This book was tremendous The characters are so life like and it really makes clear the angst of being a teenager The story centers around Dade Hamilton who is secretly having sex with Pablo, one of the stars of the high school football team Pablo also has a girlfriend and does not recognize any relationship with Dade other than that of clandestine sex partner, and Dade begins to question whether that is what he really wants Dade is also having problems with his parents, his mother is drifting away to a world of pills and booze, and his father seems to have found a girlfriend he met at a poetry class Dade s saving grace comes in the form of Lucy, a lesbian from California who comes to Iowa to live because her parents think the city is changing her for the worse At a party, Dade meets Alex who drops by to sell pot Alex is handsome and charming, and Dade discovers that he works at the Taco Taco and stops by to say hello This begins a summer of love for Dade, but Pablo is still waiting in the wings Is he willing to let Dade go for good Nick Burd creates memorable characters and places them in a world where there are no easy answers Added to this is a mystery of a young autistic girl who has gone missing from her home Dade is someone you grow to care about deeply over the course of the novel and Burd s talent for writing is evident This would be a wonderful novel to give to older teens who are struggling to find their own identity. First of all I want to say that often my favorite books to read are any fiction books that have queer themes So I was hoping to be pleased no matter what, and I seem to think of myself as a forgiving person when it comes to books in fact before this I couldn t really name any book in recent history I d read besides Twilight that I would consider bad Unfortunately, I quickly began to realize that this book is in fact, awful.Although some of that is to blame from the back cover I know that authors aren t responsible right for the summary on the back of the book, but this one seemed to describe that something was going to happen A tragic event that would change the course of Dade s life So I was waiting to read about this event From the back of the book even mentioning, one would think it was going to be the inciting incident, otherwise why spoil, right And I waited and waited and waited and waited and waited and fucking waited someand nothing tragic happened until about the last chapter, and it certainly didn t seem to change the course of the narrator s life much in any way The worst part was that while I was waiting and waiting for something INTERESTING to actually happen, I kept imagining how it was going to happen, like oh here it comes, this is it, something horrible is going to happen right about now and no, nothing happened The plethora of events that I imagined were possibly going to happen were muchinteresting than what even does happen, which is, may I repeat myself again, pretty much nothing by the time we get there anyway.This book goes absolutely nowhere.Underneath all the nothing that happens to the main character, a continuous mention of a missing girl is brought up There is meant to be some deep symbolism, in context of the main character, the little girl getting lost at the beginning of the summer and magically found with no explanation of what even happened to her at the end, and I can t for the life of me ever figure out why the main character even cared for a second beyond a superficial level about it I certainly didn t care about her, because the narrator didn t make me care The main character narrator Dade I didn t find likeable at all At first I thought I would, but then I realized he had no interests aside from poetry and bands with really cliche names He seems to have no will of his own and lets his friends convince him how to act and what s cool, including participating in the very cult like and disturbing head shaving party which is about the time I decided I wanted to be done with this book however I continued til the end, I m not one to leave a book once I ve gotten most of the way through We read pages and pages of him sitting out by the pool and moping about in his room and going to backyard parties and each event seems to be evenmundane then the other Then when it comes to the boys he s paired up with, the parts of the book that could actually be interesting, the sex is skipped over and barely even mentioned, using about a sentence to describe that anything even happened Worst of all, at the end of the book, the narrator tells us that he is writing a book and it is called the Vast Fields of Ordinary like it s going to be some amazing life story So the book is in fact self aware, and yet it has no idea what a terribly uninteresting, vast field of boring it was.I guess I should have known by the title that nothing was going to happen But still.The writing itself was terribly weak as well Not only were there a few spelling and grammar errors though I suppose that s the editor s fault for not catching them before publication, and dammit, this is the second edition of the book, you d think they d catch the errors by now , but the author writes like a 14 year old writing fanfiction Anytime a character is introduced we are treated to a ridiculous amount of sentences that interrupt the story in order to give us a description of what they looks like For example, when the main character is at a diner and a waitress comes us, he immediately tells us she was wearing sparkly barrettes and blah blah when there is certainly a better way, if you must tell us this detail, to weave it into the story better As they say in film, show, don t tell So at least make a description part of your