Home Field Advantage
– Dahlia Adler –
Published 7 June 2022
Home Field Advantage is a jovial sports novel with queer romance and a powerful message about coming out and standing up for what’s right, wrapped in a bright, bubbly story.
I think I start every sport novel review with a statement about how much I l sports novels, so I’ve put this a bit further down in my review just for a change. My stance remains, though. I love sports novels. I can never find enough to satisfy my own cravings or that of my readers, so this is an automatic buy for my school library. It’s a great sports novel. Romance – check. Game suspense – check. Team drama – check. Strong, determined athletes – check, check. We have two athletes who take centre field in this story. Jack, female quarterback on the boys team, hated by her team mates and determined to prove herself. And Amber, cheerleader, firmly in the closet and totally crushing on the new quarterback.
Most schools would be behind a quarterback-cheerleader relationship, but not this one. After the death of their (rather sucky) quarterback, the team are beyond horrified to know their new QB is a girl. They are outwardly hostile to Jack and their hatred spills over into the cheerleading team and general school population. While being welcomed with open arms was not what Jack was expecting, she didn’t think she’d be so openly hated. The only people halfway decent to her are Amber and her boyfriend Miguel, also on the football team. But Amber and Miguel have their own reasons for keeping their heads down, even if they want to speak up for Jack. Miguel was bullied and blackmailed by the last QB, almost outed, and Amber is desperate to stay in the closet and take home the cheer captaincy next year. But when Amber and Jack start a relationship, Amber must decide what’s worth standing up for.
There are some pretty heavy topics covered in this book, from homophobia and threats of outing to other themes that are spoilers and I’ve included in my list of themes below. But the whole book has a very upbeat and positive vibe. Maybe it’s Amber’s cheer spirit, which Jack comments on and admires – how can she be so positive with everything she’s up against? – but I really enjoyed the light vibe and the way these important topics are covered with care but ultimately a positive of hope and positivity.
A really fun title I can’t wait to add to my school library’s sports collection.
The publishers provided an advanced readers copy of this book for reviewing purposes. All opinions are my own.
Category: Young adult fiction
Genre: Realistic fiction, sport fiction.
Themes: Sport, football, cheerleading, LGBTQIA+, LGBTQIA+ relationships, romance, bullying, friendship.
Reading age guide: Ages 14 and up.
Advisory: Frequent sexual references, sexual relationships, masturbation, references to hook ups. Homophobia, homophobic slurs, threats of outing and blackmail. References to death by car crash. References to drunk driving. References to teen pregnancy and abortion. Frequent coarse language, f*** (151), sh** (122), wh*** (1), bi*** (11), pi** (27), di** (11), co** (1).
Representation: Queer main character, gay main characters, homosexual relationships. White main characters. Latinx main character.
Published: 7 June 2022 by Wednesday Books.
Format: Hardcover, ebook, audiobook. 304 pages.