Book Review

Home Field Advantage

Home Field Advantage

  • Author: Dahlia Adler
  • Genre: YA Romance/LGBTQ
  • Publication Date: June 7, 2022
  • Publisher: Wednesday Books

Thank you to NetGalley and Wednesday Books for providing me with an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.

CONTENT WARNING: homophobia, bullying

Rating: 5 out of 5.

In this sweet and funny new f/f romance from the author of Cool for the Summer, a cheerleader and the school’s newest quarterback are playing to win, but might lose their hearts in the process.

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.

Dahlia Adler’s Home Field Advantage is a sparkling romance about fighting for what – or who – you truly want.

After reading Cool for the Summer and falling in love with Adler’s writing, there was absolutely no questions about wanting to read this book. And despite the fact that sports romance is most certainly not my jam, turns out when it’s a sapphic sports romance, it is absolutely my jam! Especially in the talented hands (or keyboard) of Dahlia Adler.

I adore the way that this book combines the difficult topics of homophobia, bullying, grief, the pressures of high school, and how religion influences people, with lighter topics such as friendship and romance. Amber is in a tough place—she’s queer and in the closet, and is focusing all of her efforts on becoming cheer captain so that she can snag a scholarship and escape her small-minded Florida Panhandle town, and finally be free to express who she really is. But everything gets thrown off track when the recently deceased quarterback is replaced by a new player, who happens to be a girl. There’s so much going on in Amber’s head, and I honestly liked her so much, even if I didn’t like all of her actions. But then again, she’s in high school, and all of us did some stupid things back in those days, right?

Jack is in a completely different place from Amber. She’s comfortable with her sexuality, although she doesn’t flaunt it in a place that isn’t very welcoming to LGBTQ people. She and her mom have uprooted their lives to come and play football at Atherton, leaving all of her friends and most of her family behind for this opportunity. But when things don’t work out as she had hoped, she’s in for a rough, lonely road. Her teammates have completely rejected her, and she’s the subject of some hurtful bullying. The only bright spot in her new life is Amber, the only person at the school who has been marginally nice to her.

I loved the way that these two interact with each other and the others in their lives, and there are definitely some funny moments in this story. It prevents it from getting too heavy, and I became quickly engrossed in these two girls and their lives. It isn’t heavy on the sports talk, although it definitely made me appreciate all the work that goes into cheerleading, and why it’s viewed as a sport. And the one chapter involving the big game was amazing. I was so amped up for it, in a way that I never am for actual football. Maybe if more women played I’d be more interested. By the end, I was tearing up at how beautifully this story was told, and Dahlia Adler has cemented her place in my personal list of favorites.

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