action, like perhaps he notes the waitress tucks the pen in her hair behind her sparkly barrette or something, instead of giving us very middle school simple sentences to talk about what someone is wearing There were several other instances of that, however it was when I came to the part about this waitress when I realized wow, this writing is awfully weak This book also suffered a bit from the Juno syndrome, where the author was writing how he thought teens talked to one another and it seems painfully forced and dumbed down.I think I ve covered enough what went wrong here Basically weak writing centered around almost zero plot Just descriptions of someone s boring summer I have never read a book packed with that much nothing, except perhaps Twilight, which unfortunately, I read right before this one.There is plenty of good queer fiction out there This is not one of them. It S Dade S Last Summer At Home He Has A Crappy Job At Food World, A Boyfriend Who Won T Publicly Acknowledge His Existence Maybe Because Pablo Also Has A Girlfriend , And Parents On The Verge Of A Divorce College Is Dade S Shining Beacon Of Possibility, A Horizon To Keep Him From Floating Away Then He Meets The Mysterious Alex Kincaid Falling In Real Love Finally Lets Dade Come Out Of The Closet And, Ironically, Ignites A Ruthless Passion In Pablo But Just When True Happiness Has Set In, Tragedy Shatters The Dreamy Curtain Of Summer, And Dade Will Use Every Ounce Of Strength He S Gained To Break From His Past And Start Fresh With The Future This was probably the worst LGBT book I have ever read Here s why 1 The drugs.I have no huge problem with topics like drugs and alcohol in YA But when you practically promote it and make it out like the norm, etc Oh, and I smoked another joint, The main character in the novel, Dade, is constantly smoking marijuana His parents seem okay with it, and his mother even says I m okay with it every once in a while, What What His boyfriend, Alex, is a freakin drug dealer for chrissakes It s like there is nothing wrong with it, and people treat it like it s a hobby What the heck Is this what we re trying to say to teens Gay or straight, smoking pot is always the answer 2 Pablo Aka The Sexican Pablo is a screwed up dude He uses Dade constantly, calling him over to his house whenever he wishes to have sexual relations with him However, whenever Dade tries to actually make a relationship out of it, or even kiss Pablo, Pablo goes batshit insane Oh, and did I mention Pablo has a girlfriend Eventually, Pablo turns out to be so screwed up that he just drives off a cliff or something Yeppers, cuz if you re bi it s the only answer to your problems.Seriously.But going backwards in time, he often begs for Dade to come back to him so he can use him again Dade, having grown a little bit of a brain by this point refuses, but it s not much better since he s dating a loser drug dealer anyhow and it s good he got away from that kind of destructive relationship But maybe the author could have Pablo getting over himself and sorting himself out, instead of, well Yeah That.3 Alex The Loser Drug Dealer Who Works At Taco Taco But Still Is A Supposed Awesome Dream boyHe deals drugs but that makes him even hotter Yes, that s right Alex deals drugs But that s okay, because it only means that he can get him and his lover drugs for FREE So fricken sexy.He is a useless and stupid loser I m serious He is made out to be the answer to all of Dade s problems, his savior, his wonder, and Dade won t shut up about him I as the reader see nothing special about Alex.His profession , drug dealing, is not seen as a bad or dangerous thing Dade never thinks Oh shit maybe I shouldn t be kickin it with this drug dealer and user Instead he thinks Oh God Alex looks so hot when he s smoking a joint Alex s friends who are always stoned are seen as cute and funny, instead of warnings of how you do NOT want to be when you get older They re like comedic reliefs, instead of horrifying visions of the future and what drugs can do.4 Fessica It s Alright To Treat The Girl That Likes You Like Crap Because Dade is a self obsessed jackass confused and hurt soul, he acts rude towards Fessica a girl in his town that has a huge crush on him but who is insecure because she is overshadowed by her sister OMG ORIGINAL AMIRITE multiple times However, although he says some pretty messed up things to her yet still refers to her as his friend he never apologizes, for fear that it would get awkward.At a party he goes to at Fessica s house, she gets wasted He helps her get up to her room, and she tries to come on to him He freaks out and runs out of the room Later, when she approaches him about this the next day and confides in him, telling him that she has always felt useless compared to her sister and confessing her love for him yes, all in the same breath , he freaks out again She brings up what happened in her room but he tells her that she was practically trying to rape him and that he is totally not into her Honestly, he s pretty jerky about it He could have just told her that he wasn t interested in her like that and that he was gay But noooo, he has to get all mean with her She starts crying, and he feels bad for it but still doesn t apologize.Fast forward to the next day, he approaches her because she spread a rumor about him Only, she didn t She only jokingly told Jessica the rumor , who blew it out of proportion He doesn t apologize again, but instead asks her to relay information about Alex the dealer at the party he fell in love with Not at one point does he treat Fessica with respect, even though she s pretty friendly to him except when she calls him faggot , but at that time he really sort of