Absolutely Maybe

Absolutely Maybe

4.3 21
by Lisa Yee

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Lisa Yee makes her YA debut with this hilarious novel about a charm-school dropout who becomes a drop-dead charmer on a quest for her father in California. Meet Maybelline Mary Katherine Mary Ann Chestnut, named for two Miss Americas and her mother Chessy's favorite brand of mascara. Chessy teaches the students in her charm school her Seven Select Rules for Young


Lisa Yee makes her YA debut with this hilarious novel about a charm-school dropout who becomes a drop-dead charmer on a quest for her father in California. Meet Maybelline Mary Katherine Mary Ann Chestnut, named for two Miss Americas and her mother Chessy's favorite brand of mascara. Chessy teaches the students in her charm school her Seven Select Rules for Young Ladies, but she won't tell Maybe who her real father is -- or protect her from her latest scuzzball boyfriend. So Maybe grabs a ride to California with her friends Hollywood and Thammasat Tantipinichwong Schneider (aka Ted) -- and what she finds there is funny, sad, true, and inspiring . . . vintage Lisa Yee.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

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.)

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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
Kirkus Reviews
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)
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 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 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

Product Details

Scholastic, Inc.
Publication date:
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Scholastic, Inc.
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File size:
529 KB
Age Range:
12 - 17 Years

Meet the Author

Lisa Yee’s novels include Millicent Min, Girl Genius; Stanford Wong Flunks Big-Time (an ALA Notable Book); the first Bobby book, Bobby vs. Girls (Accidentally); and most recently WARP SPEED. She lives in South Pasadena, California, with her family. Please visit her website at www.lisayee.com.

