Jamie Goldberg is excited to volunteer for his local state senate candidate…as long as it’s behind the scenes. With his mom, sister, and grandma in deep planning mode for his sister’s upcoming bat mitzvah, the campaign becomes Jamie’s escape. Too bad he has a fear of speaking to strangers. Maya Rehman is having the worst Ramadan ever. She’s struggling with both family (her parents sprung their divorce one her) and friend (her one and only bestie is off for college soon) drama. Her mother thinks Maya’s summer blues can easily be fixed by canvassing for a local politician. If Maya shows a little initiative, her parents will buy her a car. Piece of cake, right?
Wrong. Despite being old childhood friends, Maya and Jamie could not be more different. When they’re paired to go door to door for their candidate, Democrat Jordan Rossum (#RossumIsAwesome), they realize that they share similar ideals about the world. With the polls close and a potential bill targeting Muslims about to pass in the Georgia State Senate, Maya and Jamie feel the pressure to make an impact. Will their efforts be for nothing? When they start to develop feelings for one another, things get complicated. Maya’s parents have warned her off against dating in high school, and Jamie worries admitting his feelings will ruin their newfound friendship. Will these two get their happily ever after?
We really enjoyed Yes No Maybe So! As two millennials deeply interested in politics, we were drawn to the plot about teen activists fighting to turn their Georgia district blue. The two main characters, Maya and Jamie, were superbly well-written and developed. The story was told in dual POVs, which allowed us to get truly invested in the characters and their backgrounds. Jamie is a shy, awkward guy with big dreams of running for office one day. Maya is a tough-as-nails woman that fights for what she believes in. Seeing these two characters come into their own over the course of the book was inspiring. They grew and re-evaluate their beliefs throughout the book, and their outlook for the future of U.S. politics gave us a sense of hope. It was great to see Jamie and Maya learn from one another, particularly when it came to sharing their experiences with religion (Jamie is Jewish and Maya is Muslim).
The amount of diversity was one of the best (and most important) aspects of the book. As we said, there was religious diversity (Jamie’s Jewish family and Maya’s Muslim Pakistani-American family and community), but there was also LGBTQ+ representation. We appreciated that the authors delved into Jewish and Muslim cultures. We felt this was extremely important, particularly given today’s political climate! While politics was the focus of this book, the intent was not to criticize those with opposing views. The authors did an excellent job of delivering a well-balanced novel about political activism without sounding overly preach-y. Obviously, Maya and Jamie do work for a Democrat and share liberal values, so please go reading this book with that in mind. If anything, we hope this book helps educate those who are either age-eligible or almost age-eligible to vote!
Last but certainly not least— the romance! This was a super cute romance that left us swooning. It was most definitely slow burn, but it did not feel dragged out or lacking in chemistry. Maya and Jamie had great banter, and we truly felt their connection grow stronger from their canvassing and political activism. Their trips to Target together were adorable, and we’d definitely go on a date to the Target outdoor seating area (ha!).
Overall, we definitely recommend Yes No Maybe So. If you pick it up, make sure to read the authors’ note at the end, which explains their inspiration for writing the book. Their experiences after the 2016 election formed the basis for this book and this note helps tie it all together nicely! We recommend reading this book and then voting in every election, no matter how small.