Naomi Milliner

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Review of Lisa Yee’s Absolutely Maybe


absolutely maybe

Maybelline Mary Katherine Mary Ann Chestnut (“Maybe” to her friends) has almost as many  names as her mom has had husbands. She’s put up with her mom’s (mostly bad) taste in men for seventeen years – until the latest one tries to rape her. Then, when Mom sides with him over her own daughter, Maybe has had enough. Accompanied by eccentric pals Hollywood and Ted, Maybe travels from Florida to California, determined to find her biological father. This is quite a challenge, considering: 1) all she has to go on is his first name and an 18-year-old photo; 2) she has virtually no funds, and no place to stay; and 3) he has no clue of her existence. Her first few days in L.A. are spent sleeping in dorm lounges and foraging in cafeterias for leftovers. When Ted lands a job with an old movie starlet and Hollywood’s college roommate moves in, Maybe is on her own. Eventually, she moves in with mom’s only decent ex (and his girlfriend), and finds a job, and a friend, on a taco truck… all the while still searching for her elusive dad. Yee, whose first three books revolved around Millicent Min and friends, has another winning heroine in this standalone novel. Maybe is a tremendously sympathetic and likable character and her sidekicks are quirky and fun. With a skillful blend of humor and pathos, Yee has created an enjoyable read, and a character worth caring about.


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