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The Vast Fields of Ordinary Paperback – March 17, 2011

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Editorial Reviews


"A fascinating and dreamy first novel." -New York Times

"Bold. Engaging. Heartbreaking." -Ellen Hopkins, New York Times bestselling author of Crank

"A brilliant account of alienation and angst in the heartland." -Quest Magazine

"Nick Burd reaps a bounty from The Vast Fields of Ordinary." -Vanity Fair

"Burd is a terrific writer+he is a new talent to watch." -Booklist, starred review

About the Author

Nick Burd attended the University of Iowa and received his MFA from The New School. He lives in Brooklyn, New York. The Vast Fields of Ordinary is his first novel.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Speak; Reprint edition (March 17, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 014241820X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0142418208
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.8 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (88 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #493,640 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

44 of 47 people found the following review helpful By Darcy Wishard on May 18, 2009
Format: Hardcover
This is definitely one of the best books I've read in long time. I couldn't put it down! Through the author's mesmerizing writing I could feel the sheer loneliness that Dade felt growing up in a midwestern town feeling isolated and out of place as he laid in his bed night confessing to his ceiling fan he is gay. Don't get me wrong, Dade never comes across as helpless or pitiful (maybe a little unsure of himself) instead you can see he is biding his time believing that there has to be more out there for him. His first attempt at reaching out is Pablo a boy he loves but who is using him to express physical feelings he can't even admit to himself. Although Pablo treats Dade horribly and is pretty much a jerk, I couldn't help feeling sorry for him as he desperately tried to deny who he really is.
A bright for spot for Dade is when he meets the neighbors niece who is staying for the summer. She is the first person who really pushes Dade to be himself and shows him he is actually a pretty great guy. I would hate to see this book get tagged as only a gay "coming out" book. It's a great read and comes a cross as one point of view of the thousands of teens out there who are just trying to figure out who they are, dealing with what life throws at them and wondering what life has in store for them.
Moderately sexual explicit scenes a long with drinking and drug use make this book appropriate for high school and above.
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15 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Jon Hunt on July 27, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Nick Burd has written a terrific novel about a gay teenager from Iowa. "The Vast Fields of Ordinary" probes the depth of feelings of the main character, Dade Hamilton, and Burd comes up with a warm, troubling and accurate view of coming out.

While the book is timely for Dade's own generation it has ramifications for older generations as well. Being gay in America is still fraught with complications on many levels and those who think that recent easing of the public view of homosexuality makes life better, need to be reminded (as the author does for the reader) of the troubling internal and external aspects of leading a double life.

Although Dade comes out to his parents and friends without too much repercussion, Burd deftly explores Dade's relationship with Alex, his main love, and Pablo, his sometime companion. The Jenny Moore character serves as an unnecessary diversion to an otherwise brilliant narrative, but Dade's gay friendships are wonderfully presented and carry a good deal of literary weight. "The Vast Fields of Ordinary" is a compelling first novel by Nick Burd....I hope we read more from him.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Michael Greenwaldt on December 12, 2009
Format: Hardcover
I started reading this the other night and stayed up until 6 AM before putting it down. I didn't want to, but I was enjoying it so much that I didn't want it to be over with. Plus, my eyelids were getting really heavy. Then the next day I had to work until 11:30 PM and all I could think about was getting home so I could finish the book. I finished it around 4 AM and was so sad it was over. I absolutely loved it. I loved the main character. I got the book from the library but will now buy my own copy. I rarely buy a book after reading it because I don't usually plan on reading them again in the future, and while I've never re-read a book yet, I do plan on reading this one again sometime. I'd like to revisit it when I don't remember all of the details. It's the best book I've read since "Call Me By Your Name," another I had to purchase afterwards. I think these are the only two books I've purchased after having read them. I know this is probably best as a stand alone book and a sequel could ruin the impact, but I would love one. I adored the main character and wasn't ready to leave him. If Nick ever writes one I would have my copy pre-ordered the moment it was available to pre-order.

Anyway, this is such a wonderful book. Now one of my favorites.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Eric Wilson on May 21, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is one of the best young adult novels I have read, although I feel it transcends that limiting genre. The main protagonist is someone I identified closely with on every page. He was very real and very touching. The descriptions were excellent throughout; the author has a wonderful sense of style. His way of seeing the world and putting it into words made me stop and reflect on many different occasions. And the sense of humor and high sense of the absurd are fantastic. I hope that this is the first of many novels by this talented author. I look forward to reading anything else he might write.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Maria Beadnell on August 1, 2009
Format: Hardcover
The literary descendent of Rainbow Boys (which is a high compliment), Vast Fields of Ordinary is THE gay-pride book I've been hoping for. I say this because although the main characters are gay and there's a lot surrounding that, it isn't really an issue book the way, say Geography Club is, or Annie on My Mind.

It's a book about relationships, and some of them are gay. It's a book about the transition to adulthood, but far from being preachy, it zips by because you must, you HAVE to, find out what is going to __happen__ next.

With complex, well-drawn characters and many of them, it reminds me a lot of David Copperfield; in fact Pablo reminds me very much of Steerforth. He's not all bad but there is good reason to hate him.

An "issue" book that transcends the issues and will, I think, stand the test of time.
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