My Best Friend, Maybe
by Caela Carter
Expected Publishing Date: June 3, 2014
Length: 352 pages
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA
Obtained Via: I was given a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review via NetGalley from the publisher. I was not compensated for this review, and this is no way affects my opinion of the book.
Format Read In: E-ARC
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Colette has been bored and lonely ever since her best friend, Sadie, dumped her the summer before they stared high school. She tries to be perfect for everyone left in her life: her parents, her younger brothers, her church youth group, even her boyfriend, Mark. But Colette is restless. And she misses Sadie.
When Sadie tells Colette that she needs her old friend to join her on a family vacation to the Greek Islands, one that leaves in only a few days, Colette is shocked to hear their old magic word: need. And she finds herself agreeing.
Colette tries to relax and enjoy her Grecian surroundings but it’s not easy to go on vacation with the person who hurt you most in the world. When the reason for the trip finally surfaces, Colette finds out this is not only a fun vacation. Sadie has kept an enormous secret from Colette for years…forever. It’s a summer full of surprises, but that might be what Colette needs.
Best friend break-ups are hard. They’ve even harder if you don’t really know why the other person decided to stop hanging around you, and I suspect to have a former best friend suddenly invite you along to Greece with her family would be even more difficult. Yet, that’s the situation Colette finds herself in when former BFF Sadie invites Colette to a wedding. . . in Greece.
My Best Friend, Maybe is full of tough decisions and themes. Colette and Sadie both find themselves having to confront their own prejudice and preconceived notions again & again. Colette learns early on that Sadie has a very different interpretation of what happened three years ago when they stopped being friends, but she’s not actually telling Colette her side. Colette’s attempting to enjoy herself and build the bridge between her and Sadie, only for it to keep being dismantled. It’s a fraught situation and does NOT exactly bring out the best in any of the characters, but I loved them all anyway.
Colette could have easily been me at sixteen. She’s trying to figure out what she really thinks against the backdrop of her background. She’s a youth group kid with strict, but loving, parents who are trying to do what they think is right. The problem is when their version of “what’s right” clashes with Colette’s (and this reader’s). Colette is constantly finding herself torn. At the beginning of My Best Friend, Maybe, she’s all set to take a mission trip with her boyfriend, but if Sadie says she needs Colette, can she turn her away? It’s those decisions that Colette has to make pretty much every other page, and I felt drawn to Colette instantly. I’ve so been there, in that constant tension where you never know what the “right” decision is.
Well, as the summary provides, Colette ends up in Greece with her Sadie’s family. And while the relationships–and mainly the friendship–was the focal point of My Best Friend, Maybe, the setting was absolutely stunning. I have no idea about the accuracy of how the Grecian setting was portrayed, but I absolutely felt like I had been transported there. Carter did a phenomenal job describing the setting so vividly without being overly wordy. I could see the blue water and taste the spices. It was a really interesting place for a setting in regards to how the characters learn how to rediscover themselves and their friendships in a new place. I don’t think those same characters could have been as vulnerable without such a setting.
I could discuss at length the friendship between Colette and Sadie, but I’m afraid of venturing into spoiler territory as to all the “whys” and “what now”. The friendship in general, though? I felt Carter absolutely nailed friendship between girls of that age. The entire time I was reading My Best Friend, Maybe I kept being reminded of all the important friendship moments in my life–including some of the bad ones. The things that this book explored in relation to friendship are essential, really. I can only imagine how helpful I would have found My Best Friend, Maybe in my own teenager years.
Colette’s internal struggles are real, and she’s constantly changing her mind. If characters who flip-flop on decisions easily annoy you, this might not be the book for you. I found those struggles, particularly as they related to Colette finding herself in a religious framework, particularly well done, and I thought her constant changing her mind refreshingly realistic. Being in those situations can be tough, and they can do a number on your head and decision making. If I were a teenager, facing the same choices Colette faced(and make no mistake, I DID face quite a few of the same ones in my teenage years), I think I would have reacted similarly.
A realistic look at friendships in formative years and how easily they can fall apart, but also how enduring they can be. I particularly thought Colette’s struggles between balancing what her parents thought was right and what Colette thought was right rang true to life. I really recommend this one to anyone who wants a story in a great setting about realistic teenagers and their friendship. 4/5 cupcakes.