Saturday, November 5, 2011

The Vast Fields of Ordinary

Burd, Nick.  The Vast Fields of Ordinary.  New York: Dial Books, 2009.  Print.


2009 New York Times Notable Book of 2009
2010 ALA Stonewall Book Award for Children’s and Young Adult Literature
2010 ALA Rainbow Books


Dade is spending his last summer before college doing ordinary things in his small town of Cedarville until he meets Alex, someone who is different from anyone else he knows and who will spark changes in his life that can’t be undone. 


“I practiced saying I was gay to inanimate objects around the house.  I told the soap dish in my bathroom, the ceiling fan above my bed, the blue drinking glass I favored above all the others simply because over the years its entire family had perished one by one during various interactions with hard surfaces around the kitchen and I’d convinced myself our solitude was linked. 
“I’m gay,” I told these things.”

Dade Hamilton has just graduated from high school and can’t wait to get out of Cedarville and go to Fairmont in the fall.  In fact, only a few days ago he was at his senior prom, drawing the initials DH + PS in a heart on the wall of the boy’s bathroom.  PS stands for Pablo Soto, his sometimes boyfriend.  Now Dade is spending his last summer at home, working at FoodWorld and going to parties hosted by Judy Lockhart, also known as Pablo’ girlfriend.  Dade loves Pablo, but Pablo isn’t ready to admit yet that he’s gay.  While trying to figure out how to deal with this, Dade meets Alex at a party and soon their friendship grows into something more. 

From this chance encounter on, Dade’s summer will start to unfold in ways he never expected from his parents’ marital troubles to the disappearance of a local autistic girl.  As Dade struggles to keep up he realizes that it’s not college he’s longing for, but the truth.  Will Dade be able to be honest with others?  Will those around him reveal their own truths?  Will the end of the summer finally bring with it some answers or just more questions?

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