Three cheerleaders are holding up pompoms at what appears to be a football game

Book Review: Home Field Advantage

I reviewed Dahlia Adler’s Cool For The Summer last year—just before I went on my impromptu hiatus—and it was such a joy to read that when I saw Home Field Advantage on NetGalley (coming out June 7), I knew I had to try to get my hands on a copy. Adler’s writing is fun and progressive without being too in-your-face about it, and I was really hoping that would continue in this story. Though I grew up here in Canada where sports are not as big of a thing in high school, I’ve seen enough US TV shows or movies to understand the cheerleader-football player microcosm and how an LGBTQ relationship in central Florida could cause some issues.

Synopsis
Amber McCloud’s dream is to become cheer captain at the end of the year, but it’s an extra-tall order to be joyful and spirited when the quarterback of your team has been killed in a car accident. For both the team and the squad, watching Robbie get replaced by newcomer Jack Walsh is brutal. And when it turns out Jack is actually short for Jaclyn, all hell breaks loose.

The players refuse to be led by a girl, the cheerleaders are mad about the changes to their traditions, and the fact that Robbie’s been not only replaced but outshined by a QB who wears a sports bra has more than a few Atherton Alligators in a rage. Amber tries for some semblance of unity, but it quickly becomes clear that she’s only got a future on the squad and with her friends if she helps them take Jack down.

Just one problem: Amber and Jack are falling for each other, and if Amber can’t stand up for Jack and figure out how to get everyone to fall in line, her dream may come at the cost of her heart.

My musings
I’m happy to report that Home Field Advantage is just as good—if not better—than Cool For The Summer, which I read last year. Adler is back with some good character building (just because her protagonists are teens doesn’t mean they don’t need depth or have real problems), interesting family dynamics and a high school drama that isn’t too over the top or cheesy. The stakes aren’t really that high, but the feels are everywhere, which makes this the perfect read for the summer.

4 STARS

Illustration of a brunette cheerleader and a blonde female football player sitting on the football field, back to back, smiling at each other.

“I had a whole plan for getting out of here and finally getting to be myself—all of myself—in college, and all I had to do way stay the fuck away from Atherton girls.” —Dahlia AdlerHome Field Advantage

Thank you to NetGalley, St. Martin’s Press and Wednesday Books for the advanced copy, and to Rojan Maharjan on Unsplash for the featured photo.

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