Gr 10 Up—Nothing can stand in Amber McCloud's way as she works toward becoming cheer captain; nothing, that is, except for an intriguing new quarterback named Jack Walsh. And when Jack turns out to be short for Jaclyn, things are even more complicated for the queer but closeted Amber, who finds herself attracted to Jack. Jack is struggling to find acceptance with her new teammates, who seem determined to hate her for replacing their previous quarterback. Jack and Amber must work together to unify everyone while facing bigotry and defining their romantic interest in one another. This is a well-written story with solid pacing, believable characters, and relatable issues. Discussion of LGBTQIA+ identity is realistic and appropriately handled, as is how the characters deal with and confront homophobia and misogyny. The evolution of lifelong friendships is sensitively explored, as is the expression of identity in a repressed setting. Lead characters are white, with some secondary characters who are Black and Latinx. There is proliferate use of curse words throughout, including gender- and sexual-based name-calling; while the use of profanity is realistic for the teen experience, the constant usage distracts from the plot. Also present is appropriate representation of and discussion of teen experiences relating to sexuality, including abortion. VERDICT A recommended purchase for all school or public libraries catering to older teens.—Christine Case
A cheerleader-meets-quarterback story, with a twist.
Pretty, peppy, and popular, junior Amber McCloud is poised to be the next cheer captain at her high school in the Florida Panhandle. All she needs to do is keep her sexuality under wraps. Meanwhile, on the football team, talented new player Jack Walsh is ready to take the Atherton Alligators to the next level. Or, she would be, if the team and the town could swallow their sexism and accept Jack (short for Jaclyn) as the QB. Against a nostalgic—yet truthfully brutal—tapestry of archetypal American teendom, the two find their way into each other’s pockets and under one another’s skin. Adler keeps the pages turning with well-mapped tension and compelling characters, using clichés to her advantage as she builds an appealing and heartfelt romance. Sweet as the bones of the story are, it’s the dark flashes of underbelly that keep it moving. As QB, Jack attempts to fill the mythically enlarged shoes of a not-so-nice boy who died while driving drunk. Cara, one of Amber’s best friends, is the daughter of a fire-and-brimstone preacher, and the specter of bigotry is never far from the story’s consciousness. Both Jack and Amber are White, while a deep bench of secondary characters includes Miguel, Amber’s Cuban American gay best friend–cum–fake boyfriend, and the school’s first Black cheer captain, Crystal.
Bubbly but not naïve: a worthy rendition of a classic high school story. (Romance. 13-18)
Praise for Home Field Advantage:
A Summer 2022 Kids’ Indie Next Pick
A Rainbow Book List Pick
One of YALSA's 2023 Best Fiction for Young Adults
One of Buzzfeed's Best Young Adult Books of 2022
Book Riot, " 22 Great New Books To Read in 2022", "Heartwarming Queer YA Books Like Netflix’s Heartstopper", "40 of the Best Summer Reads for 2022", and "3 Heartwarming Queer YA Releases to Read During Pride"
Bookish, "June’s Most-Anticipated Books"
Bookstr, "13 LGBTQIA+ Romance Coming Out This June"
Buzzfeed, "40 More Highly Anticipated YA Books Coming Out In 2022"
Epic Reads, "The 21 Most Anticipated YA Books to Read in June"
Frolic, "Our Top 10 YA Reads for June"
Geek Girl Authority, "17 New LGBTQIA+ Books You Should Read for Pride"
Goodreads, "The 68 Most Anticipated YA Novels of 2022", "The Can't-Hardly-Wait Young Adult Books of June", "Dive Into Summer’s Biggest Young Adult Romance Novels”
GO Magazine, "Slide Into Spring And Summer With These Fabulously Gay Reads"
Nerd Daily, "Must-Have 2022 Queer Book Releases"
NBC News, " 20 best kids and young adult books by LGBTQ+ authors in 2022"
The Honey POP, "Sweet Reads: June Reads for Summer Vacation"
Business Insider, "20 of the most anticipated young adult books coming out this spring"
Autostraddle, "Eight Romance Books Featuring Butches, Studs, and Masc of Center Characters"
United By Pop, "Exciting New YA Reads For June 2022"
"Adler’s magnificent new romance is a glorious touchdown of a book." - Buzzfeed, "44 New LGBTQA+ YA Novels You Need This Spring"
"This YA contemporary romance has not only a sweet sapphic love story but juicy narratives about football and cheerleading." - Autostraddle
"Bubbly cheerleader Amber McCloud falls for star quarterback Jaclyn “Jack” Walsh in Adler’s winning queer take on the classic meet-cute." - Publishers Weekly (starred review)
"A swoonworthy romance about breaking the glass ceiling and being true to yourself, Adler’s Home Field Advantage is a fun, queer twist on the quarterback/cheerleader trope that will suck you in from the very first page." - The Nerd Daily
"Readers hungry for more sapphic love stories will give this fully fleshed sports-centric romance full marks." - Booklist
