REVIEW: Yes No Maybe So by Becky Albertalli and Aisha Saeed
TITLE: Yes No Maybe So
AUTHORS: Becky Albertalli and Aisha Saeed
Jamie and Maya used to play together when they were little… and that was a long time ago. Now they are teenagers and they are almost strangers… until a politic campaign changes everything.
Maya is Muslim and she’s having “the worst Ramadan ever”: her best friend is too busy to hang out and her parents are separating. She’d like to have a car and her mother promises to buy her one if she “volunteers” to go canvassing for the political campaign of Jordan Rossum, a democrat who is running for senator in Georgia and who defines himself as “amazing”.
Jamie is Jewish and his whole family works for Jordan Rossum’s campaign, his old grandmother included: she’s like a local Instagram celebrity thanks to her account where she posts pictures of her dog, Boomer. Jamie actually likes helping with the campaing, so long as he’s behind the scenes, because he fears public attention very very much. But when he meets Maya after all those years apart… well, he just can’t say no to go canvassing together.
After a little while, they both find out that this election is much more important than what they had thought: if Rossum doesn’t win the election, a terrible prejudiced bill will pass, preventing every Muslim woman from wearing hijab. The republican candidate, Newton, is as a matter of fact supported by some Nazi-groups and some right extremists.
The story is based on the authors’ real experience: in 2016 they campaigned for Jon Ossoff to help him win a special election for a vacant seat in the US House of Representatives and in the same period they perceived on their skin the oppressive feeling of racial and religious hate.
Yes No Maybe So is both a multiracial romance and a story of political awareness: Maya and Jamie – page after page, door after door – gets to know and love each other, learning how to balance similarities and differences between them, but they also learn how to fight for their rights and believes. I must admit that I preferred the parts dedicated to the political campaign and the reasoning about people’s rights; the love story was quite predicatable, even if still enjoyable to read.
There are two characters that I’ve appreciated the most: Jamie’s grandmother, the bizarre Insta-star Grandma; and Kevin, a republican guy who represents how right-wing voters should really be, that is to say respectful of everyone’s ideas, cultures and liberties. Being politically involved shouldn’t mean being a narrow-minded violent extremist. To make our Nations better places for everyone where to live, we should cooperate and listen more… and, for sure, hate much less.
Have you ever read something by these authors? What do you think about this book?