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Absolutely Maybe

3.66  ·  Rating details ·  1,387 ratings  ·  235 reviews
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 Youn
Hardcover, 288 pages
Published February 1st 2009 by Arthur A. Levine Books
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Average rating 3.66  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,387 ratings  ·  235 reviews

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Mar 23, 2009 rated it it was ok
So I read this great blog post about the rewrites Lisa Yee did to this book before it was published:

It actually reminded me a lot of the rewrites I did to my own book, so I was all "HURRAH NOW I WILL READ HER FINISHED PRODUCT AND REJOICE FOR HER!"

Sadly, I am not impressed.

Listen, it doesn't suck or anything. It's just very "meh". There are way too many cliches for my taste, I didn't actually feel like the L.A. setting was as authentic as it could have been (whic
Jennifer Wardrip
Reviewed by Sally Kruger aka "Readingjunky" for

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 endl
Feb 26, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Lisa Yee takes a departure from her usual middle grade fare to offer a more mature look at adolescence in Absolutely Maybe. 15 year old Maybe (short for Maybelline) lives in Kissimmee, FL with her mother, Chessy. Chessy is a former beauty queen who now runs a charm school for aspiring pageant winners, and everything she cares about is anathema to Maybe, who would rather wear kohl eyeliner and purple lipstick and Hanes beefy-ts every day than a crown. Chessy's on-again, off-again relationships wi ...more
Jun 11, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Finished with this yesterday, and a very satisfying read to say the least. It was funny and awesome. But writing this one made me wonder.. Why do mostly YA books had a girl as their main character?Was it because it was mostly girl who read YA? Hurm..That`s something to ponder...

Anyway, this read was totally opposite the one I had with 'Aces Up' that I`ve reviewed previously. This felt much like reading Tara Kelly`s 'Amplified' all over again, except less emo and more plot, which was
Jenn Estepp
Pretty disappointing, because I like Yee's middle grade novels so much. In a lot of ways this book reads very similar to them, except that the protagonist is older and has more serious problems. And yet, it doesn't feel like, as a character, she is that much more evolved or mature - she certainly didn't feel like a sixteen or seventeen year old to me. I also felt like she - Maybe - is a character to whom things happen and reacts, but does very little proactively. She's really passive when left t ...more
T.V and Book Addict
Feb 08, 2009 rated it really liked it
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
May 20, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: ya
To truly enjoy Lisa Yee's Absolutely Maybe, you will need to suspend your disbelief in a major way. Driving from Florida to California in a beat-up old Toyota that doesn't break down? OK. Driving cross-country with no place to stay or means of support when you get there? No problem. Snagging a cushy job with a faded Oscar-winning actress, who lets you drive her Rolls Royce? No way! Hoping to find your biological father with only a first name and a photograph? Extremely unlikely. But Maybelline has iss ...more
Jillian -always aspiring-
DNF. This book lost me when the heroine’s mother supported her fiancée’s claims that her daughter had come onto him. Ugh, that made me so mad, so I just rage-quitted.
Abena Osei-gyamfi
Apr 10, 2013 rated it really liked it
In the book Absolutely Maybe, the main character, named after her mother’s favorite line of makeup, Maybelline, has a rough life. Her mother is into beauty pageants and even runs one of her own. Everyone looks at Maybe and expects her to be all girly and prissy, but she is the opposite. She has pink hair and her best friends are two “weird kids” named Ted and Hollywood (nickname). Her mother is a drunk, along with her stepdad whom she does not like. To make matters worse, one day, her stepfather trie ...more
Emma (Miss Print)
Nov 22, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: vine
Last Wednesday my CLW book was Vibes by Amy Kathleen Ryan (released 2008). I procured that book on the same day I requested a copy of Absolutely Maybe by Lisa Yee (released Feb. 2009). While reading this book I was struck by the similarities between the two characters (apathetic/angry, fixated on eyeliner) and even the books themselves (the covers just seemed very close to me for some reason perhaps because I really liked them both). I don't know if it's relevant to the review, but I just wanted ...more
Nov 12, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Maybelline Mary Katherine Mary Ann Chestnut, named for her mother Chessy’s favorite brand of mascara and two Miss Americas although better known as Maybe, pretty much hates her life in Kissimmee, Florida. Maybe’s mother isn’t silent about how she despises Maybe’s appearance, but that’s about as far as mother-daughter contact goes. It seems Chessy likes her charm school students and beauty pageant winners better than her own daughter. After six husbands, none of which were actually Maybe’s biolog ...more
Dec 25, 2008 rated it liked it
Summary: “Meet Maybelline “Maybe” Chestnut. She may be named for her mother’s favorite brand of mascara, but she has a mind—hair color—all her own.