deserved it for being such a jerk unless you count near the end when he invites her to his stupid trainwreck party out of pity.Never at once does he apologize or try and evaluate in his mind whether or not he did the right thing In all honesty, it s pretty awful.5 Goal What Goal Dade has no goal in life He s not that concerned about college He barely knows what he wants to do with his life The entire book his only concern is getting a boyfriend even after he already has one, he won t shut up I understand the need to be loved, but let s get real Alex was hardly the best person to get this from.Nick tries to feed us that he stopped depending on other for happiness, but that was a bald faced lie Dade s happiness depended on Alex all the way through the book I was never sure what he wanted, or if he got it or not.What was this book supposed to be about, anyways image error I think this book gets a bad rap for a variety of reasons, the chief reason being that it isn t afraid to deal with drugs and not paint them in a negative light Of course when I refer to drugs, I m referring to marijuana and alcohol, you know, the two things that most teenagers manage to get their fingers into at one point or another, and most of us, honestly, grow up just fine It s no surprise that the most popular negative reviews on this site harp on the fact that there are drugs and that the primary love interest of the main character is a drug dealer I m not going to comment on this fact much, I ll just give a simple statement yes, this book involves drugs No, they re not portrayed in a negative light at all Yes, I m fine with this You know why I ve smoked pot I ve drank Neither of those things define me, and those things don t define the characters of this book either People need to get over their hangups It s ironic to me that these people who complain about this drug fueled barely lifestyle are reading an LBGTQ book that also promotes an alternative lifestyle I understand there is a big difference between being gay and choosing to get trashed I m gay, after all but this sort of close mined hypocrisy is just too much for me to handle Onward to the review Dade Hamilton is just your run of the mill boy, who just so happens to be gay, who is spending his last summer at home before he leaves for college A lot of reviews tear him apart for being weak, or that all of his problems come from him being gay, but nowhere in the book did I find this to be remotely the case Sure, there were problems that sprung up in his life due to his lifestyle, but they re very real problems I went through them Dade is a realistic character, a gay boy who is neither effeminate or manly, he s just himself.He s sleeping with a sort of boyfriend who is in the closet and has a girlfriend Dade is his ass on the side His name is Pablo, and he was a wonderful character He s gay, as a reader you never really get the impression that he s bisexual, he s gay He s in the closet And as Dade tells him somewhere near the beginning of the novel, he s a coward I felt for him, and I mean really felt for him His situation is not an unusual one torn between two paths, the social norm, and his real self Everyone knows the guy that everyone knows is gay, but somehow has a girlfriend and refuses to be himself Pablo is that character.The book doesn t really follow a set path There are a number of plotlines that all reach some sort of resolution towards the end of the novel not all of them happy, not all of them sad, just like life I thought the book was very fulfilling, it didn t sugarcoat anything that wasn t necessary, and unlike some other readers, I didn t mind that there were characters who acted outside of social norms I m not going to pretend that these people don t exist, I m not going to pretend that all of their lives end in police shoot outs and tragedy, and I m certainly not going to give a book a horrible review just because they portrayed characters smoking weed, like others I like to pride myself on being realistic and not having ridiculous expectations.So yes, I really liked the book It was well written and extremely interesting It s funny to me that someone in a review compared this to Twilight, and it just really shows the arrogance of our generation when someone has to compare every book they read to Twilight, when they probably don t even really know what makes Twilight bad and just parrot things they ve heard off of message boards This is the farthest thing from Twilight you can get This is realistic, and the prose is wonderful, not purple like S Meyers you re lying to yourself if you re comparing anything about them. Welcome to Dade Hamilton s last summer before heading off to college A summer of coming out, falling in love, and finding himself But also a time of confusion, loneliness, tension, and longing Dade has a lot going on in his ordinary world His parents are on the verge of divorce, his boyfriend won t acknowledge their relationship, and a local girl goes missing capturing everyone s attention Things are not as ordinary as they appear.This is an I m never going to be able to explain what this story did to me type of read, so I m just going to jump in head first I can t really say I liked these characters through and through At times, they made me smile, laugh, and melt from one car ride, party, and phone call to the next But other times, their selfishness and tendency to wrap themselves up in their own world of sadness disappointed and frustrated me like you wouldn t believe In other words, all of these characters felt real So real to me Every character Dade, Pablo, Alex, Dade s parents, andwere so lost and lonely In their own bubbles of pain, confusion, or regret My emotions