Monday, April 28, 2014

Review: Maybe One Day by Melissa Kantor

Maybe One Day
by Melissa Kantor
Release Date: February 18th, 2014
2014 HarperTeen
Hardcover Edition; 384 Pages
ISBN: 978-0062279200
Genre: Fiction / Young Adult
Source: Review copy from publisher

3 / 5 Stars

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.

My Thoughts
Maybe One Day is one of those books that I definitely had mixed feelings towards.  I really wanted to like it, really, really wanted to like it, but I just had to admit to myself that I had some serious issues with the plot and one of the main characters, and it was too much to ignore. 

When I first read the plot, I thought there would be a bit more ballet in it as I am a huge ballet fan, but I was to be seriously disappointed in this.  While I could actually live with this, as a teacher, I had a hard time with the way the girls were dismissed from the school and it nagged at me like a fly that just won't leave you alone.  I just couldn't imagine an institution like the New York Ballet Academy dismissing the girls in such a manner, together, without their parents, without a probationary period, especially having spent so many years training there.  And before I get flack from this, I do have a couple of friends who went to the National Ballet Academy in Toronto so I am a bit familiar with the process simply because I drilled them mercilessly about it.  So when I asked my friend about it, she laughed out loud and said it was unrealistic.  And that's how the book started, with that sitting in my mind.

I really enjoyed Olivia's character, simply because she was the least annoying of the bunch.  She was sweet and gentle, and took the time to really connect with ALL of her friends while she was sick, as well as her large, extended family.  She just seemed genuine to me, and I had a lot of sympathy for her situation.  Where I had a problem is in the speediness of her diagnosis and treatment.  Everyone has had an experience with cancer and probably has a lot of different stories to tell, but it just seems so unlikely that I had a hard time buying it.  I had a student diagnosed with leukemia a long time ago, and it definitely didn't occur in one day.  The amount of tests this student had to undergo during the diagnosis process was staggering, and took weeks to complete before a complete treatment plan was set in motion. Perhaps some hospitals are different?  But this was a Sick Children's Hospital too.  I also really liked her older brother Jake as he seemed very kind, asking how Zoe was doing every day and giving her special treatment, not that she really deserved it as she kind of wished he was the one dying and not Olivia.  Zoe and Olivia together were okay and I liked a lot of their scenes together; it was probably the most genuine parts of the book and the parts where Zoe actually seemed nice.

Zoe is the one with whom I had the most issues as I couldn't seem to connect with her character although I really tried.  I tried to be sympathetic and understanding, knowing she is just sixteen years old, and going through a really difficult time, losing both ballet and possibly her best friend.  However, that is really no excuse for treating people the way she did and I was ready to throw the book against the wall several times.  I am supposed to excuse the fact that she stereotypes everyone and treats people like crap?  Especially when they are being kind and considerate for her feelings?  It just kept lowering her on the rung of decency for me, and I almost didn't finish the book at one point. That would be the point when she suddenly decided she liked Calvin as he was her way of "escaping" the situation.  What?!?!  You're using this guy so you won't have to think about your problems?  Another step down the decency ladder for me.  And there was actually no connection between them for me as they didn't actually have a conversation about their relationship that I could see, they just seemed to make out all the time.  It was far more interesting when they were arguing and disagreeing as it seemed more realistic.  

Maybe One Day just didn't quite meet the mark for me and came rather close to be a DNF.  I managed to finish it and was glad I did as it was probably the best part of the book, rather bittersweet, but for the first time, Zoe was real and I saw a glimmer of someone I could possibly like.  I have a funny feeling many readers will probably like this one a lot more than I did, but I just couldn't connect with Zoe and thought she was selfish and spoiled, which ruined a lot of it for me.  Furthermore, while I enjoyed the scenes at the hospital with Olivia and her family (rather bittersweet), I had a hard time getting past some of the hospital routines and procedures that pushed that skeptic button inside me.  Growing up with a nurse for a mother who worked with cancer patients, I had a hard time buying into some of it.  I also found the writing to be stiff and contrived, and sometimes rushed, as if the author forgot to add something and absolutely had to add it at that moment (hence the romance, which was not needed and actually turned me off this novel). This author does have a lot of talent and the ability to draw a reader in, but I almost felt like she tried too hard.  Would I recommend this novel?  Yes, as I think a lot of people would enjoy it, just not me.  Would I read another book by this author?  Yes. 


  1. Good review, and good reasons for why it came up a bit short for you.

    1. Thanks, and I'm sure others will greatly enjoy it. It just didn't work for me. Cheers!!

  2. Hi there - sounds like a fair review. Not all reviews can be excellent and I appreciate that you point out the bad with the good. Take care! :)