Ready, steady, go to your nearest bookstore or library and check out the newest addition to Dahlia Adler’s novels, Home Field Advantage!
Amber McCloud’s ultimate goal is to be named captain of her cheer team at the end of the year. However, after the quarterback of the football team, Robbie, is killed in a car accident, it feels exceedingly difficult to remain in high spirits, especially when it is announced that Robbie will be replaced by newcomer Jack Walsh. When Jack Walsh is revealed to be ‘Jaclyn’ Walsh, all hope of unity among the football players and cheerleaders becomes borderline impossible.
The football players and cheerleaders begin to ice out Jack, despite the fact that the new quarterback is significantly a better player than Robbie ever was, leading the Atherton Alligators to victory more than once. Amber tries to prove her leadership skills and unite the teams, but it quickly becomes apparent that her dream of being the cheerleading captain is tied to whether she helps take Jack down.
The problem? Amber and Jack are falling for one another. Amber must make a decision: stand up for Jack and their blossoming relationship, or sacrifice her happiness with Jack for her dream.
A cute sapphic take on the quarterback/cheerleader high school romance trope
Home Field Advantage is a cute sapphic take on the quarterback/cheerleader high school romance trope, and it has quickly become one of my favorite renditions!
Jack and Amber do fall for each other pretty quickly, but considering that teenagers tend to fall hard and fast in their young love, it wasn’t that big of a stretch. Their romance was incredibly sweet and wholesome to watch unfold.
Additionally, Amber and Jack help each other through a lot of turmoil throughout the book, which only solidified their devotion to each other.
The book alternates between Amber and Jack’s perspectives, and I think that was important so that we could know their own respective journeys; Jack and Amber were each facing their own inner struggles and external oppositions, and their characters felt more developed and their stories were all the better for it.
Amber and Jack shine as protagonists of the story
There are definitely moments in the book where Amber and Jack showcase their flaws, which can make them disagreeable (but by no means irredeemable).
For example, it sometimes felt as though Jack was pushing Amber to come out a little bit, so that Jack would not be alone in publicly dealing with the backlash coming from their peers. Likewise, Amber would constantly be hesitant to stand up for Jack when the cheerleaders were being exceptionally cruel, and she would use her friends and Jack as crutches to avoid self-confrontation.
In light of these flaws, Amber and Jack shine as protagonists of the story, and you can’t help but root for them every step of the way.
Home Field Advantage does touch on heavy subjects
I will warn that Home Field Advantage does touch on heavy subjects that may be triggering to some, such as misogyny, homophobia, indications of abortion, and bullying. Yet, Dahlia Adler does a great job at introducing these elements in a real way, without sugar-coating but also not heaping it needlessly on her readers.
Adler’s new novel Home Field Advantage is a lovely sapphic take on the high school cheerleader-quarterback romance, and it is a swoon-worthy read that also captures the power of fighting for what is right and staying true to yourself.
Home Field Advantage by Dahlia Adler was released on June 7th, 2022.