cover image The State of US

The State of US

Shaun David Hutchinson. HarperTeen, $17.99 (416p) ISBN 978-0-06-295031-4

Andre “Dre” Rosario and Dean Arnault have one big thing in common—a parent running for U.S. president—but, at first glance, little else. Mexican-American Dre, a Democrat, is gay and out, and his dad rose to prominence defending asylum seekers. Buttoned-up Dean is white, on the asexual spectrum, and closeted, and his Republican mother wants trans soldiers banned from the military. But since no one else understands the pressures they’re under, that’s what brings them together, the two 17-year-olds soon finding that they more they talk, the closer they get. Which doesn’t mean it’s easy: Dre has problems with Dean’s mother’s politics, and Dean doesn’t know how his perfectionist mother would handle knowing who he really is, from his sexuality to his career goals. Things get more complex when the third-party candidate, a cartoonishly sleazy businessman known “for exploiting anyone and everything he could,” tries to make them a campaign issue. Though Dean’s diction veers from believably formal to somewhat robotic, Hutchinson (Brave Face) creates two likable characters in a love-against-the-odds story that effectively takes up the well-timed issue of how to love people whose beliefs one doesn’t share—whether they’re parents or prospective partners. Ages 13–up. Agent: Katie Shea Boutillier, Donald Maass Literary. [em](June) [/em]