Cover Image: Yes No Maybe So

Yes No Maybe So

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date:

Member Reviews

I received a digital copy of this book from Netgalley and the publisher in exchange for an honest review!  

Becky Abertalli is a very familiar name in the YA circuit, and I have read her work for years and enjoyed it so much when I was younger. I hadn’t heard of Aisha Saeed before reading this book and this collab seemed interesting to me because of that.

The novel itself is a very typical YA plot of first romances and the twist for this is the inclusion of the political discourse throughout. The issue I had with this novel didn’t lie in the plot or the general writing of this novel, however it was written in collaboration worked well and managed to make two writers create something that read cohesive and continued to interest me.

The issue I had was how weak a lot of the points that were trying to be made felt, in that I honestly believe if expanded upon or changed in some way would have improved my experience with this book. The theme of growing older and seeing the political world form around you however being powerless to change anything with a vote was a topic that I felt was well discussed and relatable as I remember that feeling too well being a teen who was unable to truly speak out regarding the EU independence referendum in the UK. Many other teenagers or even older young adults can understand this and the novel deals with it fine. Other elements however such as aspects of Maya’s Muslim faith were not dealt with as much as it could have been considering the plot of the novel. Certain smaller aspects of the faith could have been explored even further, to give an intimate understand of life as an American Muslim teenager. 

Overall, I enjoyed this as a read despite some points I would have liked explored and I hope that Abertalli explores other collaborations as this is where I prefer her writing being, just as she did with Adam Silvera and with this novel.
Was this review helpful?
Love in a time of Politics - unusual YA setting and pairing.

Unusual maybe, but all the more refreshing for it.

A Jewish introvert who looks forward to volunteering for his local representative even less than speaking at his sister's Bat Mitzvah. 
"I just stammer and blush and can barely form words. But they, better that than the alternative... which, as I now know, involves phlegm, a touch of vomit, and State Senator Mathews' black Oxford shoes."

A Muslim girl with only one friend (who's leaving for college) who's not happy about being 'made' to volunteer at the campaign office. Will anyone place a bet on what might happen?

I jest. While you may feel you know what's likely to occur, the unique setting for this YA story brings a fresh feel to the well-worn story of opposites attracting. Jamie brings us the Jewish family angle, his fear of speaking in public. A cute little sister (slightly underused). A powerhouse of a tech-friendly Grandma. Maya is key to the plot, with her Muslim background (working mother who puts on a headscarf to answer the door) and whose best (and only) friend is a year older and moving on in life as she prepares for college.

The political story, I really enjoyed. Talk of candidates and their agendas, the work of the volunteers, it was a second plot within the YA 'romance'/friendship one. I found Jamie and Maya a rather adorable and empathetic pairing, both real-feeling articulate young people. 

It feels very up-to-date, with references to The Good Place (a new favourite of mine) and Donald Trump. There is a racist incident that feels a little too neatly tied-up, but does form part of the overall story of Islamophobia that the story hovers round.

Sweet romance story at the centre of a small political drama. And a great way to spark a little teenage interest in the elections they will very soon be allowed to take part in. And should care about - Jamie and Maya's actions here prove that.

Nothing unsuitable here for young teens, recommended for ages 12 and over.

With thanks to Netgalley for providing an advance reading copy.
Was this review helpful?
Yes, No, Maybe So is a beautiful and hopeful story about first love and activism, not your usual combination but the authors have created a poignant political love story. Maya and Jamie might be the sweetest characters I have ever read about, they were honest and awkward teenagers who made as many mistakes as they did triumphs.

I've never read a novel that followed a political election so closely, and although this is fiction, it definitely gives readers a taste of true activism in America. The authors managed to include both the highs and the lows of campaigning, the weight of failure as well as the hopes of success and in particular the motivation to continue. It's so easy to give up on a project or hobby if it starts to look difficult or even impossible, persevering is always the hardest part of learning a new skill and Maya & Jamie journeyed this road together.

The story was rather slow, so this definitely won't appeal to fast-paced action fans, it's much more of a real life slow burn that tackles common teen problems such as friendship issues, divorce and first kisses. Becky Albertalli always manages to write contemporary YA fiction that is very modern and relevant to the time we're in, with Aisha Saeed's introduction of a Muslim character the story integrated a new and diverse narrative that focused on religious aspects such as the very real ban on hijab and how this affects Muslims.

