Yes No, Maybe So
I don’t recommend this book.
I’ll just get straight to the point:
Here is exactly why it disappointed me so much.
Honest Disclaimer: The book did have many good points, and it did have diversity, and positive representation of Muslims.
But is that enough?
Are we so desperate for positive Muslim representation in books/media that we will so easily be happy with any representation whatsoever, even sacrificing our own values just to be represented?
Because honestly, in this book, after putting it down, the message I got was that in order to find love, achieve happiness, etc..you have to sacrifice your Islamic values. And what kind of message is that!? Maya is a 17 yr old Muslim girl whose parents are separating (we never truly know why). It seems just put in there to make a plot point- that even 20 year old marriages can fail, and so the idea that you shouldn’t date is “old-fashioned”. Jamie is a 17 yr old Jewish boy who is helping his cousin campaign for a local democratic nominee for the Georgia senate. He is extremely nervous at speaking publicly, but finds his voice in the end, with the help of Maya.
The two work on canvassing streets for voting, (Maya’s reason for canvassing didn’t make sense) as well as work to oppose a state bill that would restrict hijab-wearers from doing basic public things like driving. Maya’s mom wears hijab, so this hits home for her-this part of the book was well-written: talking about how scary it was to restrict freedom of religion, talking about micro-aggression, racism, anti-semitism, other political issues relevant for minority groups.
Maya gets close to Jamie and at some point, though she feels dating is iffy, she decides she doesn’t care and kisses him.
And this is the end of the story.
I really am tired of books that show Muslims only being happy when they shed their values, and I wish that instead of only being frustrated when Islam is attacked,they feel their religion is important enough for them to hold on to.
Muslims can be completely American while also being true to their Deen. And I feel like this book misses that important message.
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