Tag: Aisha Saeed

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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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.


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.


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.


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


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Guest Review: Written in the Stars by Aisha Saeed

Posted August 5, 2015 by Whitley B in Reviews | 1 Comment

Whitley’s review of Written in the Stars by Aisha Saeed.

This heart-wrenching novel explores what it is like to be thrust into an unwanted marriage. Has Naila’s fate been written in the stars? Or can she still make her own destiny?

Naila’s conservative immigrant parents have always said the same thing: She may choose what to study, how to wear her hair, and what to be when she grows up—but they will choose her husband. Following their cultural tradition, they will plan an arranged marriage for her. And until then, dating—even friendship with a boy—is forbidden. When Naila breaks their rule by falling in love with Saif, her parents are livid. Convinced she has forgotten who she truly is, they travel to Pakistan to visit relatives and explore their roots. But Naila’s vacation turns into a nightmare when she learns that plans have changed—her parents have found her a husband and they want her to marry him, now! Despite her greatest efforts, Naila is aghast to find herself cut off from everything and everyone she once knew. Her only hope of escape is Saif . . . if he can find her before it’s too late.

This was a lovely/horrifying story that had me staying up all through the night to finish it. It was engrossing and smoothly-written, which makes the horrifying story content that much more striking.

I’m not really sure what to say about it. It’s a pretty straightforward storyline, and a lot of its focus is just on exposing the issue of forced marriage to an audience that might not know much, if anything, about it. There’s not much depth to it, but as an introduction, it strikes just the right note.

I think what strikes me the most about this book is how it puts the blame on cultural permissiveness. This isn’t just one family doing a thing, it’s the entire community letting it happen and helping Nailia’s captors. It’s cultural attitudes that put the focus on family reputation over girls’ consent. It’s a system that pits women against each other, out of fear or something else, and prevents them from banding together. (I swear, the scene where Naila and her cousin sort of fearfully pull away from each other made must sit and stare a wall for a few minutes.) I love that this was a book about a whole system doing this, not Naila’s family being “evil.”

About the only thing I didn’t enjoy was the weird pacing. There was a huge chunk of the book devoted to Naila slowly figuring out that her parents are looking for a husband for her, when we know from the cover summary that she’s going to be married off. It dragged out that portion of the book for no pay-off, and conversely the ending of the book was rushed. Her “out” from the marriage had a kind of exasperated, “Okay, I’m bored with this now” kind of feel to it. I feel like the pages spent on needless teasing could have been better spent on the ending.

Rating: 4 out of 5

This title is available from Nancy Paulsen Books.  You can purchase it here or here in e-format.

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