I've read each of Becky Albertalli's novel and unfortunately as much as I loved Yes, No, Maybe So it didn't blow me away as much as her previous work. I haven't read either of Aisha Saeed's books so far, though they are on my TBR, but I could definitely see myself enjoying her writing style, she created a fierce heroine in Maya who wasn't afraid to voice her opinions. My only issue with the writing of this novel is the narrative of each character felt the same, there wasn't enough of Maya and Jamie's individual personalities on the page to differentiate between the chapters. If I didn't take notice of the named character at the beginning of the chapter it was almost impossible to guess who was the narrator, the characters felt too similar.

All in all, I really enjoyed Yes, No, Maybe So, it was a refreshingly simple love story based around a fascinating election campaign. I would love more political love stories and will definitely be moving Aisha Saeed's books higher up my TBR. A definite recommended read for any YA fan looking for a cute romance with added activism.
Was this review helpful?
I adore both of these authors works separately and together, they have produced an equally stellar novel. Having met both authors at a recent event, it was also wonderful to see how passionate they were about what to get young people to get their voices heard.
Was this review helpful?
I was excited to read this book because I love everything by Becky Albertalli and this was my first Aisha Saeed read. I thought this book was just going to be a cute YA romance but this book was relevant, romantic and realistic. The romance took a back seat to the friendship and political aspects, which I loved.

I really loved how timely everything in this novel was from their pop culture references of The Office, rideshare services and Target to the political climate. I loved that these authors put their own experiences in this book and so it came out to be something that is incredibly true to life. Because of this the book isn't always sunshine and happiness so acre should be exercised before you pick this one up. 

I liked the characters in this novel, their friendship with each other and their relationship with their families and I could see both of them reflected in pupils that I have taught over the years. I would loved to hear more from these characters, perhaps to find out where they go from here. 

I think that personally I was looking for a little more romance in this book when I came to it but that was just my personal choice at the time and I perhaps would have preferred there to be a little more romance between other characters but I really did enjoy the political aspect of this storyline and would even have liked for that to be even more prevalent than it was. 

Let's have more authors taking risks like this in terms of putting both politics and pop culture in their books and also highlighting friendships during pivotal times in our lives.
Was this review helpful?
Another book I was really looking forward to and it held up!

I liked actually seeing a book involving politics especially in YA and the fact we see different religions in this as well.

It did take me a while to get into this as I personally found it slightly slower paced, but I did enjoy it overall!
Was this review helpful?
*3.5 Stars*

This was okay. The characters were layered, the plot was well paced. The whole political background was interesting and entertaining. But I also found this pretty predictable. Also, some things annoyed me greatly. Both along the characters but also with american laws. I still flew through this book and was very entertained.
Was this review helpful?
From bestselling authors Becky Albertalli and Aisha Saeed comes a beautiful and timely new novel about politics and first love. Starring an interracial romance, loveable and realistic characters and important discussions about race, religion and politics, this book will capture your whole heart. 
So first of all, these characters. I would absolutely love to marry Jamie. Or Maya. They're both so awesome and so real and relatable! Jamie is sweet, if slightly awkward. He's deeply loving for his family and friends, he's smart and stubborn. It was awesome to see a proud Jewish boy front and centre. Jame is so real and relatable! He was flawed, for sure, but in the best way! 
Maya was kickass and awesome. She was determined and brave, smart and kind. Similarly, it was absolutely great to see a Muslim girl starring! I actually learned some things about Muslim culture I didn't already know, which is always great. Maya was awesome and funny and fiercely intelligent. 
Of course, these two TOGETHER. All their interactions warmed my heart, and their blossoming romance was ADORABLE. I swear I was just smiling broadly and all squishy inside near the end! I love how supportive of each other they are, and how clearly made for each other they are. 
This book discusses so many important topics and I am HERE FOR IT! It's one of the only political-focused YA books I've ever read and I WANT MORE. It discusses antisemitism and islamophobia in a witty and realistic way from two #ownvoices authors, with humour and love. There are themes of feminism too, and activism runs the whole way through. This book also portrays the ignorance those not affected by certain issues and prejudices can have, without being bad people, which I LOVE because it's something I see around me every day. One of my favourite things and that resonated most with me, was the fragile hope the main characters had before the election, that thought that maybe this time, finally something better could happen, that maybe we finally stand a chance. 
The writing style was awesome. It flows so easily and kept me hooked so I never got bored, without being too simplistic at all! Aisha and Becky portray their characters SO well through their prose, and their emotions fell right through the page into my HEART! I swear I was feeling anger and sadness and love and loss along with Jamie and Maya. 
Yes No Maybe So is at once heartwarming and heart wrenching, a beautiful story of how activism can connect us, of hope and healing. It approaches important subjects with wit and care, in a humorous, adorable and deeply enjoyable story that will remind teenagers and adults alike to fight for change and love.
Was this review helpful?
After reading a collection of 2 and 3 star books I was feeling the need for a book that I could just be swept away with the characters. Luckily for me this book came along at exactly the right moment. 

