Reviews for Absolutely Maybe

Booklist Reviews 2008 December #1
Maybe (short for Maybelline, her mother s favorite mascara brand) wears oversize men s T-shirts, uses lots of black eye makeup, and rejects everything girly--which is probably a reaction to her mother s charm school and impending seventh marriage. This latest husband-to-be is the worst yet, and when he attempts to rape Maybe (in a scene that is realistic but not explicit), she and her friend Ted decide to join their buddy Hollywood when he moves to California for film school. Maybe s stated goal is finding her biological father, but as she runs out of money and hope, that goal changes to finding herself. Despite the heavy topics, this is a breezy read populated with friendly characters and sunny serendipity: Maybe is welcomed into the home of an ex-stepdad, Ted, finds work as an assistant to a movie star, and Hollywood aces his first film. When your starving protagonist spends her only five dollars on eyeliner, the intended audience is obvious; for those readers, Maybe s ugly duckling-type transformation will be predictable but pleasing. Copyright 2008 Booklist Reviews.

Horn Book Magazine Reviews 2009 #2
Florida high school junior Maybe (short for Maybelline, her mother's favorite mascara) runs away to California to search for her birth father. She has many reasons to leave -- she keeps getting beaten up by the popular girls who attend her mother's charm school; her serial-bride mom is getting married for the seventh time. Oh -- and her mother's fiance, Jake, attempts to rape her, and her mother thinks Maybe lured Jake into bed. This plot turn comes as a surprise in what had until then been more of a comic novel, but the incident adds intensity to Maybe's search for her father. The rest of the book continues in a much lighter vein and ends on a happy, wacky note, with characters providing a lot of the humor (as, for instance, Maybe's friend Ted: a celebrity-crazed Thai adoptee sweetly devoted to his adoptive family, he becomes similarly devoted to the aging movie goddess for whom he works). Maybe's search takes her to unexpected places, and readers will absolutely enjoy the ride. Copyright 2009 Horn Book Magazine Reviews.

Kirkus Reviews 2009 January #1
In an unusual inciting incident for what is essentially a feel-good comedy, Yee's cleverly conceived and executed new tale begins to rock when Maybe's stepfather-to-be tries to rape her. Furious because her oft-married mother doesn't believe her story, the almost-17-year-old takes off for California to find her biological father, a man she knows nothing about. Traveling with Maybe is her best friend, Ted, an adopted Asian boy who is small of stature but huge in terms of personality, and Hollywood, a talented, budding filmmaker. In California, the teens follow separate trajectories, each struggling to find his or her place in the world. Although the novel makes (sometimes great) leaps in terms of credibility, Yee plays to her strengths, wittily delineating the quirky, eccentric humanity of her heartfelt characters as they search for acceptance and love. Tragic, comic and heartwarming by turns, the narrative provides a brightly drawn assemblage of teens and adults readers will root for, right up to an ending that manages to be both Chekhovian in its lack of resolution and satisfyingly schmaltzy. (Fiction. 12 & up) Copyright Kirkus 2009 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

Publishers Weekly Reviews 2009 January #4

Moving from middle grade into YA fiction, Yee (Millicent Min, Girl Genius) brings both a flair for comic timing and a sense of pathos. Maybe (short for Maybelline, her mother's favorite mascara) dyes her hair with Kool-Aid, hides her figure under baggy T-shirts and wears ratty sneakers--all acts of rebellion against her alcoholic, pageant-queen mom, proprietor of a charm school in Kissimee, Fla.. After her serial bride mother's latest fianc attempts to rape her (and tells her credulous mother that Maybe came on to him), Maybe runs away to Los Angeles in search of the father she's never met, armed with only his first name, plus her two best friends: supportive Ted and Hollywood, who is going to study filmmaking at USC. Although things fall into place rather neatly (Ted lands a job with a benevolent Gloria Swanson type; Hollywood wins a prize for a documentary about Maybe, and after one or two bumps, Maybe finds a luxurious home with a former stepfather), the characters are complex and their friendships layered--they sweep readers up in their path. Ages 12-up. (Feb.)

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