The Vast Fields of Ordinary

Nick Burd, May 2009. As the story opens, Dade is quasi-dating (it’s really just sex) a jerk named Pablo, who’s known as the Sexican because of his exploits with women, not men.  He’s so far in the closet he lets his jock friends call Dade a fagit (sic; that’s how it’s spelled when it’s spray-painted on his locker) and is not a stranger to gay-bashing himself.  Luckily, our hero soon meets Alex, who at first seems to be straight but soon outs himself as anything but, and we sigh with relief along with Dade when he discovers this delightful fact.

The plot is fairly generic, but the book is much more than that. Pablo isn’t just another fronting straight boy; he’s truly troubled by his desires.  Dade’s best friend Lucy isn’t just another punk rock dyke; she gives advice like a columnist and calls Dade on all his bullshit.  Alex isn’t just the cute boy in town; he’s a pot dealer who knows everyone in town but fumbles around Dade’s parents.  Fessica, a girl with a crush on Dade, is pathetic in her attempts to seduce him, but it’s heartbreaking rather than cartoonish.  Conversations between Dade and his friends snap and crackle and I want to be able to write dialogue like this when I grow up.

Highly recommended for public and high school libraries.  Fairly graphic sex will probably exclude it from middle schools.  Especially good for fans of Someday This Pain Will Be Useful to You and Audrey, Wait!.

This entry was posted in 2009, black, college, gay male, gay-bashing, latina/o, lesbian, mystery, Nick Burd, queer protagonist, realistic, secondary queer character, surprise queer character. Bookmark the permalink.

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