The Vast Fields of Ordinary is a “can’t put it down” book. It tells the story of Dade Hamilton’s last summer before starting college: a time in his life when change is inevitable in every part of his life and everything seems unreal. Dade has been having a rough time. His not-exactly-boyfriend is an abusive football player who won’t acknowledge him in public. His parents are on the brink of divorce, but have decided to pretend everything is fine until Dade leaves for college. Dade himself hasn’t come out (unless you count telling his ceiling fan) but all his “friends” assume that he is gay and ostracize him anyway.
Things start to look up when Lucy gets exiled to her Aunt’s for the summer. She moves in next door and becomes Dade’s first real friend. Then, as he’s leaving a party, he meets a guy who captures his imagination. Choosing to try to learn more about this stranger sets Dade on a path that will change his life.
The Vast Fields of Ordinary is a romance and a book about growing up and leaving home. The characters are wonderful because they are flawed, but still likable, and their voices are authentic. Though some of the subjects dealt with are different, readers who like Sarah Dessen will like this as well.