Yes No Maybe So
by Albertalli, Becky; Saeed, Aisha

Jamie Goldberg, who chokes when speaking to strangers, and Maya Rehrman, who is having the worst Ramadan ever, are paired to knock on doors and ask for votes for the local state senate candidate.

*Starred Review* For Jamie Goldberg, campaigning for Jordan Rossum is a way to make a difference before he can vote. Canvassing, though, freaks him out; speaking in front of people (or to them) isn't his strong suit. For Maya Rehman, Rossum isn't impressive-just another white guy running for office, and not even an experienced one. Her summer is already terrible: her parents have split, and her best friend has been totally unavailable. When her mom basically forces her to canvass with Jamie for the summer, Maya is less than thrilled. She and Jamie don't exactly get off on the right foot either; he's painfully awkward and keeps forgetting she's fasting for Ramadan, while she's dismissive of his commitment. But as they slowly find their footing, they both start to feel like they're part of something bigger. With a fervor born from the 2016 presidential election, Albertalli (Leah on the Offbeat, 2018) and Saeed (Written in the Stars, 2015) seamlessly join forces to craft a genuine, immediate tale about two teenagers facing some of the harsher truths of the world for the first time and finding something to believe in anyway. Buoyed by humor, enriched by a colorful supporting cast, and strung through with a charming (and charmingly awkward) romantic subplot, Jamie and Maya's story, their miscommunications, and their true connection will win hearts and inspire action. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: Albertalli and Saeed are both best-sellers, their collab comes with a hefty promotional campaign, and this timely love-and-politics offering would draw a crowd on premise alone. Grades 9-12. Copyright 2019 Booklist Reviews.

Two 17-year-olds from the northern suburbs of Atlanta, Georgia, work together on a campaign for a progressive state senate candidate in an unlikely love story. Co-authors Albertalli (Leah on the Offbeat, 2018, etc.) and Saeed (Bilal Cooks Daal, 2019, etc.) present Jamie Goldberg, a white Ashkenazi Jewish boy who suffers from being "painfully bad at anything girl-related," and Maya Rehman, a Pakistani American Muslim girl struggling with her parents' sudden separation. Former childhood best friends, they find themselves volunteered as a team by their mothers during a Ramadan "campaign iftar." One canvassing adventure at a time, they grow closer despite Maya's no-dating policy. Chapters alternate between Maya's and Jamie's first-person voices. The endearing, if somewhat clichéd, teens sweetly connect over similarities like divorced parents, and their activism will resonate with many. Jamie is sensitive, clumsy, and insecure; Maya is determined, sassy, a dash spoiled, and she swears freely. The novel covers timeless themes of teen activism and love-conquers-all along with election highs and lows, messy divorces, teen angst, bat mitzva h stress, social media gaffes, right-wing haters, friendship drama, and cultural misunderstandings, but the explicit advocacy at times interferes with an immersive reading experience and the text often feels repetitious. Maya's mother is hijabi, and while Maya advocates against a hijab ban, she chooses not to wear hijab and actively wrestles with what it means to be an observant Muslim. Best leave it at maybe so. (Romance. 14-18) Copyright Kirkus 2019 Kirkus/BPI Communications. All rights reserved.

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