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 allto 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 liked the slow-moving and subtle romance between Jamie and Maya. In many of the YA books that I read, the MCs hit it off right away and fall in love at first sight which I find to be unrealistic. But Jamie and Maya were a different story. They started off on an awkward foot at first, it was only after spending some time together when they began to get to know (and like) each other… which is totally normal and totally cool! The characters definitely had chemistry, although it wasn’t something that became apparent until later on in the novel. I wish I could see more relationships like this in YA!
Jamie and Maya were both real characters with real families. Jamie was Jewish and lived in a home with his mother, grandma, and sister. Although he felt passionate about politics, he always felt tongue-tied when he had to speak in public or meet new people. Maya came from a Muslim family who had strict rules when it came to dating. The summer was rough on her — her best friend seemed to have moved on and her parents were separating. I loved that both MCs weren’t perfect or special, they were just one of us.
A huge emphasis of this book was on politics and issues such as racism and anti-semitism. I think these issues are important in trying times like these, and I liked that these topics were integrated into the novel without the plot becoming too heavy. I liked the idea that Jamie and Maya, although they couldn’t vote yet, were trying to influence the world in their own way.
And as always for Becky Albertalli, this book was full of voice and humour. The dialogue flowed well and the story made me smile and laugh out loud! The book became addictive after about the half-way mark, and I couldn’t wait to read more about Jamie and Maya.
Although I enjoyed the novel, I found it hard to get into at first. It wasn’t like certain other novels that hooked you right from page one. That being said, once I got into the swing of the story and became invested in the characters, I was excited to finish the book.
I’m not a die-hard politics fan, so at first I was put-off by how much politics was in this book and I wasn’t used to it in YA fiction. However Jamie and Maya’s determination and persistence won me over at the end.
I really loved the slow-burn romance between the main characters in this book. If you are looking for a YA contemporary with a bit of a political twist, you might want to add this to your TBR!
Psst!!! My 3-year blogiversary giveaway is still happening until June 8, 2020 at 24:00 (midnight) Pacific Time!! I am giving away $40USD and $20USD on BookDepository to 2 lucky winners (available internationally.) Click here (or the happy fishy below) to check out my giveaway post.
Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash
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