Jewish boy, Muslim girl

All in all, a decent contemporary YA book, with heavy topics that are easily digestible by YA readers.

READ IF YOU…

  • Enjoy books on social topics, like racism and discrimination
  • Love books on diverse teen romance
  • Want a culturally diverse read

TitleYes No Maybe So | Author: Becky AlbertalliAisha Saeed | Rating: 3/5

YES
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.

This is a decent “diverse” read on two teens from different backgrounds – a Jewish boy and a Muslim girl – who become friends through political canvassing one summer. And through their friendship, they fall in love.

NO
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.

I do love the rise of teen reads where the characters aren’t your typical European white person in the suburbs. So from that aspect, Yes No Maybe So provides something a bit more than I’ve come across.

Having said that, I couldn’t get into the characters and their stories. I grew up not so much in a Muslim household, but in one that mirrors Maya’s upbringing. And even with that, I liked her as a person, but I didn’t connect with her fully.

MAYBE SO
Going door to door isn’t exactly glamorous, but maybeit’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.

The book was fine, and the characters’ stories were also fine, but there was something missing that kept me not fully immersed in the story. I think part of it was that it felt and sounded very teen, which I’m not connecting much with lately. There was also the political aspects that, though they angered me because I know anti-Semitism and anti-Muslim sentiments are real in today’s society, I felt they were thrown into the story to force a sociopolitical backdrop. Further, with Sophia’s “revelation,” it enforced the feel that topics were forced into the story, just to include more diversity.

The writing itself was fine and definitely fits YA reads. And for teens, it does open up discussions on the sociopolitical topics, which are very important. I also think having Jewish and Muslim main characters is important for readers who don’t always see themselves in the books available. I do think I’d have appreciated it more if I fit the target age group.

All in all, a decent contemporary YA book, with heavy topics that are easily digestible by YA readers.

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