Welcome Nick Burd, a new voice in YA literature with his debut novel, THE VAST FIELDS OF ORDINARY (Dial, 2009). Quiet and raucous at turns, this is the story of a young man's summer between high school and college. It is s summer that sees the final disintegration of his parents' marriage, a summer in which Dade falls in love, a summer where he acknowledges who and what he is. And more. At the beginning of the summer, Dade has a terrible job at Food World, a horrific relationship with Pablo, and an immediate connection to a neighbor's visiting niece. The humor is sly sometimes and sometimes puerile which is sort of indicative of Dade's character: Dade is on the cusp and swings from philosophical in one moment to dreamer in the next and occasionally to sleepwalker at times. In other words, he is a fairly typical teen. Summer is an important season for Dade. He blossoms, he storms, he swelters. And finally, he heads into fall.
When Dade comes out, the reactions of those around him are a microcosm of society;s reactions: some treat it as "well, of course you're gay"; others fear his homosexuality, and some do not know quite how to respond. Some of the stereotypes are here, but there are also archetypes present to offset them. This is a coming of age story rather like CRISS CROSS (stay with me here) in that much happens over the course of one summer in one neighborhood. But the events do not change the course of history, just send out ripples like a pebble tossed into a calm lake.