Yes No Maybe So

Book review by
Lucinda Dyer, Common Sense Media
Yes No Maybe So Book Poster Image
Engaging blend of activism and cross-cultural romance.

Parents say

age 13+
Based on 1 review

Kids say

age 13+
Based on 3 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Educational Value

Readers get an up-close look at what it's like to volunteer for a political campaign (from canvassing door-to-door to working on social media) and how grassroots activism can effect change.

Positive Messages

When Maya and Jamie become discouraged and begin to feel that all their long days volunteering might be for nothing, her father tells them, "All our actions are little drops that collect into a groundswell for change. It's the only way most change happens. Ordinary people doing everything they can."

 

Positive Role Models & Representations

Jamie, who's White and Jewish, and Maya, who's Pakistani American and Muslim, move from being reluctant volunteers to committed teen political activists. When they see an injustice (in this case, a bill that would limit the right of Muslim women to wear a hijab), they devise a plan to rally support for defeating the bill and put it into action.

Violence
Sex

A few kisses.

Language

Teens and adults use "f--k," "crap," "hell," "bulls--t," and "a--hole."

Consumerism

Jamie and Maya spend so much time at Target that the store almost becomes a supporting character. Maya is reading Saints and Misfits, and Jamie loves video games like Fortnite. Both of them are big fans of The Office, watching episodes together and often discussing the plot and characters.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

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 campaignGoing 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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User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byHannah H. June 2, 2020
Teen, 15 years old Written bymirkat June 4, 2020

Yes No Maybe So: A Book Everyone Can Relate To

I really enjoyed reading this book for a few different reasons. For one thing, it's super in tune with what's going on right now. From Islamophobia, s... Continue reading
Teen, 17 years old Written bySofabanana May 28, 2020

Pretty good, but was a bit predictable

I think this was a good book, but like I said above there was a clear outline that kind of made me predict what was going to happen. Its not my favorite Becky A... Continue reading

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? 

Book details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love stories of activism and romance

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