The State of Us

The State of Us When Dean Arnault S Mother Decided To Run For President, It Wasn T A Surprise To Anyone, Least Of All Her Son But Still That Doesn T Mean Dean Wants To Be Part Of The Public Spectacle That Is The Race For The White House At Least Not Until He Meets DreThe Only Problem Is That Dre Rosario S On The Opposition He S The Son Of The Democratic Nominee But As Dean And Dre S Meet Ups On The Campaign Trail Become Less Left To Chance, Their Friendship Quickly Becomes A Romantic Connection Unlike Any Either Of The Boys Have Ever KnownIf It Wasn T Hard Enough Falling In Love Across The Aisle, The Political Scheming Of A Shady Third Party Candidate Could Cause Dean And Dre S World To Explode Around ThemIt S A New Modern Day, Star Crossed Romance About What It Really Means To Love Your Country And Yourself From The Acclaimed Author Of We Are The Ants And Brave Face, Shaun David Hutchinson This thing is full of spoilers without tags Enter at your own risk PLOT So the book starts with 17 year olds Dre Dean with their parents at a debate The boys get trapped into the Green Room with no wifi while something vague is happening outside that turns out to be nothing They end up deciding to be friends, but use an encrypted texting app to do it Characterization wise So, I guess I have a whole lot of questions about Dre s background He basically has no real cultural or ethnic identity, except being proud that his Dad will be the first Mexican American president if he wins There is absolutely nothing about how connected he is to his identity as a Mexican American However, he is openly out At one point he thinks that Dean s Mom will try and criminalize his identity saying, Your Mom also thinks people like me don t deserve the same rights as everyone else meaning that he is queer, but for some reason he doesn t at this time think about what Republicans think about Mexico, the wall, border camps, etc Dean on the other hand is a portrayed as preppy vegetarian He is on the ace spectrum but doesn t really know how to define that for himself His journey to understanding himself as demisexual and also gay he tells Dre every person he developed sexual attraction towards were other men is problematic, as outlined in a twitter thread by the person who did a sensitivity read, and she pointed out that the has stereotypical ace representation, portraying Dean as robotic and that it s overall lacking depth But when he texts Dre his feelings about that, it s likelol, not like texts from a kid, telling Dre this isn t a simple case of adolescent ennui To me a cis het lady who has spent 20 years teaching adolescents and with a 17 year old son he didn t sound like a kid as much as like the voice of an adult author helping to explain his complex identity to readers YMMV As for their parents, this is where shit is real foul Dean reassures us many times that his mother is ABSOLUTELY SINCERE in all the things she believes And so although earlier Dre s friend makes a laundry lists of things she supports for profit prisons, overturning gay marriage, guns, continued criminalization of marijuana, tax breaks for big corporations , it s okay I guess because she really believes in it Also, in a move that REALLY MADE ME BIG MAD, Dean notes how truly unfair it is that she is judged for her appearance as a woman while male politicians are not So, she s a Republican in 2020 and actively working against women in every way, but the author paints her here as suffering for being a woman Zero mention of how her platform will hurt all the other women in the country Meanwhile, Dre mostly talks about his Dad as being MIA, how much he misses him, and how much of a bummer it is that he doesn t have a chance to bond with his Dad any So all the sympathy points go to RepublicanMom as a parent and as a person The bad guy is the 3rd party candidate, clearly meant to be a mashup of like Elon Musk Jeff Bezos, and he conveniently spouts the current terrible rhetoric of the Republican party For example, Dean thinks, No one wanted to listen to my MOther discuss how to battle the opioid crisis when McMann was shouting about Chinese immigrants stealing American jobs and suggesting most of them were probably spies anyway This seems like such a cheap dodge to assign the hard core entrenched racism of the Republican party to this 3rd party candidate Expcially if you were to swap out the word Mexican for Chinese and criminals for spies and you have the actual spoken words of our current Republican president Dre s Mom is the voice of reason When Dre asks if it s possible for people who disagree on basically everything to be friends she tells him, You know your father and I don t agree on everythingbut trying to understand people we disagree with is how we learn and grow ANYWAYS MORE LATER.It s kind of hurting me to read this book So after reading the first half, I just skipped to the last 4 or 5 chapters, because I was curious how the author was going to wrap up this fucking disaster Basically, the bad guy 3rd party candidate owns the app and was able to see what they were doing