Meet her mother, Chessy—that is Chessamay Chestnut Abajian Wing Marshall Wing Sinclair Alvarez and soon-to-be Himmler. The one man she didn’t marry? Maybe’s father

Meet Ted and Holloywood, a.k.a. Maybe’s best friends. When Chessy chooses her latest scuzzball fiancé over her daughter, the trio sets out to find Maybe’s dad in Cali
Feb 06, 2011 rated it really liked it
Maybelline Mary Katherine Mary Ann Chestnut, Maybe for short, is named after her mother's favorite makeup brand, Maybelline, which Maybe hates as well as her mom's charm school. When her mother's soon-to-be seventh husband tries to rape Maybe, her mother walks in on them and blames Maybe. Tired of her mother's put downs and parade of husbands, Maybe decides to go find her biological father. She knows he was in show business and her only other clue is an old photograph with the name Gunner. She h ...more
E. Anderson
Aug 26, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Lisa Yee's first young adult novel begins in Florida, where Maybe - short for Maybelline Mary Anne Mary Katherine Chestnut (she's named for her mother's favorite mascara and two beauty queens) - has finally had it. She's sick of her mom, who dotes on her charm school students. She's sick of her mom's students, who pick on her in school. And she's sick of her mom's fiancee (who will be her jillionth stepdad) who has finally overstepped his bounds in a serious way. Worst of all, Maybe's mom blames ...more
Charles Raymond
Apr 13, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Absolutely Maybe by Lisa Yee is definitely a girl book. I meet the author at a conference in Miami and she has a personality that goes on and on like the Energy Bunny. So I decided to by her book and see what its like to read one. Well, I can't say enough about the book. The characters are colorful. The main character's name is Maybelline, she was named after her mothers favorite brand of mascara, but everyone calls her Maybe, she is a teenage girl who failed charm school, which is owned by her ...more
Miz Lizzie
Apr 25, 2009 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: 12-16 year olds
Maybelline, Maybe for short, is named after her mother's favorite mascara. Her mother is a former beauty queen and current operator of a charm school. Naturally, Maybe is in complete rebellion against everything her mother stands for. When her mother's soon-to-be-husband-number-six makes a pass at Maybe, Maybe runs away to Hollywood with two friends on an extremely irrational and unplanned attempt to find her biological father -- whom she has never met and only knows his first name. The book sta ...more
Mar 23, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Loved this authors way of approaching a tough subject and drawing the reader in. Maybelline, mary katherine mary ann chestnut a.k.a Maybe thinks that if she can just find her biological father her life will be perfect. She heads to California with her two guy friends and soon finds out that although her friends are adjusting to the new surroundings, she isn't and money is running out. She only has a first name for her father and that he was a "big wig in the production business" before she was b ...more
Sep 28, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: teen-fiction
Maybe (short for Maybelline) her mother's favorite mascara is a complicated character. She dresses in large over-sized clothes, dyes her hair with kool-aid and enjoys wearing lots of black eye-liner. Her mother is a former pageant queen and now runs a beauty and charm school. She has also been married several times. Maybe and her mother do not have a great relationship and Maybe spends a lot of her time feeling ugly, hurt and taking abuse from the girls that her mother coaches.

Mom (or as Maybe
Nov 01, 2008 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: teenage girls
Maybe is the daughter of a charm school beauty pageant queen gone wrong, but Maybe has a charm all her own. After kissing Kissimmee good-bye, she heads to Hollywood with friends in search of her father. There is something endearing about both the characters and the details. When Maybe moves in with her ex-stepdad, we move right in with her. Yee never belabors a point or a detail. With a few choice words, she sketches a character or scene out of thin air and then moves right along. By the end of ...more
Jan 18, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Lisa Yee's first book for young adults is a terrific coming-of-age story. Maybelline Chestnut (named after her mother's favorite makeup) leaves home with her two best friends on a road trip from Florida to California, searching for her real father. Along the way, she finds adventure, challenges, really great tacos, new friends, and a place to call home.

