This has to be my favorite Dahlia Adler book ever. Combined with sports romance, I was entirely hooked on Home Field Advantage before it even began. So if you love a queer romance, but also a story about speaking up, this is for you. Keep reading this book review for my full thoughts.
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.
(Disclaimer: I received this book from the publisher. This has not impacted my review which is unbiased and honest.)
TW: sexism, homophobia, biphobia
Home Field Advantage put me through the emotional wringer. This sports romance book tackles homophobia, but also knowing when it’s time to speak up. We can become so immersed in our lives, in the internalized homophobia, and our ideas of what our dreams are, that we can fail to speak up. To make mistakes that end up hurting people we love, and ourselves. I loved how flawed, complex, and messy both Jack and Amber are.
The best characters are ones that make us feel. And both of them do that. They make us feel rage at the treatment and comments they have to endure. At the same time, they make us feel disappointment when they don’t speak up. When they let the people we love get hurt. And finally, they make us feel hope and love because they have to struggle, to figure out their own limitations, until they decide when they want to make a stand.
Natalie Naudus is a narrator I will listen to anything by. I love her narration style and Home Field Advantage is no exception. There’s something about her voice style that is not only soothing, but also emotional. Additionally, having it be dual POV was such a good move to have both Jack and Amber have different mannerisms of speaking and vibes!
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In our world, we can cling to what we think of as our safe spaces. To places we feel at home, even if it’s just this false illusion we have. It can take just someone to help us see, to inspire us to make a change. By the end, I couldn’t stop reading and I just had to clear my schedule until I finished. Home Field Advantage manages to be swoony, precious, and swoony all at once. Find Home Field Advantage on Goodreads, Amazon, Indiebound, Bookshop.org , The Book Depository, & Libro.fm.