Yes No Maybe So follows two teens who get coerced by their families into canvassing for the local election. The book then follows their growing friendship as well as their political involvement, 

 As a British person it was interesting to see the American politics side of the book. It is obvious where the authors sit on this situation. I was happy following both of the character perspectives and really liked the side characters, including the Instagramming gran! 

Overall this book was lots of fun.
Was this review helpful?
An adorable collaboration from Albertalli and Saeed, which is surely going to be a hit amongst the community. But sadly, I found it rather uninspiring and quite frankly, a bore to read.
Was this review helpful?
Yes No Maybe So tells the story of teens Jamie and Maya who are volunteering to help out with a local Democrat's campaign. They door knock to try to get people's commitment to go out and vote.

The story is inspired by Becky and Aisha's own experiences dooknocking for local campaigns as well as their fears and the microagressions they both experience om a post-Trump election world, as Jewish and Muslim women.

I think this book did a great job of showing that it does still matter what you think even if you personally can't vote. And there are other ways you can make change in your community. 

The love story was believable and rather sweet. There were some misunderstandings and things they kept from eachother, but it didn't become unbearable angst. And I felt that the conclusion was satisfying.
Was this review helpful?
Yes No Maybe So - Becky Albertalli and Aisha Saheed

A Jew and a Muslim go out canvassing together... While that might sound like the beginning of a joke with a questionable punchline it is a good basic summery of the plot line of Yes No Maybe So, which is as delightful as you might expect for something with Becky Albertalli's name attached to it. Also weirdly, this is the second book about politically active teenagers canvassing for a Jewish candidate standing against racists. That wasn't intentional and if I'm honest. This was the better of the two.

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 maybe it’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.

If you take a look at the authors' note at the start of this book, you'll see that this was written as a response to the result of the US election in 2016 and the current political climate and the hostility that is being faced by certain communities thanks to the far right being validated by politicians. Its something that has been growing around the world and speaking as someone living in the UK, I've seen first hand how disgusting people are being now that it is somewhat fashionable to be a racist. This isn't all doom and gloom and politically motivated, though there is a running thread of the current political situation, at its heart this is a book about love, respect and understanding. Also, we should all know by now after Simon vs the Homosapien Agenda, Becky Albertalli is a master of cute romances. Like, serious Maya and Jamie's slow burn romance as they're out canvassing is so sweet I think its given me cavities.

Maya and Jamie are adorable. Like, so adorable. I can't even. They are our two narrators and they're both so well fleshed out that its easy to tell their narration apart. It's also wonderful to see them learn more about the religious and cultural aspects of their heritages. Maya is Muslim and the book starts during Ramadan, something that is completely natural for her, but for Jamie, though he knows it is happening, it isn't something that occurs to him. It was so nice being able to learn alongside the two of them and seeing the patience and respect that is in place when Maya reminds Jamie about how Ramadan works. Also, I love seeing teens that are politically woke. It's like my kryptonite. One of the beautiful things about this book is even if you aren't politically engaged yourself, you can still easily engage with this and I thoroughly recommend that you do.

Romance and politics aside, something else that this book does well is representing all the different types of love that we experience every day. The way these two authors have created friendships and family relationships is so good, like I am jealous of these people. Maya's family unit is falling apart, but the love and respect between her parents is still very much evident. Her friendship with her bestie also seems to be falling apart and seeing how this changes and evolves throughout the book gave me so many feels. And then there's Jamie's family, which consists of the kind of precocous little sister I've always wanted and an awesome grandmother, aka Instagramm, who is something of a social media star. His friendship group is awesome too. Like, I think groups of nerdy lads who are bffs and have group chats, play boardgames and hang out in the disney store together might be more of a kryptonite for me than teenagers who know what's going on in the world. Every single character in this book is so well rounded and fleshed out, even secondary ones like Shelby feel like real people that you could meet in every day life.