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Absolutely Maybe 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 21 reviews.
bella_aire More than 1 year ago
Absolutely Maybe surprised me in the best of ways. It was more serious than I had originally assumed, and the writing style was very well developed. The tone was darker for the majority of the novel than I had expected, as well, except for the time spent in Sam's house (read it, and you'll understand of what I'm speaking). If you ask me to sum up Absolutely Maybe, I wouldn't say it's about the road trip a girl and her friends go on or about a girl finding her father. This novel is all about Maybe and her relationships. And that is where the strength lies*. I found that there wasn't a single stereotyped relationship in the entire novel (excluding one, but I won't mention names since that would give part of the story away). The relationship between Maybe and her mother was particularly remarkable. But you know what really hit me? How different Maybe's perception of herself was from what other people saw. Here's this amazing girl who doesn't even realize how extraordinary she is or how important she is to others. One complaint about Absolutely Maybe: I did NOT agree with Ted or Hollywood's treatment of Maybe when they first arrived to the city. But particularly Ted. No matter what the situation may be, true friends should stick together or at least take care of each other. I thought a random security guard's treatment of Maybe was far better than that of her so called "best friend". Strangely enough, after this initial problem, Ted turned out to be not that bad at all. So I didn't feel that everything in his character really matched, if that makes sense. So? The verdict? Absolutely Maybe is a great book. And I absolutely would recommend reading it. always, ~bella aire~ http://not-so-cg.blogspot.com *NOTE: The "strength in relationships" displayed here reminds me of another book I have read recently with phenomenal relationships- The Secret Life of Prince Charming by Deb Caletti. My review for that will be up in March. Comparing the relationships in TSLPC and Absolutely Maybe might be great for discussions if any book groups are interested.
robin_titan More than 1 year ago
Absolutely Maybe is such a great read that will have you entertained until you have reached the last page..when you get there you'll be sad because it's over like this --> :( Maybelline, named after her mother's favorite mascara, is a teenager who runs away from home after an incident happens (horrible just horrible) having to do with her beauty queen mom and her soon to be seventh husband. Maybe (awesome nickname), her best bud Ted, a short little dude with a great personality, and Hollywood set out to Los Angeles, California in search of her biological father who's whole name she doesn't even know, all she has is a picture of an unidentifiable man and the name Gunner. Together these three fantastics (like fantasic four only not really get it? get it? No? okay then moving on...) go through some extraordinary adventures. :D You'll LOVE this!! This book has comedy, sadness :(, awesomeness, a road trip, Hollywood, movies, TACOS!!, jarritos, guacamole, models, a meanie mommy, and so much more. What more could you ask for? Absolutely Maybe is a nice semi-short (288 pgs) read that you'll love, go check it out NOW!! -tvandbookaddict.blogspot.com
Cliquegrl More than 1 year ago
I luved this book so much i finished in only one day but it is pretty long. I loved it so much. I could really connect with the characters and thats what I like about books, like how you know how thay are feeling and stuff like that. This book was full of surprises and was full with alot of laughs. Sometimes you'll be like omg! and other youll be like lol! it was just a really good book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Hey actully hi whats thats sopose to mean good book though
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I loved the book absolutely maybe. You can relate to maybe in alot of ways. You need to read this book. My ex boyfriend kyle gave this book to me for school work and i loved it!!! Of course i dont love him anymore but i still love this book! I am a twelve year old girl and i can relate to the same stuff that is happening in my life right now. -gummmybear123
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Absolutely Maybe a book by Lisa Yee is an exciting and funny nonfiction book. The main character Maybe runs away to California with her friends Ted and Hollywood to find her dad. She has to sleep in Hotel and Collage lobbies. When she does find her father she hates him and wishes she never even tried to find him. In the end she learns to loves her self,life and her family and friends. While she lived with her one of her mother’s ex husbands the only one that was ever even close to father to her. At the end she shaves her head and her mom comes and they make up and love each other and shes realizes her mother actually loves her and cares. Yes, I would recommend this book to people because it is one of the best books i ever read. This book would be a good book for ages 12-21. I like this book even know it’s not like the other books i usually read.
wordforteens More than 1 year ago
I was going to compare this to <i>Something, Maybe</i> by Elizabeth Scott simply because of the similarities in the names, but the more I read, the more alike they were. As they were published around the same time, I can't even say that Lisa tried to rip Elizabeth's plotline off, or vice versa. Though an interesting story, it wasn't one of those that I would buy in a store (with the exception of the cool lookin' girl on the cover) or that I would keep, had it not been an ARC when I got it. The similarities between it and <i>Something, Maybe</i> were astounding, though. They're titles are similar. Both have to do with taking a road trip involving something with fathers. Both Maybe and Hannah have two males in their life, at least one of which they are romantically interested in. Both have fathers they end up despising. Both have mothers that seem to hate them at first but it ends up just being their unique brand of love later.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book you would not want to put down! It is based on real life things for a normal teenage girl! You want this book!
MissPrint More than 1 year ago
Meet Maybelline Mary Katherine Mary Ann Chestnut ("Maybe" for short). Maybe was named for her mother Chessy's favorite brand of mascara and two of Chessy's favorite Miss Americas. Living above her mother's charm school, perhaps it's not surprise that a lot of what Maybe does is part of a backlash against her mother. Chessamay Chestnut Abajian Wing Marshall Wing Sinclair Alvarez (and soon to be Himmler) is a serial marryer. Somehow she winds up married to every man she dates--everyone except Maybe's father who remains a mystery. Most of the time, Maybe can deal with all of that. Sure, her mother's charm school students taunt her and constantly make fun of her baggy clothes and funky hair colors, but they don't matter. Neither do Chessy's not-always-so-gentle criticisms. Maybe is above all of that. At least until Chessy chooses her sketchy fiance over Maybe, which is the last straw and convinces Maybe that she has to leave her hometown. And her mother. For good. So Maybe recruits her best friends Ted and Hollywood to go with her to Los Angeles to find Maybe's father. Once the trio gets to LA they soon realize that the search will not be easy. Finding money and a place to live is hard enough, but finding a man you know nothing about on top of that is even harder. While Ted is building his career and Hollywood is making a film, Maybe finds herself adrift in her search. Along the way they encounter a lot of things: a screen idol, a Rolls-Royce, a taco truck. Eventually, Maybe finds the father she's been searching for albeit not where she had expected. More important than that, Maybe finds herself. Not the beauty queen daughter her mother wanted, or the angry Goth teen she became in response to Chessy's hopes, just herself: Absolutely Maybe. Although this book is bizarrely similar to Vibes I'd say that Absolutely Maybe is for older teens. This novel is gritty. Nothing about Maybe's life is easy at the beginning of the novel. Even when she gets to LA, Maybe and Ted find themselves homeless and scrounging for meals. Yee handles all of this with enough gravitas to make it realistic and enough humor to make it bearable. Maybe is a really fun character with lots of snark and heart, the only problem (and maybe this is me) was that I kept misreading her name as the word "maybe" which required some necessary re-reading. This story is also populated with some of the best side characters ever. To say Ted and Hollywood are awesome is to belittle the greatness of both characters. Ted's exhuberance and enthusiasm are infectious, coming straight from the page to the reader. And Hollywood is Hollywood. He was so well-realized as I read this story that when Maybe referred to his as "cowboy" it was enough to picture his entire personality. I'm a bit torn about the ending of the novel because it is not the ending I wanted per se. In a way this further illustrates the "gritty" realism of the novel. I wanted the Hollywood/fairy tale ending whereas the book gave me a more realistic, still satisfying, ending. I am not, however, holding that against Lisa Yee or Absolutely Maybe. It just means this book requires more imagination about what happens outside of the pages. An excellent coming-of-age novel, Absolutely Maybe is like nothing else, which is appropriate since Maybe is an unforgettable, unique heroine (and her friends are pretty memorable too).
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Nothing else to be said.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Alison Bevard More than 1 year ago
I couldnt put this book down! it takes you on a journey with the main character -A
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
DP925_SN More than 1 year ago
Absolutely Maybe was a good book with intresting characters once you have read some of it you can't put it down because there are always questions that need answering. This book was great for my book club and intresting to discuss. It was both funny and serious kind of like just looking at serious situations in a little bit of a less serious way. I would recomend to anyone looking for a book with real life situations, and something funny, something intresting, and something with some suprise turns twists and ends.
GirlwiththeBraids More than 1 year ago
Mabelline had a father once, she knows that much. Her mother never explained anything except when she was under the influence, even then it was only one or two things. Maybe's mother, Chessy, had a 'fling' with a talent searcher years back and now she lives with Maybe in the apartment above her charm school. Charming, isn't it? After living with six different stepfathers, Maybe wants to meet her biological father. With only a picture and a first name as clues, Maybe sets off for Los Angeles with her two buds to find her dad. While both of her friends are off having the time of their lives, all Maybe has is a bag of clothes, a street corner, and one mischievous homeless woman who is convinced she's Audrey Hepburn. While an unrealistic storyline can be refreshing, it made Absolutely Maybe dull and forgettable. I did not enjoy any of the characters. Some parts of the book were sweet, I'd have to give it that, but it was usually ruined by Maybe's inane thoughts or fast actions. Maybe was a shallow main character that was trying to get portrayed as an unaware, innocent teenager. The writing was a little random and stayed inside the lines. I loved how the chapters were short for a quick run through but they ended abruptly and lacked depth. I still don't know who Maybe was as a person. There was no moral or lesson and Maybe hadn't grown at all throughout the book. I believe this read is a waste of time. Contains: *homosexuality *sexual references *attempted rape
TeensReadToo More than 1 year ago
ABSOLUTELY MAYBE by Lisa Yee is due out in February 2009. It is her first YA/teen novel - and readers will not want to miss it.

