10 February 2014

Review: Maybe One Day by Melissa Kantor

Maybe One Day by Melissa Kantor

Expected Publication: 18 February 2014 by HarperTeen

Pages: 304 (hardcover)

Genre/s: Young Adult, Contemporary

Source: Publisher for review


Critically acclaimed author Melissa Kantor masterfully captures the joy of friendship, the agony of loss, and the unique experience of being a teenager in this poignant new novel about a girl grappling with her best friend's life-threatening illness.

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.

My Thoughts

Books about serious illnesses have a weird pull for me.  I know they will be difficult and emotional for me to read, but I also like to push myself to confront the things in books that I find very hard to talk about in real life.  This is why I read books such as Maybe One Day - I know they will hit close to home and make me reflect upon things in my own life, but using them as a catalyst helps me work through my own personal emotions.

Olivia and Zoe have a once-in-a-lifetime kind of friendship.  Their personalities are very different, but they compliment each other, and their lifelong obsession with dance binds them even closer together, and this relationship is what I loved most about this book - their relationship feels very real, and the emotions that Zoe goes through during Olivia's illness are very realistically portrayed. Although the story is told from Zoe's perspective, her interactions with Olivia, Olivia's family and her own family tell their story too - and all their reactions felt very real and emotional.

However, I did have one issue with Zoe's character - and it's when she makes a rather nasty generalisation about a group of kids at her school, and then just a few pages later states that she hates gender generalisations.  It's a small moment, but it really bugged me, and I found it more difficult to connect with Zoe from then on.

What I did like is that Cantor pulls no punches when it comes to Zoe's emotional reactions to the situation - she moves through different stages of anger, sadness and acceptance, whilst still standing by her best friend's side.

The synopsis hints heavily at a relationship, but it actually plays a very small part in the story - this book is much more focused on friendship and the emotions of having someone you love being diagnosed with a serious, life-threatening illness.  Zoe shows real strength as a character in putting Olivia's needs before her own, and making her the number one priority in her life.

Apart from my one issue with Zoe, this is a book that had a huge emotional impact on me - in fact I forgot to take notes whilst I was reading, but everything came flooding back once I re-read the synopsis.  It's a story about friendship and growing up, learning to accept things that cannot be changed and making the most of every moment.


  1. Soma InsomniaOfBooksFebruary 10, 2014 at 1:34 PM

    Well, this book does look really good and I am glad that I got to read your review

    Your reader,



  2. Oh good - I thought the romance was going to be a bigger thing.

  3. I really like the sound of this one. I'm not big on emotional books, but I'm reading more of them. I'm glad you enjoyed it, I'll have to keep this in mind!

  4. YES. Zoe's generalisations were the WORST. She was so unaware of her double standards. I could not even with her. I can see your point about being realistic, with initial selfish reactions and such, but, sadly, I couldn't get past Zoe and DNFed. Glad it worked more for you, though!



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