I've read Becky Albertalli before, so I kinda knew what to expect from her, but this is my first experience with Aisha Saheed and I am desperately looking for more of her books to read. Send me your recommendations!

Anyway, I've rambled on for long enough. This book is amazing, it's my second five star read of the year. Read this and Americans, take inspiration from Jamie and Maya and do what you can to make a difference. In the UK were stuck with a bumbling racist with bad hair for the next five years, but you guys have an election coming up, so do your thing.

I was sent this by netgalley back last year, but it's now out in the world so make sure to look out for it.
Was this review helpful?
When I saw this on NetGalley I just had to read it! I went into it completely blind and was so surprised at the contents of this book! I never thought I'd be that into a book based around politics but it was so refreshing seeing Maya and Jamie, who can't yet vote yet, do all they can for their political party! It was fun reading about what they are doing politics wise but also see their personal lives and getting invested in them. I defintely reccomend this book!!
Was this review helpful?
The combination of these two authors? Incredible.

The entire plot was very interesting and captivating. Seeing teenagers deal with family issues and reluctantly starting a friendship, but then connecting over common ground is something that I can't get enough of. Plus, the characters felt like real teenagers and most importantly, like real people.

On another note, sometimes the references to pop culture felt almost forced and they didn't always have to be included. Also, I get that some drama had to be added in, but some things felt slightly out of proportion. Finally, the story wrapped up way too quickly for my liking. So many things could have been elaborated even further and the fact that they weren't felt almost off.

Overall, I truly enjoyed reading this book and I'd highly recommend it to everyone!
Was this review helpful?
This book wasn't just the cutest, it was full of important messages! 

I loved how the story was brought from the perspective of both characters, Jamie and Maya. They both bring their own narrative, one from a white, male, Jewish perspective, the other from a POC, female and Muslim perspective. What I loved most is how conversations about their religion, getting to know each other and their navigation as religious teenagers, is so normalised. But it also gave me a peak into conversations I usually don't hear. I loved how I got to be part of a Muslim family in the middle of Ramadan and celebrating Eid. I was also part of a Jewish family, preparing a bat mitzvah. And at the same time, I was part of all of them being part of a campaign. 

Besides that, it also touches upon racism and politics, and how it affects those that don't have the power to change it, e.g. by not having the right to vote. But these teenagers find other ways of trying to affect these changes in society. They don't give up and give everything in their power. They have do deal with adrenaline, highs and lows, love and disappointment,... They are defining their identity in this world. And we get to hear their thoughts, experience their experiences and feel their feelings. I felt inspired by their courage and perseverance.  

I felt truly invested in their lives, and from the moment that I read the last words of the book, I missed these precious characters. It's real, it's relevant, it's pure, it's lovely. A fun and easy read, while still carrying multiple important messages we don't hear often enough.
Was this review helpful?
The ARC of this book was provided by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

3.5 stars

At first, I thought this book was going to be a sweet romance with just a few political themes in the background. But I was wrong. Politcs is one of the main themes here and the plot tries to involve young people in today political environment.
It took me by surprise with how relevant Yes No Maybe So was not only with politics, but with religion and representation too. I think the religion part was handled in a very respectful way. Maya is Muslim, while Jamie is Jewish. We have the chance to learn a lot about their customs and traditions and how these ones relate to the cultural, social and political climate in their country.
Maya and Jamie were two realistic characters and I liked reading about them. Jamie is such a cinnamon roll! So sweet and awkward. Maya is a strong teenage girl who is going through some stuff with her family. He's always there for her and is very supportive.

But now, let’s come to the things I enjoyed the least.
The first two-thirds of the book were a bit boring. The actions were kind of repetitive and it was all too slow for me. The last part was more interesting because there were a lot of things going on, but I found the ending too rushed and closed in an abruptly way.
Anyway, I think this novel was enjoyable and I hope there is going to be more books with such themes.
Was this review helpful?
I went into this, thinking it would be a cute summer romance story with a bit of politics. And I was both right and wrong. It was definitely a cute summer romance story, but politics and religion are both central topics being discussed as well. I was so positively surprised by this!

