Author: Melissa Kantor
Category: Young Adult
Publisher: Harper Teen
Release Date: 2-18-14
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. – Goodreads
In the realm of cancer books, I don’t see as many that focus on the best friend of the patient quite like Maybe Some Day. In this story, we get the perspective of Zoe, whose life is thrown into chaos when her best friend is diagnosed with aggressive Leukemia. I really liked the focus on a positive female friendship that seemed, not perfect, but very real. They were different people and their personalities seemed to balance the other in a good way. We get to know Zoe a little better since the book is told from her perspective, but I do feel that I got to know both girls. The medical information was very realistic, which really brought me into the story. Without feeling like it was data dumping, I could tell that the author went to great pains to try to present information that created this world of cancer treatment without sounding like an educational video. Because of that, I found Zoe’s worry and pain to be a very compelling part of the story. It seems odd to say you need world building in a contemporary novel, but when it’s such a specific experience I think it’s necessary, and Maybe One Day did a good job. It also set Zoe on the path of self-discovery, which was a big part of this book. Sickness brings new perspectives into the lives of everyone involved, and I really appreciated the way Zoe’s realizations were presented. She didn’t look at her sick friend and decide to save the world, but she did gain some new insight about life and taking chances. There was also a romance side story that fit in well with the rest of the plot while keeping the focus on the friendship.
Comparisons to The Fault In Our Stars are inevitable, of course, but this book stands on its own because it is coming from a different place, I think. The friendship that existed before cancer sets the foundation for the time during treatments and hair loss and all of the things someone so young shouldn’t have to face. It deals with the complicated family dynamics of being practically family, but not quite. It shows the strain and guilt and conflicted feelings that people who watch someone suffer must go through. Zoe’s voice is honest and her thoughts were very realistic. By seeing her friend go through this, she is able to see some parts of her life a little more clearly, and while there were very brief moments where the writing seemed to foray into after school special territory, it mostly stayed at a balance between sadness, struggle, and humor. I was able to get a sense of both girls and the strong bond they shared, even before illness. This is not a book for the weak-hearted and I did need tissues while I was reading, but Maybe One Day was a thoughtful look at friendship, illness, and and what it means to share the good and the bad with a close friend.
I received this galley in exchange for my honest review.