Maybe One Day by Melissa Kantor | Book Review

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Maybe One Day by Melissa Kantor | Book ReviewMaybe One Day by Melissa Kantor
Also by this author:
Published by HarperCollins on 2014-02-18
Genres: Death & Dying, Friendship, Love & Romance, Social Issues, Young Adult
Pages: 304
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon

In the tradition of The Fault in Our Stars, 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. A person's whole life, she's lucky to have one or two real friends. Friends who are like family . . . for Zoe that someone is Olivia. So when Olivia is diagnosed with leukemia Zoe is determined to put on a brave face and be positive for her best 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.

When I was feeling burnt out and a bit down, I decided on a whim to pick up a book that would be decidedly more depressing than my actual life. I chose Maybe One Day by Melissa Kantor which is one of those cancer books. I’m not sure what to think of the sick lit genre except that life is tough and awful, terrible diseases happen so might as well read about them. Personally, I’ve no actual experience with illness. I haven’t lost anyone very close to me to cancer, but it’s likely that someday I will. Regardless. Maybe One Day is a heartbreaking read about what happens when your other half, your very best friend in the entire world gets leukemia. It is not an easy, fun read but it’s emotional is what I can say.

Melissa Kantor’s Maybe One Day opens up with Zoe and Olivia receiving devastating news: they are no longer good enough to dance in the New York Ballet Company. Zoe takes this especially hard as dance is a huge part of her life. Olivia, however, rolls with the punches and is upset, yes, but moves on easier. The two best friends then begin their junior year at Wamassat High School, in New Jersey. Things are going okay, only Zoe feels unmoored and kind of lonely actually. She has a tough time making friends and dance isn’t occupying her anymore. She signs up for soccer, but isn’t so into it. Olivia becomes friends with the cheerleaders as she teaches in the same recreation center that the cheerleaders teach tumbling at.

One day, Olivia stays home from school because she’s feeling really sick. She has bruises from nowhere. So, her parents bring her to the doctor at Columbia hospital in New York City where they find out that Olivia has Acute Myeloid Leukemia and that she will have to undergo chemo three times and maybe even get a bone marrow transplant. And so, Maybe One Day is about Zoe coming to terms with Olivia’s diagnosis and enduring the pain of her very best friend in the world going through a life-threatening disease.

I feel like I might fail you at describing my feels and emotions for each character in this book and that you might not end up convinced to read this which would be tragic because Maybe One Day is a superb piece of contemporary young adult fiction. Zoe, the main character, was so easy to relate to and care about. First off, she always feels like she is the odd one out and you guys, I have been there. I know that feeling. She’s that girl who is alone in the crowd, ya know? She cares so incredibly deeply for her best friend and yes, she does some things that make me cringe and that seem horrible — like wishing it was Jake who had leukemia instead of Olivia, and you guys, it’s grief and sorrow, that kind of thing will happen when you are extremely upset. I’m not going to judge her for that feeling. I thought that Kantor did a great job portraying just how twisted up and out of sorts Zoe was.

As for Olivia, she’s a bit resigned to her fate. I wasn’t sure what to think about her, like obviously I liked her and wanted her to pull through, but I wasn’t sure if it was going to be me having secondary character feelings for her or LOVE THIS CHARACTER FEELINGS. Turns out, it was the second, LOVE THIS CHARACTER. Y’all, Olivia is kind and gentle and warm. She’s the sort of person that you just read the bad news about and then feel like you’ve been brought to your knees. She’s effortless to care about is what I am saying. I got so invested in Olivia that I was white knuckling the book and well, it felt like she was my best friend too, ya know?

The back cover flap makes this book sound like a torrid love triangle of awfulness. There’s a bit that talks about Olivia having cancer and Zoe going out and falling in love with the boy that Olivia was in love with. You guys, that flap is all bullshit. This is not one of those dramatic soap opera books. First off, Olivia has a crush on Calvin who plays football with her brother, Jake, but it’s nothing super serious. When Zoe catches feelings for Calvin, it’s nothing where I shook my head and thought, the tramp! Instead, I felt glad Zoe was into Calvin. He’s a genuinely good guy and one who is also deeply hurting over Olivia’s pain. He really cares about Zoe and it’s cute to see their relationship develop from hate to love — when we start the book Zoe finds Calvin incredibly annoying.

Maybe One Day by Melissa Kantor is the perfect read when you need to feel something. It is sad, it will make you cry. It will make you laugh. It will make you want to hug your best friend. Maybe One Day is a beautiful story about best friends going through the worst tragedy imaginable. I love this book you guys. LOVE IT.

The following two tabs change content below.
April is in her 30s and created Good Books And Good Wine. She works for a non-profit. April always has a book on hand. In her free time she can be found binge watching The Office with her husband and toddler, spending way too much time on Pinterest or exploring her neighborhood.
About April (Books&Wine)

April is in her 30s and created Good Books And Good Wine. She works for a non-profit. April always has a book on hand. In her free time she can be found binge watching The Office with her husband and toddler, spending way too much time on Pinterest or exploring her neighborhood.


  1. You’ve sold me. Marking this as a book to check out, especially if I’m after an emotional packed novel. Also, I think this’ll be interesting coming from the POV of the best friend…although thinking about it, this will make it even more sad to read. Off to add to my to-read list! Amazing review, April!

  2. I’m SO happy I found someone else who loves this book too. It seems like everyone really hated it and every time I click on another review for it, it’s really negative.

    I thought that the author did a great job of honestly portraying the uglier side of grief, the side we keep to ourselves and want no one to know about. Especially when Zoe wished it was Jake. I think it’s a pretty common thing to do – wish it was someone else. It’s just not something we like to admit, because it IS ugly. But grief isn’t this glamorous, beautiful thing. Loss is devastating and will destroy some people and families and it’s important to look at it honestly. Not everything is a John Green book.

    I was worried about Zoe’s budding relationship with Calvin because I didn’t want Olivia to be hurt. But I was also happy that she found someone that she could be open and comfortable with. I had really conflicted feelings about their relationship, but again, I like how the author handled it when it came to Zoe telling Olivia the truth.

    Anyway, this was a great review and I’m so excited to see Maybe One Day getting the praise I feel it deserves!

  3. I’m reading this one next, so I skimmed your review enough to see that you liked it. I’m glad — I have to prepare myself for the sadness, though. Sounds like it’s worth it. Thanks.

  4. Yeah! This sounds like exactly what I was hoping it would be! I’m so glad this is a book about friendship versus being a book strictly about cancer, that’s always a plus! The characterization sounds pheonominal and I’m really looking forward to seeing it firsthand. Zoe and Olivia sound like such realistic, raw characters – and that’s always a big plus for me! And the way you explained what an emotional impact this book leaves on you…it just makes it sound that much better!

    I’m definitely going to have to pick up a copy of this ASAP! Thanks for sharing – and – as always – brilliant review April! 😀

  5. I’m glad to see that you enjoyed MAYBE ONE DAY. It seems like a sad, but moving story (and I really love that it’s about best friends), and I’m looking forward to immersing myself in it.