The Hottest State
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The Hottest State

3.32 of 5 stars 3.32  ·  rating details  ·  2,326 ratings  ·  223 reviews
Yes, it's "that" Ethan Hawke. Ethan Hawke the actor. In this slim debut novel, he tells a coming-of-age tale of a fairly unpleasant young actor from Texas named William who lives in Manhattan and is working his way through an ugly little relationship with a singer/songwriter named Sarah.

Player of confused but adorable Gen X Romeos in films like Reality Bites and Before Sun...more
Published (first published October 1st 1996)
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Morgan (Turbo)
Jul 01, 2008 Morgan (Turbo) rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: romantics and fans of Ethan Hawke
I've read another of Ethan Hawke and thought he was good. So when I saw this book in the free box I couldn't just pass it up laughing that an actor actually thinks he can write too(like I could at a Mel Gibson or Bruce Willis novel). Quite contrary, Hawke has a writing voice that is simple, direct, and sometimes ingenious. Check out one of his character's resolutions: "I want to never waste energy degrading someone else. Also, I want to try not see life as a competition. If I can do these two t...more
Karielle
Ethan Hawke will break your heart. The Hottest State chronicles one year in the life of young, dashing William Harding: aspiring actor and charming lover. When he first meets Sarah, a girl unlike any he's ever seen, he knows from the beginning that he's a goner. She's beautiful. She's elusive. Every little thing she does strikes William greatly. The passion the two share, the chemistry; it's all so surreal, that even he can't believe it. He knows right then and there, that she is the one, that s...more
mia
i honestly really enjoyed reading this book. i can remember it being mid-90s and seeing ethan hawke on tv and thinking of how much i loved him in reality bites and my young hipster literary self wanting to read this. it's gotten lots of eh reviews. but i don't care, i liked it. i think i'll catch the movie, as well.
CC
I read this such a long time ago, when it first came out. It's a novella, not a novel, per se. The characters felt familiar and the angst of William loving someone who didn't even know if she "liked" him half the time much less "loved" him gave the piece an honest vibe.

However, the lack of details throughout left me frustrated. Sarah is a nanny yet never seems to work, though she still manages to afford a New York apartment. William is an actor. He's successful enough to make a living at it, yet...more
Rajesh Kurup
Surprise, surprise, surprise. Ethan Hawke can write, well. His debut novel perfectly captures the essence of being young and in love and then the pain of breakup. I felt deeply those little moments of first falling in love, the uncertainty and self doubt as you wonder what is it about me that she sees. Am I good enough, are we good enough. The story changes dramatically as their relationship turns. When Samantha decides that she isn't really ready for a relationship, Will's reaction is unhealthy...more
Karen
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
David
I'd been kind of surprised when I saw Hawke's name on books in the bookstore and had intended to check his writing out, but just never got around to it before now. I'd heard some bad things about his writing and wasn't sure what to think. As I do sooner or later most times in this situation, I looked for myself. After all, Hawke thanks Fred Leebron in the acknowledgements in this one, so I figured there had to be some good here. Having finished, I do have to say that Hawke is a better writer tha...more
Gia
When I saw this book at the library I picked it up, wondering if this Ethan Hawke was the actor... It was. So, I decided to read the book, just for fun and since I admire him as an actor I wanted to see if he was a terrible writer. Well, guess what, he is all but that. I was surprised about how much I loved this book. His writing is articulate and direct and while it is not difficult to read it is very interesting.
The Hottest State is a book that just completely holds your attention from the be...more
Jen
i do not hate ethan hawke, in fact i was rooting for him the whole time i read this book. and while parts of it were beautiful, i found the characters pretty unlikable. 2 1/2 stars.
Sarah
Hawke should stick to acting.
Meg I.
First off, while I was reading this, I can imagine Jesse (Before Sunrise/Sunset)as William. The similarities were astounding i.e. character, personality, the spontaneity, and so on.

Well, I can't say I like the book, but I don't hate it either. It's bizarre. I was intrigued with the plot (and with Ethan Hawke really, great actor that he is). But in the middle of reading it, I realized there was something off about William being too love struck with Sarah that really got on my nerves. The madness...more
Jenni Lou
I like Ethan Hawke as an actor. He’s quite understated, yet intense. Sensitive and self-aware. And he surely has playing the broody, conflicted man/boy down. Those character-centric qualities are ever-present in his first novel, The Hottest State, though they certainly don’t translate as well through his words as they do through his performances.

