Yes No Maybe So by Becky Albertalli and Aisha Saeed
Publication Date: February 4th, 2020
Jamie Goldberg is cool with volunteering for his local state senate candidate—as long as he’s behind the scenes. When it comes to speaking to strangers (or, let’s face it, speaking at all to almost anyone), Jamie’s a choke artist. There’s no way he’d ever knock on doors to ask people for their votes…until he meets Maya.
Maya Rehman’s having the worst Ramadan ever. Her best friend is too busy to hang out, her summer trip is canceled, and now her parents are separating. Why her mother thinks the solution to her problems is political canvassing—with some awkward dude she hardly knows—is beyond her.
Going door to door isn’t exactly glamorous, but maybeit’s not the worst thing in the world. After all, the polls are getting closer—and so are Maya and Jamie. Mastering local activism is one thing. Navigating the cross-cultural romance of the century is another thing entirely.
I received this from Edelweiss+ but this does not impact my review.
Disclaimer: While I don’t necessarily like the idea of a Muslim girl dating, that’s my personal preference and the fact that there is a romance element to this story does not change my rating of it because: YOU DO YOU, SIS. (and thankfully this wasn’t like the whole “Savior” trope or anything which definitely would have impacted my review.)
I was so so excited to read this book because it just sounded really cute and let’s be honest, the cover is adorable! I know this is pitched as a romance, but honestly this was more of just a story about politics and racism and family and friendship. The romance was a side piece and it added some cuteness to the story, but the reason I really loved this book was the things that were discussed.
This was told in a dual POV with alternating chapters. I like this technique for this book just because it added more to each of the characters’ stories and I really appreciated getting to know each side of the story and seeing each of their inner thoughts. I loved seeing the tensions between them while also seeing the much needed behind-the-scenes stuff.
Maya was a really relatable character. She’s funny and smart and doesn’t like change (same, girl). It felt so real when she talked about how she felt about her parents’ separating and how her best friend is leaving. i totally understood her conflicting feelings about everything and her insecurities. It was just really refreshing to see a character that was so honest about her feelings with her family. It was interesting to see a not so perfect family.
Maya and Sara’s friendship drama was an interesting layer to the story and I honestly really understood how Maya was feeling. Change sucks and it was good to see that other people can feel that way.
Jamie was so adorable and awkward and funny! It was so adorable to see his sibling relationship with Sophie. I loved that he took care of his sister and his grandmother and really cared about that even when he was trying to hang out with Maya. he took his responsibilities seriously and honestly, brother of the year award! It was great seeing him be super awkward and learn to be more confident and more comfortable in his own skin. I loved that his friendship with Maya helped him learn to be himself. I also loved that he made an effort to learn about Islam, especially because Maya was fasting for Ramadan and he was absolutely clueless at first. It was hilarious to see him have to deal with hangry Maya!
Sophie, of course, was absolutely hilarious trying to be a little matchmaker. I loved her appearances and her meddling! She never failed to make me laugh!
Another character that kept making an appearance was Gabe. I straight up wanted to punch this guy oh my gosh he was THE WORST. I understood where he was coming from, but oh my gosh… he needed to seriously calm down and think. He was just REALLY passionate and it sometimes just got into his head. He was the major source of drama and gah, he made me SO MAD.
ALSO YOU KNOW WHAT WAS COOL? The fact that both characters had no issues with their own religion. They just both happened to be Muslim and Jewish and it was there just openly without any of the characters feeling uncomfortable about it. I just really appreciated that the characters didn’t deal with any negative feelings about their own religions. It was just a fact and there was no “she’s not like other Muslims” pointlessness. I literally appreciated that so much.
Now for the story, as I’ve already said, it’s more about everything else other than the romance, at least in my opinion. The romance was there, but the other stuff had more impact to me. I liked that this was relevant to now because of the political divide in our nation. It was incredibly REAL to see them deal with political campaigning and trying to deal with some really intense racism.
The fact that Maya had to deal with her parents’ sudden separation while also having to deal with her friend leaving while ALSO fasting and having to go canvassing in the middle of summer… oof, her power. I lover her passion and intensity! Honestly the family “drama” made me even more invested and I really appreciated it.
I also loved that this was set in my home state! I got to hear about some familiar places and it always makes me happy when I see stories set where I live!
I would recommend this to anyone who likes Target runs for absolutely anything (or nothing except to just walk around the magical place), The Good Place references, falling asleep while watching the Office, instagram famous Grandmas with dogs, sassy little sisters that want to play matchmaker, walking from door to door to ask about politics, really cheesy political slogans, and 7 layered chocolate cake. If you like family and friendship drama, a really awkward but totally cute slowmance, Goldfish (the snack that smiles back), and going viral on social media you would definitely enjoy this!