Maybe One Day by Melissa Kantor | Book Review




book synopsis Zoe and Olivia have been best friends since they can remember — they do everything together, they danced together, they planned for the future together. Then Olivia is diagnosed with leukemia and everything is so uncertain. Zoe tries her best to be there for Olivia and treat her normally as she continues to get treatment, misses school and seem to continually get weaker but it becomes hard for her with how everything changes and how she is supposed to continue living in a forward motion when things with Olivia are so uncertain.

good books to readOverall I rather liked this one and constantly couldn’t wait to pick it back up…but I don’t think it made the overall kind of impact to make it stand out for me that I thought it would be and there were some little things that irked me. But overall my feelings are more positive than negative — there was just some sort of disconnect there that is hard to explain. It just wasn’t all the way there for me.

Despite the premise which is an emotional topic — a young girl’s best friend being diagnosed with leukemia – it took me a little bit to get emotionally invested (I was invested in the story but not yet emotionally) but when I DID…WOW. I was a hot mess and just weeping by the end. Melissa Kantor got me SO invested in the friendship of these girls that I just felt everything along with them. I loved learning about their friendship and all its facets — how they met, how dance was this huge bonding thing for them and just all the things that best friends did and talked about it. It reminded me a lot of my best friend from middle school and I — being constant figures at one another’s houses and planning how we would do this and that together as grownups. I had some serious friendship nostalgia with this one.

I think that is really where this book shined for me — the friendship. It was complex and it wasn’t always perfect but they had such a strong foundation and really had such love for each other. I’ve read The Darlings Are Forever by Melissa Kantor and I think she really is just very talented in creating great stories of friendship that feel authentic and easy to relate to. Knowing the back story and FEELING the magnitude of their friendship made me invested in them going through this together and I appreciated that Zoe, who is definitely not always perfect and doesn’t always know how to deal with this, loved and supported Olivia in the best way she knew how — visiting her, acting normal towards her, teaching the dance class for her, etc. I felt it was realistic to how a teenage girl would react in this situation.

I know a lot of other people didn’t like Zoe but I really came to like her. She was doing the best she could in these uncharted waters. Having been a teenager when my mom was diagnosed with cancer, I know how you are consumed with it but at the same time, in grappling with it, you also very much are consumed with the other parts of life going on around you — boys, other friendships, things at school, etc. I felt Zoe was very real in this balance in trying to keep LIVING life but dealing with this situation with Olivia and I loved the secondary characters who added to all this. I know that it’s hard to swallow how things happen with Zoe and Olivia’s sort of crush but that didn’t bother me so much because she’s a flawed human being and we don’t always go about things they right way. I could feel her struggle with the whole situation and so it didn’t make me dislike Zoe and I REALLY loved Calvin (and wanted more of them maybe?)

Even though I grew to like Zoe, I think she was a bit of my disconnect alone.  Zoe’s relationship with dancing was a huge thing — something that was her whole life, along with Olivia, and she’s just never really been able to find what it is that makes her tick after she’s cut from dance. It derails her and how she became after made it hard to connect to her at first. She literally doesn’t have anything, besides Olivia, anymore. She’s disinterested in everything, and mostly everyone, because her plans don’t turn out how she thought they would and just stops living so she just kind of was a flat character for me until I got further in the story. She focuses on dealing with Olivia’s illness and being there for her and I saw glimpses of Zoe becoming interested in life again but I wish I would have seen more growth in her with really FINDING herself again because I might have not felt that disconnect.

“Time does not care how precious it is, how hard you are working not to squander it. Time passes.” — Maybe One Day


book reviewsIf you are looking for a good book about friendship that is emotional and heartbreaking but gives you the warm and fuzzies thinking about your best friend (or former partner in crime from your childhood like I thought of), Maybe One Day by Melissa Kantor is a very solid book. I think I’ve read more hard hitting books with similar subjects that had a bit more depth and a bigger impact but, overall, I feel very positively towards it besides some random things and some disconnect with Zoe herself — apart from who she was as Zoe & Olivia.

