Maybe One Day

Melissa Kantor

HarperTeen

maybe one day coverMaybe One Day is a story that nearly reaches the summit of what it tries to accomplish, but is then hindered by the romance storyline. Best friends Zoe and Olivia are heartbroken at the start of the novel, having been rejected for further studies at their ballet academy. Olivia seeks recovery through socializing and teaching dance classes, but Zoe retreats into herself, resistant to her friend’s attempts to draw her out. When Olivia is diagnosed with leukemia, Zoe is faced with the very real possibility of losing the only person with whom she feels a true connection.

The best thing about this book is that it’s not about cancer. It’s about friendship and connection and fulfillment, all things that Zoe struggles to comprehend and keep. She isn’t a likeable heroine, and she isn’t at all charming. She is stubborn and difficult, a teenager frustrated with the way her life isn’t unfolding. Kantor doesn’t shy away from this portrayal, letting Zoe push back and establish her own ground, as tiresome as it can be for the reader at times.

Where Zoe is prickly, Olivia is pleasant. She makes friends easily even among girls who admit to having felt intimidated by the dancing pair. Her reaction to learning that she had cancer was predictable, and there were moments that made me wonder what it would have been like if Zoe had ended up in the hospital bed. There’s a roughness to Kantor’s writing style that seems to impede itself, and that may be Olivia’s influence on Zoe and the story. The other characters aren’t as memorable as the two main characters, and while that helps to maintain the focus on their friendship and its possible untimely end, it also means that the story doesn’t have much else to build on.

What happens to Olivia is obvious by the halfway point, but Kantor brings in a romance for Zoe, to lukewarm results. I never felt that there was any real chemistry between Zoe and Calvin, and that the story had the potential to stand on its own without him. There are ways to grow up without a boy by your side, and the relationship between Zoe and Olivia has enough to drive that point home. It’s clear that they each provide something that the other needs–patience for Zoe and a blunt voice for Olivia–and the moments that showcase that are the most powerful.

Readers looking for books of a similar vein to The Fault in Our Stars will gravitate easily to Melissa Kantor’s newest novel, and perhaps will not find the romance as lackluster as I did.

This book is now available at your local bookstore.