Book Review: Maybe One Day by Melissa Kantor

Posted January 27, 2014 by Stormy in Books / 16 Comments

Maybe One Day

by Melissa Kantor

Maybe One Day

Expected Publishing Date: February 18, 2014
Length: 304 pages
Publisher: HarperTeen

Obtained Via: I was given a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. I was not compensated for this review, and this is no way affects my opinion of the book.
Format Read In: E-ARC
Amazon Purchase Page: Maybe One Day
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the story morning glory

Zoe and her best friend, Olivia, have always had big plans for the future, none of which included Olivia getting sick. Still, Zoe is determined to put on a brave face and be positive for her friend.

Even when she isn’t sure what to say.

Even when Olivia misses months of school.

Even when Zoe starts falling for Calvin, Olivia’s crush.

The one thing that keeps Zoe moving forward is knowing that Olivia will beat this, and everything will go back to the way it was before. It has to. Because the alternative is too terrifying for her to even imagine.

In this incandescent page-turner, which follows in the tradition of The Fault in Our Stars, Melissa Kantor artfully explores the idea that the worst thing to happen to you might not be something that is actually happening to you. Raw, irreverent, and honest, Zoe’s unforgettable voice and story will stay with readers long after the last page is turned.

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This book is SO sad, but also beautiful. I’m not typically a fan of sick-kid stories because I hate the way so often disease is trivialized and romanticized, but this one was getting good early reviews so I decided to take a chance, and I’m very glad I did. Maybe One Day is a beautiful story about true friendship and loss and grief, one that I would shove in the hands of all my friends for sure.

Olivia and Zoe have been best friends for years. They’ve seen each other through multiple ups and downs, encourage each other, and know each other’s lives so well they could live them. They’ve been ballet dancers together and are inseparable, so the idea that one of them could become so ill and frail is unthinkable, but that’s exactly what happens. Maybe One Day is written in Zoe’s point of view as she has no choice but to look in and see her best friend go from healthy to ill so quickly.

Whenever a cancer or illness story comes up, the first question I ask myself is this: Is the plot predictable? Is it like every other sick kid story out there? Maybe One Day answers that question both ways. In some ways, there’s nothing new when it comes to Maybe One Day. The plot is predictable. However, I liked that Maybe One Day did not romanticize Olivia’s sickness. She doesn’t suddenly get inspired to have some grand plan to complete in a week or two to fulfill the rest of her life. In fact, one of my favorite moments in the book is when Olivia gets really sick, Zoe goes to her hospital room, and Olivia MAKES her talk about future possibilities. It’s a poignant scene because of how brave it is, I think. Olivia basically tells everyone around her to stop acting like her remission is a SURE thing and she NEEDS to talk–really talk, person to person, without everyone trying to shove inspiration down her throat. It’s the scene that is so often missing in books like this.

Despite my glowing praise for Maybe One Day, I actually almost DNF’ed at the beginning. It takes a little while to get situated to Zoe as a narrator. She’s judgmental and stuck up, and treats most people around her as less-than except for Olivia, which I didn’t feel was needed to cement their already strong friendship. There was a certain remark she says about a football player and rape that really angered me and I decided to put the book down if anything like that came up again. Luckily, it didn’t, and the story definitely took a turn for the better. Zoe is a bit haughty at times, but she comes to realize it. While a small part of the book, one thing I really enjoyed was seeing Zoe realize that while she may be Olivia’s best friend, she’s not the only one who cares. The people she always passes off as being dumb–like the cheerleaders–really DO worry about Olivia and show their concern, though not always in the best way.

I know I’ve hinted around it, but by far the best thing about Maybe One Day is just the AMAZING friendship story. I’ve so longed for this kind of story in YA–all too often you see friends who are on the outside of the story, not really getting involved. Maybe One Day was a book that brought me back to some of my favorite high school friendship moments and also made me teary to see this amazing friendship being put through the wringer. No matter what happens, Olivia and Zoe are best friends, period, and it’s something that is missing in so many of these stories. I absolutely loved it as friendship stories are some of my favorites, and I’d recommend it to anyone who wants a tearjerker friendship story.

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As someone who has lost someone close to me because of cancer, I always get nervous when it’s part of a book because it’s so often it’s done in a way that I find normally distasteful. Not so with Maybe One Day. I thought the way Kantor dealt with illness, especially how it affects teenagers, really well done, and I appreciated that.

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Maybe One Day was a beautiful story of friendship and grief, and while it hurt my heart, it was SO well done. I felt like the friendship between Olivia and Zoe was so special and it totally reminded me of my really close high school friendships. This is an emotional story for sure, but it was so worth the teary eyes to read it.  4/5 cupcakes.

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4 Stars

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16 responses to “Book Review: Maybe One Day by Melissa Kantor

  1. I’m definitely going to be reading this one after reading your review. I’ve seen some mixed reactions, so I was a little hesitant. I’m really happy that you liked the way she portrayed the illness because I have a relative suffering from cancer right now and when it’s done well, these kinds of books are really comforting for me/therapeutic. Also, YAY for a good friendship story. We need more of those.

    • stormydawnc

      Yeah, it’s definitely a book some people haven’t liked because some of the cancer stuff isn’t as realistic(just in order of timeline being treated, etc.), but I thought the *emotional* aspect was done really well, and I liked how the focus was on friendship.

  2. Hmmmm. I have no idea how I think I’d feel about this! If you wanted to DNF it, you know I probably would hahaha. I just don’t enjoy “sick kid stories” (lol) as much either. I appreciate sad books but for some reason illnesses just turn me off. I think I read too many as a kid haha!

    • stormydawnc

      Hmm, in that case, I probably wouldn’t recommend it.I have a pretty low threshold for these types of stories, even though I enjoyed this one. Maybe two a year! And I read so many as a kid too! I remember Lurlene McDaniel’s books! Those were the ones that had people dying left and right in tragic circumstances.

  3. I also liked how Kantor chose to go a different route with their friendship. Olivia doesn’t try to pretend like there’s nothing to worry about and I found that very realistic and touching. Great review!

    • stormydawnc

      Yes, I thought that honest conversation was so great and something that’s missing in a lot of books that also deal with this subject!

  4. I have actually heard someone else talk about that remark about a football player, so I know what you’re talking about. When I saw that, I was so ready to mark this book as never-going-to-read in my head, so I’m really glad I read your review. It would be sad if I dismissed this book because of that, because the rest of the book sounds beautiful in a tragic way. Also, a big yay for the friendship. The way you describe the friendship between Zoe and Olivia makes me really happy because I have longed for books with great friendships too. Great review! 😀

    • stormydawnc

      Yeah, that remark made me really made. I hate whenever rape is used as a punchline, and I kind of hope it’s removed in the final version. And it definitely lost some points for that, but the rest of the book was really compelling in my opinion! I love friendship stories, so I probably overlooked some things I wouldn’t have if this was a romance.

    • stormydawnc

      I definitely thought it did a good job! I know some reviewers didn’t like some of the portrayals of cancer–like how Olivia went from diagnosis to treatment in all but a day, which I agree with. But I thought the mental aspects were handled really well.

  5. Ooo this book might be WAY too sad for me. Beautiful or not, I can’t usually handle books like this well.

    However, I’m glad you enjoyed it.

    • stormydawnc

      It was really sad! I enjoyed it, but I probably wouldn’t pick it up again just because of that factor.

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