Our Year of Maybe by Rachel Lynn Solomon
An e-galley was provided by Simon & Schuster via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Summary: Aspiring choreographer Sophie Orenstein would do anything for Peter Rosenthal-Porter, who’s been on the kidney transplant list as long as she’s known him. Peter, a gifted pianist, is everything to Sophie: best friend, musical collaborator, secret crush. When she learns she’s a match, donating a kidney is an easy, obvious choice. She can’t help wondering if after the transplant, he’ll love her back the way she’s always wanted.
But Peter’s life post-transplant isn’t what either of them expected. Though he once had feelings for Sophie too, he’s now drawn to the guitarist in a band that happens to be looking for a keyboardist. And while neglected parts of Sophie’s world are calling to her—dance opportunities, new friends, a sister and niece she barely knows—she longs for a now-distant Peter more than ever, growing increasingly bitter he doesn’t seem to feel the same connection.
Peter fears he’ll forever be indebted to her. Sophie isn’t sure who she is without him. Then one blurry, heartbreaking night twists their relationship into something neither of them recognizes, leading them to question their past, their future, and whether their friendship is even worth fighting for.
The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly: One thing that I think more YA books need to do is explore the true complexities of friendship. Too often, the friendships in YA are frenemy situations, or too perfect, or too one-dimensional. But sometimes you come across a rare book like Our Year of Maybe that can portray just how hard and good and complex friendship is.
I found the pacing of the plot to be a bit off. This is definitely a book where not much happens - which isn't always a bad thing - but usually there's a clearer character arc to follow, and both Sophie's and Peter's arcs seemed a little ill-paced.
I loved how Sophie grew though, finding new friends and learning to bond with her sister. She felt like a teenager, and it was great.
I liked Peter's voice. The stuff with the band he joined was a little less interesting to me than Sophie's narrative, but I really liked Peter exploring Judaism as well as getting to immerse himself in the world for, truly, the first time.
Also the ending with Sophie's realizations about their friendship? So fascinating and thought-provoking. Hats off to the author because that was super well done.
Content warnings: some foul language, sex, some medical problems related to kidney transplants (idk if that'll make anyone uncomfortable, but I want to put it out there, just in case).
The Verdict: Honestly, better than I expected.
Will I be adding this book to my library?: Maybe.