Yes No Maybe So - Becky Albertalli

Chapter One


“Oranges don’t have nipples,” says Sophie.

I park our cart by the display pyramid, pointedly ignoring her. You could say there’s a part of me that doesn’t want to discuss nipples with my twelve-year-old sister in the Target produce section. And that part of me. Is all of me.

“They’re tangelos,” Sophie adds. “Tangelos have—”

“Good for tangelos.” I tear a plastic bag off the roll. “Look. The sooner we get everything, the sooner we can leave.”

Which isn’t a diss on Target. No way. Target’s the best. It’s kind of my personal wonderland. But it’s hard to catch that anything-could-happen, big-box-general-merchandise vibe when I’m here as my cousin’s errand boy. Gabe is the assistant campaign manager for a special election in our district, and he never seems to run out of random jobs for Sophie and me. This morning he texted us a snack list for his volunteers: oranges, grapes, chocolate, pizza bagels, Nutri-Grain bars, water bottles. NO APPLES. NO PRETZELS. All caps, in true Gabe fashion. Apparently, crunchy foods and political phone banking don’t mix.

“Still think they look nipply,” Sophie mutters as I reach for a few tangelos near the top of the pyramid. I like the ones that are so bright, they look photoshopped, as if someone cranked up the color saturation. I grab a few more, because Gabe’s expecting at least ten volunteers tonight.

“Why does he even want oranges?” Sophie asks. “Like, why pick the messiest fruit?”

“Scurvy prevention,” I start to say—but two girls step through the automatic doors, and I lose my train of thought completely.

Listen, I’m not the guy who can’t function when a cute girl walks by. I’m really not. For one thing, that would imply I was a functional person to begin with. Also, the issue isn’t that they’re cute.

I mean. They are cute. Around my age, dressed for Georgia summer air-conditioning in zipped-up hoodies and jeans. The shorter one—white, with square-framed glasses and brown spiral curls—gestures emphatically with both hands as they approach the carts. But it’s her friend who keeps catching my eye. She’s South Asian, I think, with wide brown eyes and wavy dark hair. She nods and grins at something her friend says.

There’s just something so familiar about her. I swear, we’ve met before.

She looks up, suddenly, like she senses me staring.

And my brain stalls out.

Yup. Yup. Okay. She’s definitely looking at me.

My friend Drew would know what to do here. Eye contact with a cute girl. A girl I’m pretty sure I know from somewhere, which means there’s a built-in conversation topic. And we’re in Target, the definition of my comfort zone. If there’s even such a thing as a comfort zone when cute girls are involved.

Dude, just talk to her. I swear to God, it’s not that deep. I wonder how many times Drew’s said that to me. Eye contact. Chin up. Smile. Walk over.

“Okay, Mr. Heart Eyes.” Sophie nudges me. “I can’t tell which girl you’re looking at.”

I turn quickly back to the tangelo display, cheeks burning as I grab one from the bottom of the pyramid.

And everything comes crashing down.

First the pyramid trembles—followed by the thwack thwack thwack of oranges raining to the floor. I turn to Sophie, who claps both hands over her mouth and stares back at me. Everyone’s staring at me. A mom pushing her baby in a cart. The guy manning the bakery. A kid, pausing mid-tantrum near the packaged cookie display.

Of course, the two girls are front and center. They stand frozen by their cart, with matching uh-oh expressions.

Thwack thwack thwack. And again. Without pause.



The last tangelo falls.


“A cartoon character,” Sophie finishes.

“Okay. Yeah. I can fix this.” I squat down right where I’m standing, and start passing tangelos up to Sophie. “You take these.”

I tuck a few more into the crook of my arm and attempt to stand, but I drop a bunch of them before I’m even upright. “Crap.” I bend to grab them, which sends a few more tumbling down, rolling toward the apple display—which you’d think wouldn’t happen with tangelos. Shouldn’t the nipples keep them from rolling? I scoot on my knees toward the apple display, hoping nothing slid too far under, when someone clears his throat loudly.

“Okeydokey, my dude, let’s keep you away from the apples.”

I look up to find a clean-cut guy in a red polo shirt and a Target name tag. Kevin.

I scramble up, immediately squishing a tangelo beneath my sneaker. “Sorry! I’m sorry.”

“Hey,” Sophie says. “Jamie, look at me.” She’s holding her phone up.

“Are you filming