saying, etc, and decided to blackmail them and the kids get back at him, yada yada However, the last two chapters of the book are the wrap up to that cartoon villain plot, and they play out like this the fact that the Dre and Dean are in love is revealed to the world At the next debate, they are sitting together and the moderator asks their parents, the candidates, how they feel And it s this warm fuzzy moment of acceptance for them And god knows kids deserve this Queer teens deserve books where parents give full throated acceptance to their identities Each parent proclaims their love for their child and Dean s Mom says, love is the bridge that keeps us connectedNow seeing as our sons aren t running for President, why don t we talk about some real issues Real issues Hi, fuck you But you know what, this author specifically chose to have the character saying those words be the Republican candidate for president in 2020 There is no hint in her speech that this changes HER POLITICS or the way she intends to treat other queer people You ll notice that I have continued to not discuss any of this in light of Dre s cultural, racial, and ethnic identity as Mexican American because from what I read, this is just simply not important to the author in any way This is upsetting in ways I cannot even say, this erasure And I would just encourage you to listen to the many voices of people of color when they express their concerns about how white authors write characters of color Finally, and this is one of those things where you can tell the author really thought he did something The last chapter ends with the election in the pastbut with us not knowing who won Dre and Dean are at different colleges and still together, but the question of which parent is in the White House is unresolved The author s message could not be clear see, it doesn t matter who wins as long as love conquers all And the pure absolute fury I felt at this is, again, hard to name Yes, being with the people we love matters But publishing this book in this election year and being so mealy mouthed No one forced the author to take this on This is the premise that HE decided on in the year of our lord 2020, and this is what he did with it I guess it doesn t matter who wins the 2020 election as long as I have you is the greatest statement of privilege there is To put this book in the hands of kids feels like it would do great harm.PS I made it clear how much of the book I read and I stand by this review If you don t like it, you can, as always, choose to read it yourself. Red, White and Royal Blue but make it YA UPDATE May 26, 2020 Please check out these reviewers who have given their time to read and write detailed reviews of this book Review 1Review 2Original post, May 24, 2020 Well, I wasn t going to post anything about my feelings about this book s premise on Goodreads until some queer POC bloggers reviewed it, but since the author decided to block me on Twitter over my comments on a thread he was never even tagged inI guess I will.I get that books have a long time between conception and when they get published in the traditional book industry I GET THAT But at what point did everyone in the traditional publishing world decide we needed Democrat Republican romances There s a m f one coming out in Romance called Meet You in the Middle, and then there s this book I loved this author s book We Are the Ants, and I have met him a few time at book festivals, so it was a surprise to me to find out that this queer YA book was going to be about a Democratic nominee s son and a Republican nominee s son As someone who identifies as demi and as a POC living in America during these troubled times, I had been EXCITED about a book that has a POC character as a MC and a character who identifies as demi in a queer YA book by a favorite author BUT Somehow instead of having a plot between rival Democratic nominees, it had to go with a Republican nominee Why Realistically, the Democratic and Republican nominees rarely, if ever, meet in any capacity on the campaign trail outside of the debates And importantly, why does the demisexual character have to be the Republican nominee s son Early reviews of this book do not give me confidence in that Dean, the Republican nominee s son, is some secret Democrat at heart It seems to me like the book is striving for neutral territory with the same statements the Republican s have been having this entire administration that people need to hear both sides of the story, or come to a compromise, or meet in the middle Maybe that s something that works for white people, but I don t get how these aren t just microaggressions against people of color or any minority who has been affected by the 2016 election And THAT S what the book is going for The blurb even makes it sound like a third party candidate is the evil of the three parties, and really That s the stance you re going for Reviews have said that this book isn t overly political and I don t understand that Our LIVES are political topics and one of the MCs in this book is Mexican American and we re supposed to