This YA contemporary novel by Dahlia Adler (Cool for the Summer) is an effusive celebration of queer identity and female athletes that updates the classic cheerleader/quarterback romance.
Cheerleading has been 16-year-old "brunette Cheerleader Barbie" Amber's entire life "basically since I could walk." She dreams of being named captain of the school cheer squad next year, earning a scholarship and attending a college where she can "live out and proud" as a queer woman. Amber is determined to prove herself worthy of the captain's spot this school year. But it is hard to spread school spirit with students still mourning beloved quarterback Robbie's death in a car crash. When word gets out that new quarterback "Jack" is 16-year-old, blonde Jaclyn, the football team is outraged. The community "can't get past the idea that the memory of Robbie has been desecrated by a girl getting his spot." Even the cheerleaders refuse to support a girl quarterback. Amber realizes that to earn the captainship, she may have to go along with the squad's plans to sabotage Jack. But there's a hitch: Amber and Jack are falling fast for one another, leaving Amber torn between the "girls I'm supposed to be closer with than anyone" and her heart.
A combination of sizzling chemistry and heartfelt vulnerability makes the star-crossed romance between Amber and Jack irresistible. Home Field Advantage insists that women belong on the field--as cheerleaders whose athleticism should receive the recognition it deserves and as players granted the same opportunities as their male peers. Teen readers will applaud Amber and Jack's fight to be their authentic selves. --Alanna Felton, freelance reviewer