A YA rom-com set against a special election? Becky Albertalli? Dual POV? I was sold the second I heard about Yes No Maybe So, and while it was ultimately a 5 star read for me, I do have some thoughts.
Jamie is Jewish and a political wannabe with some low self-esteem and awkward tendencies. He volunteers for the campaign of the Democrat running in a special state Senate election. He’s got a family connection to the Rossum campaign, but he mostly focuses on phone banking instead of actually interacting with people face-to-face. Maya is Muslim and takes to volunteering for the Rossum campaign to avoid a summer with an absent best friend, separated parents, and to earn a car. But when Jamie and Maya start canvassing together, something magical happens. As they get to know each other, they slowly become more politically engaged as the race heats up. There’s a special election, an Instagram famous grandma, some family drama, a bat mitzvah, and a lot of talk of Target, which I loved.
Overall, I liked this book. The romance was sweet, I liked the overall setting, and I thought the pacing was great. I liked Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda and What If It’s Us, was pretty indifferent about Leah on the Offbeat, and HATED the only book I’d read by Aisha Saeed-Written in the Stars. Her writing was fine, the entire plot just made me want to fight someone. So I was skeptical a bit, but impressed by the way religion was handled in this book. The authors are progressive/liberal, and that’s fine. I understand they were basing this book on real events and wanted it to be topical, so that’s fine. The candidate Maya and Jamie support, Rossum, is a Democrat, so his opponent is conservative. However, they can’t just have that be enough. He has to have alt-right/Nazi ties. I get it makes the story more…pertinent, if that’s the right word. Obviously, vote for a Democrat over a Nazi anyday of the week. However, that’s not how the real world works. It’s not Democrats vs Nazis. There are real conservatives out there. I wish progressive authors would engage more with how to write candidates that they get the audience to enjoy/root for/understand without just juxtaposing them to the scum of the earth. For this story, I think the potential ban introduced does make sense to the story–it helps tie Maya’s religion in just as much as Jamie’s to the plot, but I’ll be really impressed when I one day read a YA novel that features a conservative/Republican that is actually nuanced and presented in a way that doesn’t assume all conservatives suck.
What I want to ask is–is this Target sponsored? If not, it should be. So much Target action, I love it. I also like how social-media aware it is, but LOL at whichever author decided to use “rideshare” repeatedly instead of Uber. No one says “I’m going to take a rideshare.” Literally, I have never once heard that. But that’s my only real issue. I swear, I liked this book a lot. It’s got heart. It deals with societal pressures, family obligation, first love, awkwardness, all that jazz. A good read!