I must admit I was intrigued to read this because I had read most negative reviews of it. Why that piques my interest, I couldn’t say. I don’t typically...more
Donna
It's been months since I read a novel. I was quite surprised how good of a writer Ethan Hawke is. I read this in one sitting, hence I judge it a good read. Got it from the local thrift book store for only Php 20.00 (around 50 US cents) and hoarded it for idle reading time.

Narration was good. I loved the characters. And there were pretty good quotable lines in it. An easy yet insightful coming of age read.

"He said that he didn't think anyone was stupid, that it was remarkable the kind of things...more
Mags
A lot of people wouldn’t pick up this book after reading who the author is, and with great confidence, they would say that actors should just leave literature to writers. But this is no Paris-Hilton-esque novel of egotism. American actor Ethan Hawke is best known for his lead roles in “Reality Bites,” “Before Sunrise,” its sequel “Before Sunset,” and “Hamlet,” but he decided to make room for one more skill in his biography, and that is writing.

In his debut novel, he sketches the story of William...more
Taylor K.
Jul 22, 2014 Taylor K. rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: lovers
Recommended to Taylor K. by: my crush on Ethan Hawke
This was a lot better than I remembered it.

The story of a first love, supposedly fiction, but it reads too much like something that's intimately a part of his history, so I would say it has to be semiautobiographical.

William is a young Texan actor, recently moved to NYC. He's young (20), attractive and cocky, and has no trouble with ladies, at least as far as the bedroom is concerned. One night out he meets Sarah, seemingly his opposite, a shy woman who wants to be a singer. He's drawn to her qu...more
Helen
read this in a few hours and loved it. was a little difficult to get into, but well worth the effort.
I liked how both William and Sarah were so easy to like and dislike in equal measures.
the story is a simple one... the birth, falling apart and aftermath of a relationship. it is written with heart and a sense of sincerity and authenticity which made it so readable.

I had read Ash Wednesday by Ethan Hawke previously and loved that too. I am certainly looking forward to reading more by him!
Fee
A simple book which caught my attention, purely due to my love of Ethan's acting work. The book was easily read and quite simple. I couldn't put it down, however i was disappointed at the end. Some lovely quotes within the book such as....

'First off, you're going to die. So that said, there is not much to worry about. No matter what else happens, you really only have two options: you can either handle things well and be happy, or you can handle them poorly and be miserable.'
Sarah
I'm always skeptical of authors turned writers, especially when they are attempting fiction. (Looking at you, James Franco / Actors Anonymous). However, Ethan Hawke is a damn good writer. His prose is simple, characters memorable, and ultimately this boy meets girl, boy loses girl story really sat with me. Terse book clocking in just under 200 pages that should come with you on your next vacation or beach day. Pleasantly surprised.
Oceana2602
"The love story of the 90s", was - I believe -what the review said, and yes, it does seem familiar somehow. The parties with strangers, the aimlessness of wandering through life with no idea what's going on or what one is doing there, whereever there may be.
But other than the fact that my 90s were pretty close to the characters nineties (minus the whole marriage and making movies thing), this book could be set at any time. It's a love story, and love, as we all know, is eternal.

Only, it's a ver...more
Corrina
While Hawke is a good writer, this book contained too much language and sexuality for me. Instead of a "coming of age" novel, I kept wondering why it wasn't in the romance section of my library.

I think Hawke could've done a better job by keeping the sexual stuff out and getting into the main character, William's, head more and expanding his charcter. I felt like the sex was a crutch and Hawke was avoiding something. (Hint, Hint! Books don't need sex to be interesting or sell!)

I loved his refer...more
Michela
Quanto è difficile innamorarsi e capire la persona che si ama? Quanto è difficile distinguere i sentimenti presenti da quelli che ci hanno segnato nell'infanzia? Si inizia a leggere e si fa fatica a smettere. Si ama e si odia Sarah, ci si innamora delle fragilità di William. Ci si dimentica che l'autore è un blasonato attore. Merita la lettura.
B.T. Hogan
Haven't revisited this in about 15 years, but the 22 year old me gives it 4 stars. I know its fashionable to dismiss something created by an artist who is not driving in his lane (in this case, acting), but Hawke can craft a decent yarn. I really believed the grungy angst on display.
Doug Lewis
Ok - was NOT expecting to be profoundly moved by this book. But I was. Hawke seemed like he was staring straight into the most hidden parts of my consciousness. The way he described things like attraction, love, dysfunction, ect were just absolutely disarming to me.

