Maybe One Day by Melissa Kantor ( web | tweet )
Publication Date: February 18, 2014
Target audience: Young adult
Keywords: friendship, cancer, high school, dance
Format read: ARC from Publisher via Edelweiss.
Summary: Junior year doesn’t go according to plan for best friends Olivia and Zoe when Olivia is diagnosed with cancer. What does this mean for their dreams of moving to NYC together? Can Olivia survive this? With already so much in their lives changed, Zoe tries to be a good friend during the bad times but doesn’t always succeed. What do you do when you can’t foresee what will happen next?
Have you ever read a book that was completely addicting, really moving (enough to make you cry), and in the end, still had no idea how to rate it?
That’s exactly my relationship with Maybe One Day. On one hand, I was so thrilled to have a strong female friendship portrayed in my young adult literature. And on the other, some rough transitions, offhand comments from the main character (football players learning to rape?), and overlooked characters and situations continued to nag me and therefore, affected how I felt about the entire book.
Zoe and Olivia’s friendship reminded me of a few of my high school friendships: knowing each other since childhood, spending time together after school pursuing other passions, practically sharing family, and making plans for that future far and beyond high school and college. They were lifers. So I can only imagine how heartbreaking it was for both of them with Olivia got sick. First you guys are both cut from the New York Ballet Company, and now your partner-in-crime is laying in a hospital somewhere — hoping that treatment can zap this villainous disease out of her system.
Nothing prepares you for moments like this, that’s for sure.
I admired Zoe’s devotion to Olivia, big time. She visited the hospital, she called, she even took over her dance class on the weekends and Skyped her in when she could. But most of the time, she feels helpless. Her grades slipped because when she’s not spending time with Olivia, she’s thinking about her. Truth is, Zoe was kind of lost before this happened with Olivia. She missed dancing, soccer didn’t cut it, and maybe she just wasn’t ready to trust herself dancing again. She didn’t have something to fill her time like she used to. I can imagine how out of control everything felt for her.
We do have a potential romance with Calvin, which is kind of complicated because Olivia has a crush on him and Zoe doesn’t like him much at first. But I really liked him. Even when Zoe was difficult, he never stopped trying to be her friend. (Plus he was always there for Olivia’s brother. Nice guy.) I could have used more of him to lighten up the book and make his story arc a bit more complete. He felt glossed over, and his chemistry with Zoe was just too good to be ignored. (Even if it was a messy pairing; in the beginning, I thought she would hit it off with Olivia’s brother.)
While I loved Zoe and Olivia’s bond, the heartfelt efforts of their classmates, how Kantor’s words made me feel so much, there was something that didn’t click for me. Was it the deep detail that was given to some scenes and not to the ones where Zoe’s character growth could have been realized? Or maybe how the first section of the book was substantially longer than the others making it feel a little uneven? It’s true the emotions were heavy in Maybe One Day and the friendships were meaningful but sharper focus on who the story was actually about would have made it entirely more effective.