The main character is Maybelline, "Maybe" to her friends. She is currently living above her mother's Charm School. She is surrounded by glamour and future pageant hopefuls, but she feels anything but glamorous. Depending on the day, Maybe's hair color might be red, green, or blue, thanks to endless boxes of unsweetened jello. Her baggy black T-shirts, goth eyeliner, and dark lipstick have her mother frantic. That is, when her mother isn't busy trawling for her next husband.

Maybe's best friends, Ted and Hollywood, are the only things that keep her going. Their support helps her tolerate her mother's boyfriends-turned-step-fathers, until the most recent, Jake, makes an attempt to turn Maybe into more than an innocent step-daughter. When her mother sides with her pervert husband-to-be, Maybe decides it is time to follow through on her lifelong dream to find her mysterious biological father.

Ted and Hollywood join in the adventure as they head to L.A. in search of all their dreams.

Their arrival in California is followed by terrific opportunities for Ted and Hollywood, but not so much for Maybe. After weeks of living homeless, she finally searches out her mother's husband #2/#4, the only one who made Maybe feel anyone ever cared for her. At least now she has a place to call home while she continues her search for the father she never knew.

Yee's characters draw readers right into their lives. You'll find something to like about all of them, and they'll make you anxious to turn to the next page and sad when you arrive at the last one. There are humorous escapades mixed with sensitive, sentimental scenes as Maybe's story is revealed.

I can only hope that Maybe returns someday to let readers know about the next chapter in her awesome life.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
DanceBree17 More than 1 year ago
Absolutely Maybe is a very entertaining book about Maybe(short for Maybelline, yes the mascara) and her search for her mysterious father. Its made difficult because Maybe's mother has married, and divorced so many times. But she clings to the idea that her birth father is out there and maybe living with him would be better than the life she has at home. Maybe's mother is a former beauty queen, trying to run a charm school for other beauty wannabe's, and going from one boyfriend to another. In my view the mother is not very supportive, and at times is way too harsh in her treatment of Maybe. At the time Maybe runs away, the mother could have made things a whole lot better if she had believed Maybe's story, but she didn't. Also Maybe's friends Ted and Hollywood, while both best friends of hers, treat her really badly once they get to California. But she gets by and eventually lands at the home of ex father #2 and #4, Sammy, and things turn around for her. Of all the characters, I really like Jess who runs a taco truck that parks down the road from Sammy's house. She hangs out there, but soon is helping out, and before long Jess and Maybe are working together and doing such great business together. The talk of tacos and food cooking in these scenes can make anyone hungry!! The ending does not work for me, but it seems to fit with the style of the novel, and you just have to work out in your mind what might happen to her next. It might be interesting to hear more about Maybe and the others in a sequel though. Really great for a quick read in the summertime.