Children's Literature - Naomi Milliner
Maybelline Mary Katherine Mary Ann Chestnut ("Maybe" to her friends) has almost as many names as her mom has had husbands. She has put up with her mom's (mostly bad) taste in men for seventeen yearsuntil 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 truckall 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 stand-alone 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. Reviewer: Naomi Milliner
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 fiancé 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.)Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Mary E Schmutz
Maybelline "Maybe" Chestnut is in high school trying to avoid anything that has to do with her mother's charm school students and pageants. Maybe loves her mother but realizes that she just doesn't have the mothering skills of the other moms. Her mother refuses to talk about Maybe's birth father and does not try to protect Maybe from her latest boyfriend. When Maybe's friend, Hollywood, wins a scholarship to USC's film school, Maybe tags along. What Maybelline does not realize is that it takes money and looks to survive in California. All those charm school rules will come back to haunt Maybe and perhaps even help her in this new real world. She will realize what true friendship means along the way and gain a new perspective on what defines a parent in her generation. Reviewer: Mary E Schmutz
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)