Fans of Lisa Yee's books for middle grade readers who have grown a little older will be thrilled with this new title. It has all the same gems o
Apr 29, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: tween, teen-ya
Maybe (named Maybelline, after her mother's favorite mascara) is the daughter of a former beauty queen and a father she's never met. She and two friends (one who's going to USC film school) head to L.A. to try to find her father. There is an attempted rape scene, yet this book still reads young to me, more like a tween or very young YA. (I hate the word "tween," by the way, and would never say it ou loud.) Lisa Yee is a solid, funny writer, but I think she's stronger as a middle-grade writer (so ...more
May 16, 2011 rated it it was amazing
I really loved this book. This goes to show that if the author is talented, they can breathe life into characters and make you care about them. Maybe, the main character is an alternative girl who has mother issues. When her mom's boyfriend tries to rape her, she's had enough, and decides to flee west with her two best friends in search of her birth father. What follows is a memorable story about characters who are vivid and an ending that left me wishing for a sequel to find out how all of thes ...more
Oct 02, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: young-adult
Touching story, fast-paced read, Maybe is a character I alternately sympathized with and wanted to lecture; very realistic teen! Fans of books that feature journeys as a coming-of-age technique, like So B. It, will enjoy immensely.

I do wish more had been done with Maybe's relationship with Jess. Additionally, I the incorporation of cooking/serving food. That reminded me of Hope Was Here and The Fortunes of Indigo Skye.
Deb (Readerbuzz) Nance
Jul 24, 2009 rated it really liked it
I dived right into this book at the library conference last week and I couldn’t stop reading. Love Maybe and her mom and her friends. Must find a new teen reader to pass this on to.

Just a little plot info: Maybe is Maybeline, a girl her mother named after her favorite brand of makeup. Her mom is a serial marrier, set to pick up husband number seven. Maybe goes off with friends to California in search of the father she never knew and the one man her mom did not marry.
I was pleasantly surprised by this one--I was expecting some fluffy, brainless book, but instead got a well-rounded character who deals realistically (which is to say, not always terribly well) with some serious crap being thrown at her. While there is maybe a liiiiittle bit much thrown at her in the beginning, her reactions make sense in relation to who she herself is. There was a lot more meat to this than I'd anticipated. I like it when books surprise me like this!
Feb 23, 2009 rated it really liked it
I really liked this book. I thought that Maybelline had a very funny personality, and I loved the characters. A few parts of the book actually made me laugh out loud (but that is might just be me...)! Personally, I liked this better than the other one of Lisa Yee's books I've read (Millicent Min, Girl Genius).
Margaret Stohl
Jun 28, 2009 rated it it was amazing

The main character, Maybe, works at a taco truck and dyes her hair with sugar free kool aid. What more do I need to say? Everything about this book is as quirky and wonderful as Lisa Yee can be. I was so impressed that I will be sad to give this autographed copy away on the Beautiful Creatures site...but at least now someone else will get to like this book as much as I did!!!
Jul 15, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: teenfiction
This was my first Lisa Yee novel (I know, I'm a slacker) and I thought it was wonderful! Maybe was such a fresh and fun character. She actually reminds me a bit of my friend who up and moved to LA - including the hair! It was a quick fun read that I devoured in one sitting.

Recommended - middle school
Mar 18, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Finished this book in a flash! It was well written. This is a YA book that does delve on love story. It dwells more about friendship, relationship between her mom and transformation to be more confident to oneself. Great book!
Jordan Funke
What an adventure with such awesome characters. I can so clearly imagine Maybe, her mother, her friends, her hometown in Florida, the people she meets in LA, the places she goes in search of her bio-dad. These people and places will stay with me.
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Lisa Yee was born and raised near Los Angeles. As a kid, she loved reading, opening brand new boxes of cereal (to get the prize), and riding the teacups at Disneyland.

Lisa attended Brightwood Elementary School in Monterey Park, California where she once won an award for best decorated cake. However, Lisa cut the ribbon in half because her friend Linda had also worked on the cake, and t