Friday 10 July 2020
Yes No Maybe So by: Becky Albertalli and Aisha Saeed
Genre: Young Adult Fiction, Contemporary
Published: February 4, 2020 by: Balzer + Bray
Rating: 4/5 stars
CW: islamaphobia, anti-semitism, white supremacy, divorce
Jamie Goldberg has started canvassing for his local state senate candidate, and the element of talking to strangers has proved to be very nerve-wracking for him. Enter Maya, his classmate who is having the worst Ramadan ever after her best friend moves and her parents announce their separation. Maya has been roped into canvassing with Jamie, and the two get off to a rocky start. But, after Maya pledges to help Jamie with his upcoming speech for his sister's Bat Mitzvah, and Jamie helps Maya fight against an islamaphobic bill being passed in Georgia, they grow closer together. Local activism is grueling work, but Jamie and Maya are about to tackle it all.
I read this book for the SoShelf Distancing Book Club. I was pretty excited because I have read books by Becky Albertalli before and I really enjoyed them. This was my first book by Aisha Saeed but I definitely would like to read more from her.
The main thing that I loved about this book was how specific it was. This meaning that you could tell the two authors were well-rounded in the topic of political canvassing, and in Georgia politics. The issues in the book were very applicable to real-life issues going on in the US today. I'm not American so this book taught me a bit more about American politics due to its details.
I enjoyed the two main characters. Jamie was so precious. It was nice to see a guy who is not afraid to be emotional and vulnerable. I also appreciated how strong Maya was. She spoke her mind, and wasn't afraid to put Jamie in his place whenever he would get something about Islam wrong. I thought they worked really well together.
The plot was engaging, and the book was overall very easy to read. Even though there were some heavy themes, for example the explicit racism that targets both Maya and Jamie, I still found this book easy to get through. I think it is important for YA books to feature young people making change.
The only thing that I didn't love about this book, that I have seen a lot of own voices reviewers comment on as well, is the portrayal of Maya's Pakistani identity. She is described as a Pakistani-American Muslim, and yet her Pakistani side is often roped in with her Muslim side as if the two concepts are the same. This is not the case. There are Muslims all over the world, with different cultures and customs. Similarly there are Pakistanis who are not Muslim. Being half-Pakistani myself, I was looking forward to reading about some rich descriptions on food and other Pakistani customs. I didn't really get that. I think the authors could have done a better job at showing both her Pakistani side, and her Muslim side.
This being said, I did enjoy this book. I loved reading a YA book with still an in-depth look into American politics, and I think the two main characters were quite lovable. Give this a read if you are into politics, or if you just want a good diverse story.
Have you read Yes No Maybe So? What did you think?
Emily @ Paperback Princess