I have to admit I don’t know everything about American politics. So I had to look some things up, especially on the electing and voting system because it’s really different from Germany. What I want to say is: if you’re not American you should probably read up on their voting system. Also, what’s the thing with Target? It sounds like Disneyland for staying-at-home-for-the-summer people?

Anyways. I already loved the authors‘ note in the beginning. Reading it, I knew what I was up for. It was a political beginning and the book itself was super political which was amazing. It all starts out with Maya and Jamie having to canvass against their will. Maya does it to get a car, Jamie does it because his whole family is super involved with the election campaign of the Democrats. The two were childhood friends but they lost contact until they’re forced to work together. Much has changed, but they soon find reconnect and become friends. As they go from door to door, they learn a lot about each other and about the world they live in. What they thought would be a bit of campaigning turns out to get much more serious, the more they get involved. They both experience injustice and prejudice from anti-semitic and islamophobic people, and they decide to act against it. Both of them grow and learn so much during the story, they find their voices.

And all the while, they not only have to deal with politics, but also their everyday life. Jamie’s chaotic, but amazing family is stressing about his sister’s bat mitzvah and Maya’s family is kind of breaking apart. I enjoyed how all of that was interwoven with politics to make for a great plot. And it was really diverse as well, in a really casual way and I loved that as well! There were black and brown people, muslims, jews and christians, gay and queer people.

I absolutely enjoyed the book up until it was time for some drama. The drama was unnecessary and was solved in an unsatisfying way. The ending in general felt a bit rushed and didn’t quite fit the rest of the book, which was rather slow paced.

To sum it up: I liked this story a lot! It has amazing, sweet characters, covers important topics in a great way and has some good messages. The most important thing is: Go vote. If you’re old enough. If not, inform yourself about politics and politicians in your area. Get other people to vote. Voting is important. Really, forking important.
Was this review helpful?
This was one of my favourite releases of the year, and it's safe to say I really enjoyed it. But at the same time, it wasn't as good as I hoped it would be.

This might be an unpopular opinion, but I really think Becky Albertalli is at her best when she writes a character closer to her own experience. Sure, Simon Vs made a huge impact, but to me, The Upside of Unrequited is a lot better, not in the least because it feels a lot more authentic. I felt the same way about Yes No Maybe So. Jamie was a really soft, really loveable main character who I couldn't help but root for. So this was a big plus for the book.

I also really enjoyed Aisha Saeed's chapters, from Maya's perspective, and I really want to read her other books as well.

I did feel a bit of a disconnect between the alternating chapters though. There was a clear difference in writing style, but those differences didn't enhance each other like they could have. It made the book feel a little disconnected instead.

Overall, my main problem with this book is that it moved much too slowly. Then towards the end, a lot of drama is inserted, and it just felt fabricated to me. I think the book sometimes missed direction and it could have been a lot shorter.

But that doesn't mean it wasn't worth reading. This is a great book to introduce teens to politics and learning to care about their communities. It's a great book to teach teens that no, you can't change the world on your own, but if a lot of people make small changes, the world is slowly going to change. It was a very hopeful and uplifting book because of that, but also very realistic.

CWs: racism, islamophobia, antisemitism
Was this review helpful?
I love dual narratives, but never really find myself favouring one character to the other. That wasn't the case here – I much rathered Maya's chapters to Jamie's. I can't really put my finger on why. I think it might be a sign, though, that I should seek out more of Aisha's books. 

This book is full of amazing representation, from anxiety to Muslim main characters with much in between. I don't want to say this is an "issues" book, but it's for sure covering many talking and thinking points of the moment. This is a definite must read.
Was this review helpful?
Many people have already said many things about this one and I don't think I can say much more. It's a good book that explores topics like politics and religion, but also friendship and romance. It has a diverse set of characters that gives a depth to the story and it is, in one word, good. It challenges the beliefs that teens are idle and how their thoughts and opinions might not weigh as much as an adult's.
I could have done with a bit more interest in the secondary characters and I did have to remind myself that they were teenagers and therefore allowed to be a bit mad at life. I'm also not very interested in politics - especially American politics, so those parts did drag for me. It's not a point down for the book, though, since that opinion is entirely on me. It was a important part of the story and handled well - I could have fallen asleep, but didn't, so that's a plus. 
Anyway, did you like Albertalli's other books? Then this is just for you. I haven't read anything by Saeed before, so I can't say much about that. 

/ Denise
Was this review helpful?