were all over the map with this one Sympathy to disappointment Pride to frustration Happy to heartbroken Powerful, complex, layered characters that tore me to bits from one moment to the next Why doesn t he talk to him How the hell did he just make me feel bad for him after everything So many emotions I did like Alex though I can say that actually Haha But I ll get back to him later We waited Around us the night moved Wind rustled the corn, and the chirps of crickets pinballed around us, first here, then there, then over there What I really want to gush about is the writing I loved the energy, flow, and use of the words and silence on the page Nick Burd s descriptions found a way under my skin In just a few words, he could make me see and feel the moment, emotion, and energy in the room so clearly Simple language that somehow brought magic to the ordinary Mr Burd could pull me right in there with them I felt the heat, water, or night on my skin Felt the confusion and need A unique voice and vibe that hit me with force A quiet power that snuck up on me His smile sparked something in his eyes that made me feel like I was the only person in the room, maybe the only person in the whole wide world Alex Kincaid An adorable, witty, charming swirl of sadness and sexy He was the awww in the book Every summer needs a romance and Alex Kincaid was perfect Dreamy and lost in his own way I adored Dade and Alex s chemistry and what they pulled out of each other As the summer moved along, Dade cameandinto himself with confidence and acceptance Two hearts that found and needed each other for the summer Oh, and Alex s walk across the lawn with his dress shirt, tie, flowers in hand, muttering a pep talk to himself was one of the most realistic, terrifying and sweet moments in fiction Now.the ending Was I supposed to feel hope at the end Maybe in a way I did Small wave of hope But really the ending gave me the shivers It will haunt me I wish I could explain why, but sometimes that haunting feeling in my belly can t be put into words I just feel it.Dade s coming of age journey was something special to watch, feel, and be a part of So that review was a mess Haha Sorry There is a lot going on here But in the end I am so happy Dade is no longer talking to his ceiling fan about how he feels My heart hopes he will find his happiness in life I know, I know I m talking like these characters are real people That shows how deep this book went with me I feel haunted I took a big part of this world filled with flat open land, cornfields to wander, and flashes of life s ordinary or extraordinary ways with me But in many ways, this book took a big part of me A highly recommended read One that will stick with you I can t wait to experiencefrom Nick Burd Warning Rambling Spoiler Ahead This spoiler is really for me Later when the emotions have stopped messing with my head maybe it will make sense to me view spoiler My biggest surprise and disappointment came here.In Cherry s, the gay bar in town, when Dade called Pablo a coward I know Pablo deserved Dade s anger after years of hurt, pain, and shame The way Pablo treated Dade was ugly, brutal, heart shattering, and unforgivable I cheered when Dade finally stood up for himself But right then, at that moment in time when Pablo was trying Hell he was an 18 year old kid lost and confused about his sexuality trying to reach out and understand Walking into the only gay bar in his home town so nervous and lost Maybe hoping to make sense or find something he needed to help him To then have his Ex call him a coward devastated my heart For me, Pablo was at that very moment anyway pretty fucking far from a coward Pablo was an extremely powerful character that pulled all sorts of emotions out of me Lost, sad, and scary I just wanted to shake both of them beg even please talk to each other Help each other But life does not work like that Usually and Unfortunately After years of hurt, Pablo and Dade ended up hurting each other evenwhenever they tried to talk Broke my heart Ugh.I know that was a mess I just needed to get some of that out It shocked and surprised me when that jab of pain for Pablo hit me Very powerful, real characters that will haunt my soul Hope I do hope God, I hope and wish Pablo, Dade, and Alex have people to reach out to for help and understanding We all need someone to reach out to hide spoiler 2.5 stars rounded up.So The Vast Fields of Ordinary Indeed Because there wasn t anything really extraordinary about this book.Someone should probably rewrite the blurb I kept expectingtragedy to shutter the dreamy curtain of summer,but unless you count the last chapter that textbook example of telling instead of showing tragedy was resoundingly absent from this book.I didn t like Dade He was a boring, unexceptional, detached, and at times even mean rich kid with rich kids problems Okay, Pablo wasn t very nice to him in the first 1 3 of the book, I ll give him that, but look what happened to bad Pablo who refused to come out of the closet for Dade s sake Hm He d just finished school and he was about to go to college and, practically, all he did was doze the summer away sprawled out on a chaise by the pool of his house pretending he cared about his parents impending divorce In those pool scenes he kind of reminded me of Dustin Hoffman in The Graduate.Also, Dade should be dubbed the Gladstone Gander of Midwestern suburbia The moment he needed a BFF, Lucy who also happened to be a lesbian, how convenient magically moved to his neighbourhood The moment he needed a real boyfriend, Alex Kincaid appeared as if out of thin air Bonus features he was cool, he was sexy, and he was gay he was also a drug dealer and a loser, but who