YES Jamie Goldberg is cool with volunteering for his local state senate candidate—as long as he’s behind the scenes. When it comes to speaking to strangers (or, let’s face it, speaking at all to almost anyone), Jamie’s a choke artist. There’s no way he’d ever knock on doors to ask people for their votes…until he meets Maya. NO Maya Rehman’s having the worst Ramadan ever. Her best friend is too busy to hang out, her summer trip is canceled, and now her parents are separating. Why her mother thinks the solution to her problems is political canvassing—with some awkward dude she hardly knows—is beyond her. MAYBE SO Going door to door isn’t exactly glamorous, but maybe it’s not the worst thing in the world. After all, the polls are getting closer—and so are Maya and Jamie. Mastering local activism is one thing. Navigating the cross-cultural romance of the century is another thing entirely.
This is a Becky Albertalli book so I wanted to read it. I’ve actually never read anything by Aisha Saeed, but so many people were excited that these two were teaming up, so it made me curious! I definitely want to check out her books too. And this is a book about teens and their political opinions. So many teens are involved in politics and I’m so glad more books are showing that. And in a way that is adorable and relatable.
I loved Jamie. He was awkward, but not in the cute and funny way a lot of books tend to lean towards. It’s kind of painful at times and sometimes his words sort of just jumble out of his mouth. I really, really liked this aspect because I understand how it feels haha. I like when awkwardness is humorous, but I tend to think my awkwardness is painful. I liked seeing a character think the same way and then actually be super awkward.
I also really liked Maya! She was sweet and she was passionate and she was just a really great person. Though, I would have liked for her emotional plot line to have been more in depth. She doesn’t like change, but I didn’t really feel like that was followed through. It just showed up at the beginning and at the end. I also would have liked to explore her romantic feelings a lot more, because to me they kind of felt like they came out of nowhere. That can be realistic though. I guess I would have just liked more. Despite this, I did like seeing her grapple with her parents having issues and going through a rough patch with a friend. It felt like two really real things.
The familial relationships were really great. Jamie and Maya have such different families, but I liked seeing both of them. I liked seeing their relationship with their parents and Jamie with his sister. Also with their friends!
On to the politics. I really liked how they were portrayed! They felt hopeful, but realistic. This book didn’t shy away from the hard realities of the world, it looks them right in face. Both Jamie and Maya want them to change and they are willing to take the steps to make change. They’re willing to grow to make change happen. It’s something they’re both passionate about. I also really liked learning more about canvassing and political campaigns! It’s not something I knew a lot about, so it was cool to see a glimpse into it here.
I wasn’t a biggest fan of what the book ended. Really just the last page, not the ending scenes! It was good, it just wasn’t for me.
Also, random, but I thought it was cool how Target had a big role haha. I don’t want to say too much in case of spoilers, but it’s brilliant. I also loved the 13 year old queer character. It’s a minor moment, but I thought it was one of the sweetest things.
This book felt really clear and really real. It manages to be cute, while also being very realistic to what the real world is like. There is racism and homophobia and a lot of horrible people, but there’s also a lot of people willing to fight that. It was a really good book.
Thank you for reading!