The Vast Fields of Ordinary

The Vast Fields of Ordinary

4.7 153
by Nick Burd

View All Available Formats & Editions

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

…  See more details below


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 his future and learn how to move forward from his past.

Editorial Reviews

Ned Vizzini
…fascinating and dreamy…The Vast Fields of Ordinary reads like the best kind of first novel—it's packed with insights that might have been carried around for years, just waiting to come out.
—The New York Times
Publishers Weekly

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.
Quest magazine
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

Kirkus Reviews
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)
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

Read More

Product Details

Penguin Young Readers Group
Publication date:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
6.32(w) x 9.28(h) x 1.13(d)
HL730L (what's this?)
Age Range:
14 - 17 Years

What People are saying about this

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

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network


Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >

The Vast Fields of Ordinary 4.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 153 reviews.
HexiJosh More than 1 year ago
I absolutely loved this book from beginning to end and just couldn't put it down. I have to open with that because it's all I can really think about. The Vast Fields of Ordinary is a fantastic coming-of-age story told from the point of view of a gay boy fresh out of high school, facing life during the summer before he starts college. Reading this, I saw so much of myself in Dade Hamilton and could identify with the character on so many levels and I think many other readers will agree. You're instantly transported back to that time in your life where nothing makes sense and the road ahead of you is just one massive blur of people and events that ultimately shape your character and allow you to carve your own path in life. This book perfect for both the young who are approaching this amazing time in their lives and those of us who have already grown past it and think back on that time, remembering how surreal it all felt. The story is raw, uncompromising and honest, never saccharine or pandering. It captures youth in a bottle for a new generation. This book deserves a place right alongside The Catcher in the Rye and The Perks of Being a Wallflower on everyones' shelves. If you haven't read it, grab a copy now!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This novel has truly taken the spot as my all-time favorite novel hands down. I read this novel in the span of a day and a half, & I could not put it down, and when I had to I rushed to pick it back up again. I was so drawn into this novel. The characters are so realistic, the plot (simply put) is truly well done. I truly don't know how else to explain this amazing novel, its lefted me speechless!!! Reminds me of the novel Perks of Being A Wallflower, but soo much better. If you havent read this or have doubts, get yourself a copy! You wont regret it!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I loved this book it was a book that just kept pulling you in.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I bought this book out of impalse but I was not let down, that's for sure. This was an over all amazing book that I am sure I will continue to read over and over. It dealt with all the complexities of life and all that comes with it. The author had a unique way of drawing you in without being overly bouyant on the physical attributes of people. He really made you focus on the personalities at hand and made you get to know all the characters for who they were not what they were. I would have to say the only thing that I wish was different was the ending. It did seem a bit rushed but yet again that's what life is like. I strongly recommend this, it offers many answers that some don't even know they're asking.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Such a great book. Very enjoyable read. Kept me glued to the pages.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I admired the strength and desire to stay true to his own person. Reminds me of my struggles growing up. Wonderful story and great character development
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book holds the number one spot for the best book I've ever read in my life! :D This book is absolutely beautiful and I loved every bit of it. I am definitely going to enjoy rereading this book over and over again. I LOVE THIS BOOK WITH AN INTENSE BURNING PASSION. And I absolutely fell in love with Dade and Alex. ^.^ They're such beautiful charcters and they are adorable together. ;)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Burd does a good job playing with the idea that life and all the people and events it encompasses, including ourselves, are all a sort of mystery box with unlimited potential, for better or worse. There are some great moments in this book that make you stop and wonder about the vast fields of potential in your own ordinary life. My only real complaint is that Burd too often abandons these moments in favor of what often becomes a too-witty-by-half dialogue. Still, it's a nice quick read with interesting and unconventional characters that manages to pose some interesting questions without being dense.
thucygaydes More than 1 year ago
When I read this book about a year ago, I fell in love with the coming-of-age story and the lovely characters. It truly is a wonderful story and one that I enjoy rereading.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is a very good book!!!
alfiebartolome More than 1 year ago
i love the fact that the author did not just dwell on sexual stuff but real emotions a gay teen experiences in reality! two thumbs up!
Kendra Jones More than 1 year ago
Funny, charming, whitty, heatbreaking, and absolutely beautiful. Its a must read.
neekie baniagrr More than 1 year ago
A must read!
Jessica Anderson More than 1 year ago
I absolutely loved the characters in this book! The writing style made everything flow so well that it was hard to put the book down. I hope to see more books from this author in the future!
Tre_bo More than 1 year ago
It took me to places ive never been. It made me laugh, cry, and hope for the best in the end. You wont be disappointed with this one.
MingBean More than 1 year ago
The book was realistic. It was all truths to what we do as young adults. It embodied our faults and success. Real relationships, real friendships and things that we all deal with at some point in our lie.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I couldn't put it down
Anonymous 8 months ago
Pelt color:brown Name:Ravencatcher this were the bio's go?
AmandaShenk More than 1 year ago
When I first picked up this book—I am embarrassed to say—I did not think it would be that good. I expected it to be a mediocre, coming-of-age tale with shallow characters, dramatic storylines, and an annoying main-character with painful ideas that made me want to hit my head with it. But in fact, this book was the exact opposite. This book had a main-character with deep thoughts and, even though it still had dramatic storylines, they made sense. This book was extremely relatable and held a lot of meaning. This book is honest and raw and is as awkward and meaningful. As you read this book, you’re instantly transported to another place and time, where these characters live. You're hanging on each sentence to see how the characters respond. This book also teaches about life after school and shows that school drama is not as important as it seems. Overall I think this if one of my favorite books and I recommend this book to anyone interested in reading. I greatly suggest that you go an pick one up now.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I read this book while in high school and coming to terms with my own sexuality. Honestly, this book is inspiring and enchanting. Reading this book made me see a lot of myself in the main character and his storyline. Without a doubt, definitely a great must read. I highly recommend this book! 
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
One of the few "coming of age" stories that didn't make me cringe or want to bash my head against a wall. Excellent read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I honestly could not stop reading this book from the first page. This is my go-to book when I'm asked for book suggestions, as well as my book of choice when I want to reread something great.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago