrecks his truck and is killed as he leaves Dade after an emotional confrontation. Dade is devastated but ready to move forward with his life, even though it means leaving Alex behind. Burd does not waste words, and his streamlined prose and stunning imagery make a remarkable impact. His characters are complex and beautifully drawn. Dade tells his story in first person with a raw honesty that causes the reader to empathize with him from the very beginning. His strength, common sense, and generous spirit will be appreciated by older readers, both gay and straight. Reviewer: Dotsy Harland
Children's Literature - Jennifer Lehmann
Dade has one summer before he can go to college and get out of Cedarville. He is not sure he can make it. His parents' marriage is falling apart, and his own relationship with Pedro the football star is hidden because Pedro wants a "normal" life with his girlfriend, Judy. Dade is lost, until a new relationship and new friendships help him find his way. While Dade's story will appeal most to a specific audience, his search to find a place he belongs echoes the experience of most adolescents, particularly the first summer after high school. The themes are universal, and the natural voice will engage readers beyond those who can identify with Dade's specific struggles. Without shying away from the bleaker aspects of adolescence, a strong sense of hope prevails. The characters are vivid. Their flaws are sometimes more evident than their virtues, but as Dade finds a way to sympathize with each of them, the reader is able to care about all of them and is invested in their personal stories. Reviewer: Jennifer Lehmann
School Library Journal
Gr 9 Up
Dade Hamilton is off to college in August, but until then, he must deal with a boring job in a dull city, his parents' failing marriage, and a rocky relationship with Pablo, a boy who publicly denies his homosexuality and doesn't seem to care for Dade except when they are alone. When Dade meets Alex, however, the summer begins to improve. Alex is handsome and mysterious; most importantly, he adores Dade and isn't afraid to show it. With Alex in the picture, Pablo slowly tries to regain Dade's attention. What results is a series of dramatic interactions and events that force Dade to examine his emotions, his life, and the people in it. Burd addresses the themes of family, unrequited love, bullying, and sexuality in a fresh and believable manner. His use of language is beautiful; his words paint clear pictures of Dade's deep and complex psyche. While his homosexuality is an important element of the story, it isn't the main focus. It's just a part of his character that readers accept without question. The Vast Fields of Ordinary is a refreshingly honest, sometimes funny, and often tender novel.-Sarah K. Allen, Thetford Academy, VT
Trapped in a suburban wasteland the summer before his first year in college, closeted indie loser Dade Hamilton is stuck in the middle of his parents' disintegrating marriage and wastes his time pining after his girlfriend-ed hook-up-buddy Pablo. That is, until he spots dreamy, drug-dealing Alex Kincaid at a party, and the summer explodes into a lusty haze of blazing romance, pot smoke and danger. Burd breathes new life into the old coming-out formula with a blast of 21st-century testosterone-injected anger, heaps of longing and insecurity and even some violence. His carefully drawn characterizations and raw tone make the drama of Dade's life feel urgent and very real. The allure of the illicit, decay and regret are only a few of the irresistibly dangerous themes woven into the mix, and readers will watch in rapt fascination and dread as Alex draws a willing Dade into his dark world. The results of their pairing aren't exactly pretty, but they're honest. One of the best in a new generation of LGBTQ novels, it can stand alongside Peter Cameron's and Brian Sloan's. (Fiction. YA)