Home Field Advantage by Dahlia Adler
June 7, 2022, by Wednesday Books
Review by Melinda
Home Field Advantage is a twist on the classic love story between the High School Quarterback and the Head Cheerleader. Jaclyn (Jack) Walsh is recruited to play football at Amber’s high school but Jack doesn’t exactly fit in right away. The previous quarterback was killed in a car accident and everyone looks at Jack as a not-nearly-good-enough replacement for him. So things are super uncomfortable and awkward. On Amber’s part, she’s hiding her queerness by fake dating another player, but things get complicated when she starts to fall for Jack.
The author managed to create a balance between these complicated issues with themes of friendship, how to be a team player, and what your passion is. One of the things I loved about this book is that while Jack does face homophobia from the football team, as well as Miguel – Amber’s fake boyfriend, it was not extreme, so the characters were allowed to still have fun, fall in love, and live their lives. Sometimes YA books can become ‘issues’ books and lose the character’s lightness. This book managed to keep hold of that and celebrate their lives as well.
I enjoyed both Jack and Amber’s story arcs but Amber’s in particular rung true to me and I feel like a lot of people can relate. Her story revolves around wanting things to change, but not knowing how to hold on to friends and activities from before. It’s something many can relate to when leaving high school.
I listened to the audiobook of this one and it had dual narrators, which is my favorite. Natalie Naudus and Lori Prince did a great job giving both Amber and Jack a distinct voice and helped me relate to them in different ways.
This was such a fun, light book balanced with teen angst, and a sapphic one that’s an excellent one for teens (and adults) to read.
CW: homophobia, misogyny, death (off page)