Yes No Maybe So | Book Review

Wednesday 1 July 2020

May was Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month and my wife and I took part in an Asian readathon. Though this was the year we were going to read more of what we wanted and not have our TBR list controlled by something like the Pop Sugar Reading Challenge (which is an awesome challenge btw), we still find readathons fun. Especially an Asian one. I myself am half Japanese and grew up very connected to my Asian half. So this readathon spoke to me.

I also wanted to expand my Asian reading horizon to include more than Japanese, Chinese, and Korean. The murder of George Floyd has made me want to expand my horizons in the African American direction, but back in early may, my focus was on Asians.

 Anne was the one who made me aware of Yes No Maybe So and recommended it to me because one of the two authors is Becky Albertalli, the author of one of my favorite books Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda and the second author is Aisha Saeed, a Pakistani American and guess where Pakistan is? In South Asia! So yay! I found my first book for the readathon. What did I think of it? Here's my review.

I like YA romance. It's cute and can cover some important topics all the while having a sweet romance story. Books like the aforementioned Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda, What If It's Us?, and They Both Die At The End. What If It's Us? was written by Becky Albertalli and Adam Silvera so I knew what I was getting into with this book and knew that I'd more than likely enjoy it.

This book is about two people. Jamie Goldberg and Maya Rehman. Two teenagers who where childhood friends and who will be placed together again when they find themselves volunteering for a local political campaign that turns out to be more important to them than they could ever imagine.
Maya and Jamie have their own problems but maybe they can find answers where they least expect it, in each other.

Just like with What If It's Us?, Yes No Maybe So had two main characters and each author took one of the characters. Becky Albertalli wrote Jamie's parts while Aisha Saeed wrote Maya's parts. If you've ever read a book by Albertalli you'll recognize her style with Jamie immediately. Since I was new to Saeed's work, I didn't know what to expect from Maya's parts, but they flowed quite well and had a unique voice.

I enjoyed this book and found Maya and Jamie's friendship and romance to be cute and just what I needed after being in a reading slump. It was an easy read/listen which was just what I needed. It took a while getting used to the romance as I've only ever read gay romance from Albertalli, so when Jamie and Maya started getting chummy, I was a tad confused. That's not really a critique. Just something that made me smile.

Politics played a large part in this story and it was done well. Jamie and Maya volunteer for the campaign of a state senator hopeful. The campaign is running an uphill battle as it's for a democrat in traditionally red Georgia. I was happy to see that the book didn't take the "all republicans are evil" route as there were a few good characters who weren't democrats. It shows that the other side isn't evil, something that's important to keep in mind.

This book was aimed at a young adult audience and that was easy to see when the various problems the characters experiences showed up. Remember when you were a kid and certain problems seemed like the biggest thing ever and that your life would never be the same, but now, years later, as an adult, you can hardly even remember why it was such a big deal? Or, you remember it perfectly but are embarrassed by how seriously you took it all? This book had a mix of those types of problems and bigger, more serious problems. So even though it was a YA book, as an adult, I could relate to the problems in different ways. Either remembering what it was like to be a kid or I could see it was a bigger more widespread problem like racism.

The one thing that actually bugged me about the book was the referencing of the white supremacist OK symbol and Pepe meme. In the book they talk about how white supremacists took over the "fifi meme" and the OK symbol. I have trouble with this because it annoys me in real life. If we let these asshats take away something as basic and universal as the OK symbol, they that gives them the power to do it to so many other things. But seeing as how that was my biggest problem with the book, one could say I liked it quite a bit.

I would recommend this book to anyone who's a fan of YA romance or is just in the mood for a sweet and quick read. The audio book had two great narrators for Jamie and Maya but even if I had physically read the book, I'd have enjoyed it just as much.

Yes No Maybe So by Becky Albertalli and Aisha Saeed gets an 8 out of 11

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