Yes No Maybe So
Yes No Maybe So is Becky Albertalli and Aisha Saeed's powerful response to the "bigotry and hateful rhetoric" that came after the 2016 presidential election.
Shy, awkward Jamie Goldberg, 17, is a Jewish kid who isn't "exactly great at talking to strangers." Example? He literally choked at an interview with a senator and now, instead of interning at the state capitol, is an errand boy for an assistant campaign manager for a Democratic state senatorial candidate in Georgia. Seventeen-year-old Pakistani-American Maya Rehman, who isn't "exactly the most adaptable person in the world," has also had her summer hopes dashed: she was supposed to leave for Italy with her parents after Ramadan; instead, her parents have decided to spend time apart. Once childhood friends, Jamie and Maya bump into each other at an interfaith event, where their mothers suggest they volunteer as canvassers for the upcoming local election. As they make their rounds, they encounter racist voters and anti-Semitic trolls, and their complex but sweet "slowmance" unfolds.
This Albertalli (What If It's Us?) and Saeed (Amal Unbound) collaboration grew out of their experiences campaigning for a candidate who hoped to flip his district. Their author letter shares their goal of not ignoring the "complexities of our current reality" but instead infusing it with joy and hope. They emphasize the importance of exercising the right to vote and nimbly express citizens' frustrations over ugly campaign practices, lack of variety and a corrupt system. The developing relationship between Maya and Jamie acts as a "raft in a sea of bad news." It's filled with lingering romantic moments, awkward cultural misunderstandings and so many doubts. But it's just the right amount of romance to balance the essential message about resistance Yes No Maybe So deftly delivers. --Lana Barnes, freelance reviewer and proofreader