"Adler keeps the pages turning with well-mapped tension and compelling characters, using clichés to her advantage as she builds an appealing and heartfelt romance...Bubbly but not naïve: a worthy rendition of a classic high school story." - Kirkus Reviews
"Adler’s full-hearted latest shines as bright as stadium lights on a Friday night." - Electric Literature, "The Most Anticipated LGBTQ+ Books for Summer 2022"
“A combination of sizzling chemistry and heartfelt vulnerability makes the star-crossed romance between Amber and Jack irresistible. Home Field Advantage insists that women belong on the fieldas cheerleaders whose athleticism should receive the recognition it deserves and as players granted the same opportunities as their male peers. Teen readers will applaud Amber and Jack's fight to be their authentic selves.” - Shelf Awareness
"Adler's sapphic YA romance is an absolute delight. It's a heartfelt story layered with the thoughtful complexity of embracing your sexual identity and will have you rooting for both of these ambitious teens." - Buzzfeed, "The Best Young Adult Books of 2022"
"I adored Amber and Jack and I loved their perfect high school romance." - The Southern Bookseller Review
"A perfect summer read." - The Buffalo News
"This was such a readable, engrossing book...Dahlia Adler continues to be a queer YA author you just can’t miss." - The Lesbrary
"A bubbly LGBTQ romance that puts a fresh new twist on the age-old relationship trope of the high school football quarterback and the team cheer captain." - Paste Magazine, "The Best New YA Books of June 2022"
"J-A-C-K, I’m Team Jack all the way! Seriously though, Dahlia Adler’s newest book, Home Field Advantage, is going to be an instant favorite. It’s like your favorite pair of well-worn jeans, the biggest bowl of mac-n-cheese, or the snuggliest sweater on a warm night. It’s the book you’re going to read again and again when you desperately need a dose of big queer butterflies in the stomach. It’s pure romantic gold with perfect girl loves girl attraction. Read it. Repeatedly." - Jaye Robin Brown, author of The Key to You and Me
“My expectations were high, and Dahlia still managed to exceed them. She completely captures the struggle of finding out who you are during those chaotic teen years with heart and humor. I was cheering for Amber and Jack for every single page!” - Chelsea Cameron, New York Times bestselling author of The Girl Next Door
"Home Field Advantage has it all. A swoony romance, characters you will be cheering for from start to finish, and a plot that sucks you in from the very first page. An instant favorite, perfectly capturing the power in being true to yourself and fighting for what is right." - Rachael Lippincott, #1 New York Times bestselling coauthor of Five Feet Apart and She Gets the Girl
"Cinematic, swoonworthy, and full of queer solidarity that will have you cheering. Amber and Jack's chemistry leaps off the page. Adler has long been one of the key players in YA LGBTQ, but she has truly outdone herself here." - Kelly Quindlen, bestselling author of She Drives Me Crazy
"Dahlia Adler's Home Field Advantage will break your heart and then bind it back together with turf tape. Both the swooniest of romances and a heartfelt story navigating the things we're passionate about and the people we're passionate about - and how sometimes what seem like hard choices between the two end up not being a choice at all. This book will make you cheer." - Lev Rosen, author of Camp
"Dahlia Adler should be a household name. With a fairy tale ending for girls who like girls, Home Field Advantage is a swoony sapphic version of the teenage romcoms I grew up on. This book is an instant-classic." - Meryl Wilsner, author of Something to Talk About and Mistakes Were Made
"A well-written story with solid pacing, believable characters, and relatable issues." - School Library Journal
Praise for Cool for the Summer:
"A delightful, lighthearted romantic comedy." - The Seattle Times
"Witty, wise, and disarmingly tender. I am hopelessly devoted to this summer dream of a book." - Becky Albertalli, New York Times bestselling author of Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda
"Adler's heartfelt contemporary romance is as bright and sweet as its cover and poignantly explores queer identity and self-discovery." - Buzzfeed
"[S]trung through with humor, warmth, and sensuality, this romance will speak to any reader who has ever struggled to know their own heart." - Booklist (starred review)
"Readers who enjoy romance will be delightfully surprised with this book that will take them a bit deeper on the road of self-discovery through high school crushes." - School Library Journal
"The thoughtful representation of a questioning teen's struggle to understand herself...is sorely needed. A welcome addition to the small but growing canon of questioning queer fiction." - Kirkus
"Written in a clear, accessible style, this book tells the compelling and sweet story of one girl’s journey of self-discovery." - Jewish Book Council
"There are so many more reasons to pick up this YA romance... Cool for the Summer is the perfect addition to your LGBTQ+ YA reading list." - Shondaland