pretend all the comments and actions done by the Republican party post 2016 never happened This book is coming out when over 100k Americans have DIED, and continue to die, from decisions the Republican party has made over the coronavirus I totally get that you can t predict what happens when traditional publishers set a release date for books But to have a whole book centered around teens setting aside their political differences because they re in love is very upsetting.This book sounds extremely upsetting to me just from the premise alone, and early reviews have not convinced me otherwise Apparently the cover design of the book is correct since it highlights in bold the FU letters the loudest, because this book just sounds like a big FU to queer POC in living in America today. EDIT Will no longer be recommending this.CWs public outing, homophobia interested but wary bc of the republican son really really hoping he s a secret democrat EDIT Soooo it seems as if Shaun David Hutchinson has been problematic for quite a while now Wich sucks because he s one of my all time favorite YA authors, but with all the things, that have come to light recently, and him still being frustratingly about the critisim, he received in the last couple of days, there is no way for me to support him any longer So bye gurl bye 4.5 5 stars I enjoy the part where adults I hardly know treat me like an anomaly because I know a few words with than two syllables I grimaced They probably think all teenagers are brain dead and sit around huffing dry erase markers Compared to other Shaun David Hutchinson s YA books, The State of Us took me time to get into after the opening The starting few chapters drew my attention with the major event that happens in the first few chapter but I found that there were time through the book that scenes and events were dragged out as if trying to make it realistic but it started to make me lose my interest instead, especially when the heavier political aspects of the book came into play The book stayed very neutral as far as potential for picking sides The politics sometimes came off a little heavy concerning both sides especially at the beginning it seemed intentional but depending on the reader, they might not enjoy reading dialogue of characters talking about what one person believes repeatedly I m one of those people that don t care to make politics a large part of my life so this book was enjoyable, overall Other than that, the character building and portrayal of demisexuality was excellent and respectful It was including the small details e.g ADD rep, DD, huffing markets, etc that really made the characters seem like they could be real people The main characters Dre and Dean take us on the road of personal discovery, sprinkled with politics, as they finish out their last year in high school in an unorthodox manner I m happy a story was written about a very similar struggle I faced in high school you never know who has been though it too The use of sarcasm and comic relief in novel was effective and amazing I mean, lines like, Maybe someone had slipped LSD into my latte and it d just taken a few hours to kick in painted the picture that was needed while making me laugh There were so many highlights I loved the plot twist within a plot twist too I wasn t expecting that at all The ending could have been cliched like in RWARB but it wasn t This was modern, original, creative, and hopeful I highly recommend checking it out if you re looking for something original and funny I m hoping to reread this title again once it comes out to compare from my first read So stay tuned for another review.A lot of people are comparing this book to Red, White, and Royal Blue and while they have their similarities in the political ish star crossed lovers storyline, the two are completely different The State of Us focuses equal time on plot and romance as where RWARB focuses primarily on romance The State of Us comes out June 2, 2020 Thank you dedicated publicists at Harper Collins for an ARC very powerful of me to think this was fishy ever since it was announced and now it s been confirmed that the qpoc rep is terrible someone tell this white gay man that a romance between a POC and a white person whose parent s political beliefs are rooted in the oppression of the POC isn t somehow turned into something okay just because it s gay HI UM SHAWN OUT HERE LITERALLY ONE BOOK A YEAR IM SO EXCITED MAN HE NEVER DISAPPOINTS AHHH IM READY TO HAVE MY LIFE RUINES AGAINEDIT SO WE HAVE A PLOT AND I KNOW IT SOUNDS SIMILAR TO RWRB B U T I BET ITS GONNA BE NOTHING LIKE IT BC DOES ANYONE REMEMBER SHAUN S TENDENCY TO INCLUDE SCI FI IN HIS BOOKS THAT THIS WILL PROBABLY NOT BE A FUN ROMCOM AND RATHER SOMETHING THAT MAKES US QUESTION OUR REALITY ITSELF BC I REMEMBERED AND IM SCARED no one me this year if it s not about the children of ROYALS or AMERICAN POLITICIANS, i DON T WANT TO READ IT

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  • Hardcover
  • 416 pages
  • The State of Us
  • Shaun David Hutchinson
  • English
  • 15 February 2019
  • 9780062950314