FAITH ... FAMILY ... FREEDOM
Tyler has always abided by these three words. As a star high-school athlete from a powerful family, with an adoring girlfriend and a bright future in baseball, he is the perfect Son of America’s Fourth Great Awakening. But when his best friend suddenly disappears, it sets him on a path that will lead him to question -- and lose -- everything he once believed in.
Casey is a Chaff. Despised because of the crimes of his parents -- and unashamed of his attraction to other boys -- he lives on borrowed time, knowing that on his eighteenth birthday he will be taken away to an unknown fate. As that date approaches, he plans on final seduction, and in his sights he has the perfect target -- Tyler.
The America they live in is not the America we know. There are no Pride parades, no Gay-Straight Alliances, no “It Gets Better” -- only the ever-present threat of the secret police and the looming terror of the Reorientation Center. And yet, as these two boys discover when they grow closer together, there are also dreams of escape, and the courage to fight. In a country that sees them as worthless, Tyler and Casey find their true worth -- in themselves, and in what they mean to each other.
In a dsytopian vision of present-day Los Angeles, Chaffs, teenager Tyler “TNT” Treppenhouse, has to choose between love and being true to himself and following the rules of the restrictive “Nation.” With shades of 1984, “reclaimees” who fail to integrate into the rigid society are dubbed Chaffs, people who are disappeared and forgotten. After Tyler’s best friend vanishes he can’t forget, and his new friend Casey introduces him to an underground world, he knows he can’t pretend that he still fits in the Dawn Patrol with the other patriot zealots. Casey is short on time and both he and Tyler know it: in addition to being a Chaff, Casey is gay. With his eighteenth birthday coming up, Casey’s disappearance date is looming and Tyler fears there’s nothing he can do to help him. But as Casey becomes more than just a friend, Tyler knows he has to try.
Under the dictatorial powers of President Muldoon, all must put “Nation First!” or suffer the consequences. Chaffs focuses on the hypocrisy that punishes others for what those in power do routinely. Both romantic and hard-hitting, Chaffs offers a frightening glimpse of what America would be under the rule of the religious right.