Friday, March 28, 2014

Maybe One Day - Melissa Kantor

Maybe One Day - Melissa Kantor
Maybe One Day by Melissa Kantor
Publisher: HarperTeen
Publication Date: February 18, 2014
Source/Format: Edelweiss (Thanks Harper Collins!) || e-galley; Borrowed from the library || Hardcover

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. (from Goodreads)


I like stories that tell of friendships, because it has always seemed to me like friendships are an essential part of life. The minute I heard that Maybe One Day was about two best friends dealing with one of them getting diagnosed with cancer, I knew I had to read it. The novel has had an interesting reception, but I personally took a liking to it. It delivered just what it had promised – the story of Zoe and Olivia’s friendship.

Zoe is truly complex, and not immediately likable. The novel is actually mostly her story, as the girl with a best friend who has cancer. It’s an interesting perspective take, and provides a rationale behind how some of her actions, thoughts and words were selfish and petty. Zoe is merely reacting to Olivia’s situation, with bouts of bitterness, anger, fear and sadness. There were, in the end, things I loved about her though – her love and loyalty to Olivia, her strength and vulnerability in her circumstances.

Olivia, on the other hand, is gracious, gentle, beautiful – the most tragic of heroines. She is Zoe’s polar opposite, easily kind, able to see the good in others and love them deeply. I worried a little that Olivia might wind up portrayed as a perfect martyr, but Kantor perfectly integrated moments where Olivia was extremely vulnerable and angry and afraid.

It’s their friendship that takes center stage in Maybe One Day, a friendship that was real and flawed. The girls revisited old memories, even as they readjusted to the presence of cancer in their lives. Of course, their friendship wasn’t perfect, but it felt true. It’s the kind of friendship where you’ve known each other for what feels like forever, sharing everything from clothing and trends, to experiences and emotions. Their friendship just drove home the point that Olivia’s cancer was a grave affair indeed for them both.

Apart from the friendship, Kantor managed to integrate family and romance pretty well into her novel. Zoe’s parents were there for her, doing their best to be understanding of what she was going through. Olivia’s family – her parents and her siblings – were pretty amazing at showing love, support and concern for Olivia, and including Zoe as a part of the entire experience. The romance started off on a tentative foot, but blossomed into something that was a nice balance, a foot in the “real world” for Zoe. Even though it never became a huge part of the story, it was definitely a nice touch.

Though I never fully connected to Zoe or Olivia, I still liked Maybe One Day. It was a well-written story, and one I really enjoyed because of the strong friendship aspect it had. Kantor has certainly taken on the challenge of writing a cancer story that’s different from others out there (at least among the ones I’ve read) and succeeded quite nicely. If you like reading about friendships, and don’t mind having to actively learn to understand and like a main character, Maybe One Day will certainly work for you.

2 comments:

  1. For me, I liked Maybe One Day a lot because of Zoe's feelings after the ballet company drops her, she feels apathetic and unworthy and I could relate to that. For me, it wasn't hard to connect to her. Anyways.

    I agree that the friendship was well done and fleshed out, especially because the experience included family and crushes and you know, those totally factor into friendship.

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  2. I could probably get past Zoe's initial unlikability (for lack of a better word! haha), if I found the friendship one worth reading about.

    Cancer books always make me nervous, but I like that this one is told from the best friend's perspective; makes it just a little different from every other cancer book I've read.

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