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Literature / The Vast Fields of Ordinary

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A 2009 Gay Teen Coming of Age Novel by Nick Burd, tells the story of Dade's metaphorical Last Summer.

The story begins with a short description of Dade's life since childhood ranging from his mother's transformation from a Hippie to an average housewife who sips martinis and gardens things other than weed, his father's interest in life in a cul-de-sac, and his secret relationship with football player Pablo *The Sexican* Soto. It establishes Dade's life as average, until one day he decides to admit his feelings to Pablo and things start going crazy.


In the correct order it goes relationship drama, gay drama, divorce drama, drama drama, and finally the Climax which ties up the novel in a satisfying way, but solves most of the drama in a very anticlimactic way.

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  • All First-Person Narrators Write Like Novelists: Averted.
  • The Beard: Judy for Pablo. It's a story about gay people, what did you expect? A Moustache?
    • Genre Savvy: She also suspects her status and in her few appearances tries to keep Dade away from Pablo
  • Bittersweet Ending: Bordering on complete downer: Dade learns things aren't always as perfect as you make it out to be no matter how perfect your boyfriend is, his parents divorce (Which is a good thing), he finally gets friends of his own, and Alex decides to break the mold his father and sister set before him and not run away and stays in town to help his grandma, but Pablo kills himself by crashing his car into a tree after all the gay confusion he went through, Dade and Alex mutually break up, and Lisa moves back to L.A.
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  • Boomerang Bigot: Pablo to a minor extent.
  • Cast Full of Gay
  • Coming-Out Story: An odd one since Alex and Dade both don't care who sees who doing affectionate things, and when Dade finally tells his parents he's gay, they're a bit shocked but are still loving and supportive, and actually be more so than before.
  • Dark and Troubled Past: Alex has one.
  • Death by Newbery Medal: The main reason why the summer this book covers is considered by Dade to be his last real summer. It's certainly not forgettable.
  • Dropped a Bridge on Him: Pablo decides life isn't worth living and has a heartbreaking in hindsight goodbye with Dade, which is a bit unexpected.
  • First-Person Peripheral Narrator: Pablo.
  • I Just Want to Be Normal or Armored Closet Gay: Pablo again.
  • Semi-Important Haircut: An entire party filled with shirtless guys about it.
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  • Incompatible Orientation: Fessica and Dade.
  • Jerk Jock: Several of these form Pablo's group of friends. Pablo himself.
  • Little Jimmy: The Jenny Moore sublot
  • Love Hurts: Pablo intially rejects Dade but for the rest of the novel, Pablo comes to regret it.
  • Love Triangle
  • Manic Pixie Dream Duo: Alex and Lisa take turns playing this to Dade.
  • No Antagonist: One of the Jerk Jocks might count if he had appeared in more than the few pages he had.
  • Nostalgic Narrator
  • Romantic Runner-Up: Pablo Until the end of the novel we find out it was actually Alex, but then Pablo dies
  • Sorry, I'm Gay: When Fessica tries to come on to Dade a second time.
  • The Stoner: Alex's friends.
  • Straight Gay: Pablo, Alex, and Dade.
  • The Story Teller: Alex reveals close to the end he's writing a book called "The Vast Fields of Ordinary."
  • Time to Move: Except Dade's dad succeeds in moving.
  • Title Drop: Happens twice; once in the middle when Fessica mispronounces song lyrics, and again in the end. It gets explained on the last page, though the reader always gets a vague idea about it.
  • Token Lesbian: Lisa can come off as this.
  • Trouble Follows You Home: A main theme of the novel is that no matter where you go, the trouble you were trying to escape will always follow you because you are always going to be the same person.
  • The Twink: Lisa Takes Dade to a local gay bar to introduce him to the scene. The results are underwhelming.
  • Yaoi Fangirl: Lisa.
  • What Could Possibly Go Wrong?: While reading this you may sarcastically say/think "Wow treating the guy who is trying to reconcile with you like shit and rubbing your new happy relationship in his face. What could go wrong?" the answer? He kills himself.


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