When I saw this book being called a mashup of My So-Called Life and Friday Night Lights, my teenage self got all giddy. I had to get my hands on it, and the wonderful publicity department at William Morrow came through.
I was not disappointed. Do you ever read a book that transports you to another time and place, where you’re so involved in the telling of the story that time disappears while reading? This was that book for me.
I found myself at home in rural Maryland along with head football coach Dean, his stepdaughter Stephanie, and his two sons Robbie and Bryan. They’re reeling after the suicide of their mother Nicole. Stephanie is about to start college away from home. Robbie has discovered a love of the arts. And Dean is in constant fear he isn’t doing right by his family while focusing on his football team.
This book focuses a lot on the characters, alternating propelling the story forward between Dean and Stephanie narrating. But the plot does not slow down. We follow this family try to cope with Nicole’s death in their confused states, grieving in their own, unique way.
Hannah Gersen is an extremely talented writer, and it’s hard to believe this was her debut novel. Each character was someone so well developed that at times it was almost like reading a memoir. I had a tough time parting ways with this one, and I was tied to each character, hoping they each found peace in the year ahead. I’ll be looking forward to whatever Gersen writes next.
Thank you to William Morrow for a copy in exchange for an honest review.
About the author:
Hannah Gersen is a staff writer for The Millions, and her writing has been published in the New York Times, Granta online, and The Southern Review, among others. Home Field is her first novel. She lives in Brooklyn with her family.