Publisher: Balzer + Bray

Review: Yes No Maybe So by Becky Albertalli, Aisha Saeed

Posted February 20, 2020 by Rowena in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: Yes No Maybe So by Becky Albertalli, Aisha SaeedReviewer: Rowena
Yes No Maybe So by Becky Albertalli, Aisha Saeed
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Publication Date: February 4, 2020
Format: eARC
Source: Edelweiss
Point-of-View: Alternating First
Genres: Young Adult
Pages: 448
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Rowena's 2020 A-Z Reading Challenge, Rowena's 2020 Goodreads Challenge, Rowena's 2020 New to Me Challenge
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three-half-stars

New York Times bestselling authors Becky Albertalli and Aisha Saeed have crafted a resonant, funny, and memorable story about the power of love and resistance.

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.

I’ve never read anything by either of these authors but I have been looking forward to doing so. I’ve heard a lot of good things about this book so I was looking forward to digging into my review copy. That’s saying something too because I’m not a political person and I don’t normally gravitate toward stories that deal with politics but I’m glad that I read this one. I thought the beginning was a little slow but there was a charm to the way that this story was told that I liked and am glad that I stuck with because both Albertalli and Saeed did a great job of telling Maya and Jamie’s story.

So the story follows Jamie and Maya as they canvas their neighborhood for the local state senator candidate. They’re both going through things in their lives and I really connected with the both of them even though I’m hella older than they are. Maya’s dealing with her parents separating and her best friend not being around to talk things out with and Jamie is shy and he’d rather stay behind the scenes than speak in front of anyone. Seeing the two of these guys really come into their own over the course of this book and finding in each other, the friend that they both need in their lives was great. Seeing them talk about mature things was another plus for me. I thought the authors handled their backgrounds in a good way. Maya is a Muslim and Jamie is Jewish and I thought their conversations about their lives was real and it was authentic and I dug it.

It took me a little bit to warm up to both Maya and to Jamie but once I got a feel for who they were and what they were bringing to the story, I began to really enjoy the two of them and what was going on. I’m glad that I read this one and will definitely be reading more by these two authors. Their writing style is easy to follow along with and I will definitely be looking out for more of their books. If you’re looking for something cute with a side of politics, check this one out. I think it’s gonna be a hit.

Final Grade

Grade: 3.5 out of 5

three-half-stars


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Review: The Rest of the Story by Sarah Dessen

Posted July 9, 2019 by Rowena in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: The Rest of the Story by Sarah DessenReviewer: Rowena
The Rest of the Story by Sarah Dessen
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Publication Date: June 4, 2019
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
Point-of-View: First
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Young Adult
Pages: 400
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Rowena's 2019 GoodReads Challenge
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four-stars

Emma Saylor doesn’t remember a lot about her mother, who died when she was ten. But she does remember the stories her mom told her about the big lake that went on forever, with cold, clear water and mossy trees at the edges.

Now it’s just Emma and her dad, and life is good, if a little predictable…until Emma is unexpectedly sent to spend the summer with her mother’s family—her grandmother and cousins she hasn’t seen since she was a little girl.

When Emma arrives at North Lake, she realizes there are actually two very different communities there. Her mother grew up in working class North Lake, while her dad spent summers in the wealthier Lake North resort. The more time Emma spends there, the more it starts to feel like she is divided into two people as well. To her father, she is Emma. But to her new family, she is Saylor, the name her mother always called her.

Then there’s Roo, the boy who was her very best friend when she was little. Roo holds the key to her family’s history, and slowly, he helps her put the pieces together about her past. It’s hard not to get caught up in the magic of North Lake—and Saylor finds herself falling under Roo’s spell as well.

For Saylor, it’s like a whole new world is opening up to her. But when it’s time to go back home, which side of her will win out?

Sarah Dessen has always written such high-quality stories that I’m not at all surprised that I was engrossed in Saylor’s story from beginning to end. Emma Saylor lost her mother when she was ten years old and with the death of her mother, she lost contact with her mother’s side of the family. She doesn’t remember a lot about her mother’s family since her mother became estranged from them when she was little but she does remember stories her mother used to tell her about the North Lake and the life her mother had there before Saylor was born. When her father remarries and Saylor needs a place to crash while he goes on his honeymoon, she finds herself back in her mother’s world with a whole lot of questions. When we first meet Saylor, she’s Emma but everyone in her mother’s family calls her Saylor, just like her mother did when she was alive. This story is about how Emma became Saylor.

When Saylor gets to North Lake, she finds out that she had a giant family that she doesn’t remember and yet there are pictures floating around that prove that she was, very much, a part of this family. That she spent significant time with these people but she doesn’t remember very much. After years of being part of such a small family that consisted of her, her father and her grandmother and now her step-mother, being smack dab in the middle of so much family is overwhelming but I really loved seeing Emma grow into Saylor and just seeing her come into her own while getting to know the other side of her family.

I loved how she worked through learning about her mother. I loved seeing her develop relationships with people that were strangers to her when she first arrived at North Lake. I loved seeing her grow to care for every single person that she came into contact over the course of her stay there. I loved how by the end of the book, she had strong ties to her mother’s family and I really loved how they taught her how family is sometimes messy but family is family through thick and through thin.

Sarah Dessen never fails to write stories that hit me right in the gut. She writes these emotional journeys for her characters and I’m always right there with them. I enjoyed the love interest in this one a lot more than I did in the last book that I read by her and I’m already looking forward to her next release. Saylor and Roo were an adorable couple and I loved seeing them grow closer and closer each day that Saylor stayed in North Lake. There were times when I got really frustrated with Saylor’s Dad but even that is handled well and I definitely recommend this book to anyone wanting a sweet and emotional contemporary YA with charming characters and a main character that you’ll be cheering on from beginning to end. This book is good, you should read it.

Final Grade

4.25 out of 5

four-stars


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