Yes No Maybe So

HarperCollins/Balzer + Bray. Feb. 2020. 448p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9780062937049.
Gr 7 Up–Even though they’re not old enough to vote in the upcoming state special election, 17-year-olds Jamie and Maya find themselves roped into canvassing for a progressive candidate in an effort to flip a historically conservative voting district. Jamie sees himself both as a passionate activist and a completely hopeless, clumsy mess. When he’s asked to deliver the toast at his sister’s bat mitzvah and go door-to-door to talk to likely voters, he’s convinced he’ll do or say something that will make him a laughingstock. Maya is having a terrible summer—her best friend is moving to college and her parents announced their trial separation at the beginning of Ramadan. When the local political candidate holds a campaign event at her mosque, her mother encourages her to volunteer as a way of filling her time. Although they’d been close as children, Jamie and Maya’s relationship has been dormant for several years, but begins to bloom slowly into something beautiful, multilayered, and complex. While this scenario hardly sounds like the setup for a compelling novel, Albertalli and Saeed unfold a story told in alternating chapters that weaves together timely, relevant, and engaging themes.
VERDICT With topical references to state and national issues—including hijab bans, bathroom bills, and the subtle politics of meme culture—this is a warm, beautiful story about relationships’ beginnings, endings, and transitions; what it means to fight the good fight; and the transformative power of local activism. A solid addition to any contemporary YA collection.

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