cared about that The moment he needed time and space to explore his newly minted relationship with Alex, his parents decided to go to Europe for two weeks to try and save their marriage I know, right Gladstone Dade.Then you had that little missing girl Who I suppose symbolised Dade s life Yep I won t go there It wasn t very well done.Still, I won t say this book was an entire waste of time Although the story had a clich air about it, there were parts where the writing was decent and had me wondering about the author s other work he hasn t written anything else, unfortunately I d say, if you approach this without any great expectations, you might even like it. 3.5 starsI have a hard time rating this one because nothing really happens besides some mild angst on Dade s part and a brief scene at the end of the book I also hated the ending but after I got into the story, I didn t really want to stop reading it I loved the characters Well most of them Dade is funny in a sarcastic, somewhat mellow, what do I do now type of way and I liked that Lucy, Dade s lesbian friend, brought Dade out of his shell and made him into a funny, likable person Alex was my favorite, though He s the typical bad boy, I guess you could call him He finished high school but never went to college, he works at a crappy restaurant and he sells weed to stuck up preppy kids But, he likes Dade and helps Dade come to terms with being gay and is ultimately Dade s first love and Alex loves him right back It s kinda sweet I think my main problem with this book is the ending I m a lover of HEA s and this doesn t have an HEA or HFN At least not one romantically linked In fact, the main couple don t end up together at all After that scene I mentioned earlier, Dade breaks it off with Alex and then leaves Cedarville for college and doesn t see Alex again after that There s not even any indication Dade will ever return to Cedarville or to Alex There were some parts of the book which were just there that didn t add to the story at all and just made me do a WTF moment thinking of what the point of putting it in the book was Other than that, the book was good Nothing really happens but it still holds your attention I heard there was going to be a sequel one day and I honestly hope the sequel is about Alex and Dade reconnecting after Dade is out of college, or even during college, because if it s about Dade and someone else I m not sure if I ll read it because I really liked Alex and I think they should end up together LolOverall, this was a well written, good YA novel Recommended. I could not finish this book I could not take anyof Dade and his random crush for the handsome guy who sells weed Dade had a bad breakup with his not boyfriend, so when he sees Alex, it s lust and love at first sight He s obsessed with him, and when Alex doesn t call him although he said he would , he whines and whines and whines Hello, you could have reached him yourself if you wanted to talk to him so bad, dear I understand that Dade was lonely and really, really needed a boyfriend because teenagers can t function without love interests, right but to me it felt like he chose the first guy he saw after his bad breakup with Jackass Pablo who wanted him only for his body.It was hard to feel bad for him, because he felt bad for himself enough for the two of us He thinks his life is awful Indeed, his parents are divorcing, he s not popular and the guy he thinks about nonstop might not like him back or be gay Hello, your parents still love you so much, you alienated someone who needed your support and kindness and how could you even not be a little cautious of and turned off by the fact that your love interest is a dropout and sells weed to high school students The truth is Alex is actually nice and a good enough companion for Dade since the latter s standards are not very high, the guy has to be cute and gay but it seemed to me like his existence and connection to Dade were forced Personally, I thought Dade going to Alex s workplace to talk to him as though they knew each other was too much, especially since they barely shared two words at the party Hey do you need weed No Okay, bye Then they go to Alex s car and drive to his dealer s house Are you kidding me Are you I read half of the story, since the writing was engaging, but eventually skipped to the ending, which was awful It made me feel as though I read half of the story for nothing It s very disappointing.Blog Youtube Twitter Instagram Google Bloglovin The Vast Fields of Ordinary is about Dade Hamilton, a gay in the closet teenager who is living his senior summer in the worst way possible He has a horrible job at a grocery store, a boyfriend who won t even acknowledge his presence in public, and his parents are at each other s necks in arguments and conflicts Dade is barely getting by with alcohol and drugs, until he meets Alex, a dreamy and somewhat thrifty young man who might just change Dade s life forever.I loved this book Every word of it I finished it in barely a day and a half Wow the only complaint I have is that the cover kind of made me not want to read the book, but the phrase Don t judge a book by its cover rings true for this delightful novel Dade was such an awesome character He was believeable in every action he took and emotion he spoke He never came off as whiny or irritable or annoying, and his development throughout the novel was truly breathtaking The other characters were also well drawn and likeable I loved Lucy and Alex, I even liked Fessica The plot line never got boring for me, even though the part with the missing girl was kinda creepy However, this was a totally awesome book and I would recommend it to everyone I knew.