short book reviewmaybe-one-day-melissa-kantor

books you may also likeThe Darlings Are Forever by Melissa Kantor (more so if you liked the friendship side of this book), Before I Die by Jenny Downham, Second Chance Summer by Morgan Matson, The F-It list by Julie Halpern

for-fans-of-bookcontemporary YA dealing strongly with friendship, books dealing with cancer, books with main characters who are into ballet

Let’s Talk: Have you read this one? Heard of it? What did you think if you have read it? Did you like it less/more than me? Did anyone else feel a weird disconnect in ways? I attributed it to Zoe herself and feeling like I didn’t really KNOW her apart from her being Zoe & Oliva. What was it for you if you felt this? Did anyone else bawl?? Whew. I couldn’t stop.
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About Jamie

Jamie is a 32 year old married lady (with a new baby!!) who is in denial that she's actually that old to be a married lady and a mom. When she's not reading you can find her doing Pilates followed by eating ice cream, belting out Hamilton (loud and offkey) and having adventures with her husband, daughter and rescue dog.


  1. I felt the exact same way about this book. I really liked it, but it did take me awhile to get emotionally invested. I thought I would be sobbing the whole time, but it wasn’t until the end that I really started bawling my eyes out. I agree about Zoe too. She could have used more growth, but I liked her enough. It was a great book, but not one that will likely stick with me, you know? Great review!

  2. I think I had a similar experience. I really liked it (4 stars), but there was some disconnect, especially at the beginning. I considered putting it down at one point, but overall, I’m glad I didn’t, because of the friendship factor. It really was the highlight of the book! Zoe as a main character I could take or leave for about half the book, but eventually I grew to sympathize with her.

  3. I really want to read this book and thank you for your review!

  4. I felt the same way too – for more than one reason, but one was that I read three contemporary YA books with cancer in two weeks. I hope it is not a trend.

    I did love the friendship in this book and hope to see more books that focus on friendship.

  5. I just bought this yesterday! Melissa Kantor and Lauren Oliver did an event at my local store and I really liked Melissa’s reading. She mentioned that she feels Zoe is the most like her of all the characters she’s ever written, and that most of the reviews so far have called Zoe unlikable which makes her laugh.

  6. I’ve heard very similar thoughts on Maybe One Day. That there was promise, but that forming strong connections to the characters was difficult. I don’t think this book is for (cancer books rarely are), but thanks for the review.

  7. I’m still bothered that my review copy expired before I could read the last 50 pages, so now I’m waiting on it to show up at the library! But really, I think that MAYBE ONE DAY appealed to me solely because of that friendship. I’m always a sucker for stories that focus heavily on friendship, and this one did just that — and in a realistic way too!

  8. so I LOVED this book, but I also felt a very personal connection to it. I used to dance as a kid and quit on my own terms – but it still felt like there was a hole in my heart. I GOT how Zoe felt without dance and how hard she tried to push it away from her life. In addition I used to dance (the same company) with a girl, we were probably about 8 at the time, who had cancer…so again for me MAYBE ONE DAY was a personal connection. I really loved Zoe and Olivia’s friendship and I loved that it wasn’t all about the romance, esp for a cancer book this was unique in YA anyway. I’m glad to hear her other series, THE DARLINGS, also features strong friendship…I’ll have to check it out.
    Sorry you didn’t love it but I am glad you enjoyed it. 🙂

    • Yes it was definitely enjoyable and I looooved the friendship aspect but it just didn’t get to THAT place for me to be crazy about it. Still a solid read though. And wow! You def sound like you have a very personal connection! I love when that happens!

  9. princess says:

    really want to read this book……..

  10. Where can I find a pdf copy of the book? It would really make my day to have a copy of it. Thanks 🙂

    • Hi…I don’t know. Truthfully that makes me sad because I’ve met this author and she is lovely and it would be so much nicer for you to get it from the library for free or purchase it rather than download an illegal copy of the book that basically takes money out of this really super nice author’s pockets…especially when this was not a high list title from the publisher. 🙁

      • Yeah,a book would be nicer but the bookshop in my place says it’s out of stock already 🙁 so yeah, I’m still finding ways to get a copy and read the book already but thanks anyway 🙂