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What parents need to know
Parents need to know that New York Times bestselling authors Becky Albertalli (Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda) and Aisha Saeed (Amal Unbound) have teamed up to co-author Yes No Maybe So, a teen romance set against the background of a hard-fought political campaign. Going door-to-door canvassing for a progressive candidate for the Georgia State Senate is not the way Jamie Goldberg (who's White and Jewish) or Maya Rehman (who's Pakistani American and Muslim) imagined they'd be spending the summer before their senior year. Much to their surprise, they find they make a great team, both as first-time political activists and as friends. But there's a romantic spark between them that all of their friends can see, even if Jamie and Maya deny it. There's some strong language ("f--k," "crap," "hell," "bulls--t," "a--hole") by both teens and adults, and one scene with kissing. The storyline pits a good-guy Democrat against an ultra-right-wing Republican, and in the words of their characters and in the author's note, the authors hold nothing back when it comes to their feelings about conservative Republicans.
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What's the story?
In YES NO MAYBE SO, Jamie Goldberg's and Maya Rehman's mothers think they have a great plan for how the teens should spend their summer: volunteering on the campaign for a long-shot candidate for Georgia's State Senate. While Jamie likes the idea of getting out of the house and away from the planning for his sister's bat mitzvah, the thought of talking with perfect strangers fills him with horror. Maya is trying to adjust to a new world in which her parents are now living apart and her closest friend is about to leave for college. And it's Ramadan, which means she'll have to spend the day outside in the hot Georgia sun, without eating or drinking until sunset. But they begin going door-to-door, sometimes talking with receptive voters, other times being rebuffed, and once being confronted by a man who makes racist remarks about Maya and Muslims. When they discover that a bill has been introduced in the Georgia legislature calling for a partial ban on head and face coverings, they begin printing up and distributing flyers against the bill. As they spend more and more time together, their friends begin to see that something more than a friendship may be developing. But Maya has made it clear that she doesn't see the point in dating anyone, even Jamie. As the campaign comes to a close and the votes are in, it's time for Maya and Jamie to decide what the future holds for them.
Is it any good?
This cross-cultural teen romance tackles some of the United States' most divisive issues: hijab bans, the rights of the alt-right, and what constitutes religious liberty. While Yes No Maybe So does give teens real insight into the role they might play in a political campaign, readers with more conservative political views might be uncomfortable with or offended by a storyline in which progressive Democrats are given the moral high ground.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about what they learned in Yes No Maybe So about volunteering for a political campaign. Were you surprised that teens were given so much responsibility? Did reading the novel make you want to get involved in a local or national campaign?
Has anyone ever posted something about you or one of your friends on social media that wasn't true? How hard was it to try to make the truth known?
Do you think it's right to legislate how people dress? Would a law banning women from wearing a hijab be religious discrimination?
- Authors: Becky Albertalli, Aisha Saeed
- Genre: Romance
- Topics: Activism, Great Boy Role Models, Great Girl Role Models, High School, Misfits and Underdogs
- Book type: Fiction
- Publisher: HarperCollins Children's Books
- Publication date: February 4, 2020
- Publisher's recommended age(s): 13 - 18
- Number of pages: 436
- Available on: Paperback, Nook, Audiobook (unabridged), Hardback, iBooks, Kindle
- Last updated: April 23, 2020
Our editors recommend
For kids who love stories of activism and romance
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