It seems like we've all come up with euphemisms for how we are actually thinking about things like attraction and love, and Hawke takes those mechanisms and tears them down, using language that you've never eve let your mind use to de...more
Mikelkpoet
Tomorrow, I must go to the library to pick up six books
that I have placed on hold. I embarked on, "The Lust Lizard
of Melancholy Cove," by Christopher Moore, this morning.
Yesterday, I finished, "The Hottest State," by Ethan Hawke.
As, with his book, "Ash Wednesday," I found this novel to
be fascinating and fast, a real thriller, and page turner.

Mikel K
Gene
Jan 24, 2009 Gene rated it 1 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: no one
I like Ethan as an actor, but boy, what a whiner in this book! ugh! Every character was unlikeable, even the minor ones, and I was hoping that as they all randomly crossed paths with each other, that they'd all end up crossing an actual path together and getting hit by a bus. That would be the ending this book needed, because then they'd all get what they deserved. They all were so selfish and self-absorbed, and it's sadly what the so-called Generation X embraces as its definition. Not that I kn...more
Arianna
[before reading:]
I read this book years ago, and remember liking it, but don't remember anything about it. So I wanted to pick it up again, because it seems like a quick read & I could use that right now!!

[after reading:]
Ethan Hawke writes heartbreak really, really well. Clearly he's been through his share. I loved the characters, and how real everything felt. The story ended on a note that rung true, as well. I truly appreciated the true-to-life-ness of this story. I'm not very coherent rig...more
Lori
I bought this the day it came out... just because of the author... the cutie pie greasy haired lead guy in Reality Bites.

I read this book twice within a month of having it. and have reread it multiple times since.

Its one of those cute, heartbreaking, poor guy sort of quick reads.... I wanted to be the girl that broke this kids heart. I wanted to be the girl he pined for. I wanted to be the girl that picked up the pieces and put him all back together again.The girl that he treated like shit so i...more
Michelle Lemaster
I have to admit it. I bought this book because I was feeling mean. Mean and cynical. When I saw Ethan Hawke's first book, with its lame-ass title, I couldn't help but pick it up (for a weighty $0.27 at the local Ecothrift). I bought it to read and make fun of. I bought it as a party conversation piece (You wouldn't believe what I have! Come check out my book by Ethan Hawke- aspiring author!). I certainly didn't buy it to be impressed. This is where what might figure that I'd have read it and say...more
Pythia
Primo romanzo dell'autore, letto dopo "Mercoledì delle ceneri". Se avessi rispettato l'ordine di pubblicazione, forse non avrei letto il secondo, e sarebbe stato un peccato davvero.
Hawke apre una finestra sul modo dei sentimenti visti da un punto di vista maschile, con intensità e sincerità. La prima parte del racconto ha qualche luogo comune di troppo, ma la narrazione scorre liscia, senza intoppi. L'ho trovato comunque un po' superficiale, soprattutto rispetto a "Mercoledì...": un ritratto sch...more
Barry Bridges
Celebrity author tells of passionate first love.
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Ethan Green Hawke is a three-time Academy Award-nominated American actor, writer and film director.

In 1988, Hawke was cast in a role in director Peter Weir's Dead Poets Society; the film's success was considered Hawke's breakthrough. He left school and appeared in A Midnight Clear, Alive, Reality Bites, Before Sunrise, Gattaca, The Newton Boys, Great Expectations, and many other movies. In 2001, h...more
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“Don't you find it odd," she continued, "that when you're a kid, everyone, all the world, encourages you to follow your dreams. But when you're older, somehow they act offended if you even try.” 307 likes
“It's kind of like this," Decker said: "You wake up in the middle of the night and you're dying for a glass of milk. So you stumble out of bed, stub your toe in the darkness, scream with pain, and limp your way to the refrigerator. You open it up and the light is brilliant. You're saved. Then you fold back the paper container, open up the milk, take a deep breath, and put it to your lips. Only --- yhrch! --- the milk is spoiled. Sure, you're bummed. You fold the thing close and put it back in the fridge. It's dark again. But as you're making your way to your lonely old bed, you think to yourself, Wait a minute, maybe that milk wasn't so bad. And I am still thirsty? So you do an about-face and go back to the fridge. The light warms you up again. You take a sip and yup, it's still spoiled. That, to me, is the fitting metaphor for most every relationship I've ever been in.” 25 likes
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