Maybe One Day
by Melissa Kantor
Expected Publishing Date: February 18, 2014
Length: 304 pages
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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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.
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.
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.
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.