Reviewed by Suzi.
In all honesty, I didn't think a Young Adult novel could be infused with so much politics and still maintain the perfect balance of gravity, levity, hope, and romance, but Albertalli and Saeed managed to do it gracefully. This book was relatable and relevant, an adorable love story between two young adults at a time where the political atmosphere and national issues are forcing teens to step up and do something, despite having such limited courses of action because of age. There were only a few points where the novel felt overly preachy, but, for the most part, it portrayed teenagers getting involved in government in a way that felt real.
As previously mentioned, writing an enjoyable YA book with such a focus on politics is already quite an achievement, but the one limitation this novel does have is that it misses some of the nuance of political parties. The nuance isn't entirely absent, but I would have liked to see less of a polarized perspective of Democrats vs. Republicans, where one party is depicted as completely evil and the other has its flaws only briefly mentioned.
That said, this was a wonderful novel and its political aspect in general only enhances the book's quality. The romance and character development were fantastic. Both of the characters are so easy to adore and relate to and root for. There are familial subplots in this book, and I'm so grateful for them; complex family dynamics portrayed well are kind of rare in Young Adult in general, but these authors did not fail to deliver. In addition, religion is touched on by both characters, a Muslim female protagonist and a Jewish male protagonist. It wasn't a large focus, but it also enhanced the story line and boosted my love for this story.
In case it wasn't obvious, I adored this book.