Monday, April 7, 2014

Review: Maybe One Day by Melissa Kantor

384 pages
Published: February 18th, 2014 
Published by: HarperTeen
Rating: 3/5

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.
Maybe One Day is a story about friendship, not about cancer.  Zoe and Olivia are two inseparable young girls who are focused on their future and are not expecting the curveball life's about to throw their way. When Olivia is diagnosed with leukemia, Zoe has to balance her constant need to be near her friend and her life outside of Olivia's illness.

I didn't love this one but I didn't hate it either. The story is told through the perspective of the healthy friend, Zoe, which is interesting. You get to experience Olivia's sickness from the outside and it gives  you the chance to see how the people close to her are overwhelmed with her diagnosis. However, her point of view hinders the emotional connection that I was expecting to get while reading this book. I never felt sad about Olivia's situation because I didn't feel like I knew her enough. I didn't see her as anything other than Zoe's friend and I wasn't affected by what she was going through because we don't get to read about her perspective.  Zoe's constant struggle between living her life and being there for her friend creates that bond between the girls but it wasn't enough. I'm a very emotional reader and I didn't cry. Not once. Did I feel sad? Sure. But the story didn't haunt me like I thought it would. There's also some romance thrown into this novel and I felt like it was very flat and not very well developed. I do have a little crush on Calvin, though. All in all, I wasn't able to connect with the story or the characters and considering this is a story about a teenager with cancer, that's not such a good thing. 

I think the downfall of this novel is the marketing campaign. It is being sold as the next The Fault in Our Stars, which is a tall order and completely out of reach for many loyal readers of John Green. While this story touches your heart in more ways than one, it has too much fluff to impact you the way The Fault in Our Stars manages to do. If we focus on Maybe One Day as an individual rather than comparing it to such a successful novel, we can see its vulnerability and the message of mortality that it sends the reader. It addresses friendship, lost, and love in a nice little package. Even though Maybe One Day could've been a lot better, I liked Zoe's journey and I would recommend it to anyone who enjoys realistic novels about difficult issues. 
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