Our Year of Maybe

  • Review
By – November 5, 2018

Sophie, a dancer and aspir­ing chore­o­g­ra­ph­er, and Peter, a pianist, have been best friends and musi­cal col­lab­o­ra­tors since child­hood. As long as they’ve known each oth­er, Peter has been ill with kid­ney dis­ease and on the list to receive a kid­ney trans­plant. Now teens, Sophie, who would do any­thing for Peter, jumps at the chance to donate her kid­ney when she dis­cov­ers that she’s a match. After the surgery, Sophie’s love for Peter grows. Though he loves Sophie, and is grate­ful she gave him the chance to have a nor­mal” life, Peter strug­gles to feel that owes her any­thing, espe­cial­ly after he returns to school and his life expands beyond his for­mer­ly insu­lar exis­tence, when Sophie was his only friend. Soon, Peter devel­ops a rela­tion­ship with a boy named Chase and even joins his band. Hurt and feel­ing aban­doned, Sophie immers­es her­self in dance team; she is also deal­ing with some ten­sions at home with her teen-mom sis­ter and young niece. Although Sophie hopes her love for Peter will even­tu­al­ly be rec­i­p­ro­cat­ed, she begins to won­der if their pre­vi­ous­ly tight-knit bond is becom­ing too dam­aged to be repaired.

Like Solomon’s debut nov­el, You’ll Miss Me When I’m Gone, this book is set in Seat­tle and fea­tures first-per­son dual points of view. The chap­ters alter­nate between Sophie and Peter offer­ing read­ers broad insights into both their indi­vid­ual expe­ri­ences and the mul­ti­fac­eted dynam­ics between them. The teens’ Jew­ish iden­ti­ties are essen­tial to their self-per­cep­tions and devel­op­ment. Sophie is proud­ly Jew­ish, and Peter, who is half-Jew­ish, feels drawn to Judaism and makes a point of learn­ing more about the religion.

With flawed yet relat­able pro­tag­o­nists who are on a real­is­tic, some­times painful jour­ney, Our Year of Maybe deft­ly cap­tures the com­plex­i­ty of the bonds of teen love and friendship.

Rec­om­mend­ed for ages 14 and up.

Jil­lian Bietz stud­ied library tech­nol­o­gy and research skills and cur­rent­ly works in the library sys­tem. She is a book review­er for the Jew­ish Book Coun­cil and Kirkus Review Indie. Jil­lian lives in South­ern California.

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