There are no spoilers in this review.
Sometimes, you stumble upon a book you’re just feeling certain about. It’s just a feeling, really, it’s just because of some keywords in a synopsis, because it’s an author you already love, because your most trusted bookish friends have loved it. You just know.
I’m not certain why, but this happened with Our Year Of Maybe. I haven’t read anything by the author previously and, despite hearing praise about her debut, You’ll Miss Me When I Am Gone, it’s not what made me say “that’s it”. It’s the synopsis, the original, unique idea and oh my god ALL THE FEELINGS I had while reading this.
A million thanks to Simon Pulse, Rachel Lynn Solomon & NetGalley for the e-ARC of this book. This did not, in any way, influence my thoughts and rating.
AN ORIGINAL STORY WITH TWO GREATLY SHAPED CHARACTERS AT ITS HEART
Our Year Of Maybe tells the story of two best friends, dealing with the aftermath of a kidney transplant between them. That’s the general idea and, friends, that’s already where this book had me, with the originality of its synopsis, the best friends links and all the feelings that goes with it all.
Told in alternative point of views, we get to know Sophie, a kidney donor for her best friend and next-door neighbor Peter and, well, Peter. Right from the start, we get to grasp these two characters and their complex, strong, codependent friendship on the page, something I adored. Yet, if the synopsis and the overall plot of the book deals with their friendship (and the little something more Sophie feels), this book isn’t solely about what links them together: it’s also about them individually.
It takes a stunning writer to give life to characters on the page and that’s what Rachel Lynn Solomon did: each of the main characters were three-dimensional, realistic and well thought-of, from the start. Sophie is passionate about dancing and choreographing, though she does not quite believe in herself. She also happens to have dyslexia, something that is quietly mentioned in the story and yay for rep. Peter is a pianist, a reader, passionate about music and still trying to find where he fits in with his own beliefs when it comes to religion, as he is half-Jewish. What made this read even more stunning, was the character-growth each of them went through in the matter of 300 and something pages. I loved seeing them grow, change, question themselves, their identities, who they are, what they believe in and the kind of person they want to be, too.
A STORY ABOUT AN ALL-CONSUMING FRIENDSHIP
Obviously, I’m going to talk about Peter and Sophie’s all-consuming, codependent friendship and the complexity of it all. For a fan of childhood friends trope and best friends trope, let me tell you, this felt like the icing on the cake and even more. I adored seeing the two main characters together and apart, grasping with love, friendship, the lines drawn between the two, the messed-up feelings and messed-up fights that tore my heart into a million pieces. Our Year Of Maybe is about friendship, it’s also about finding yourself on your own when you’re always used to be part of a pair and I loved that discussion thorough the book and how each of the characters grew, while realizing that. .
FAMILY VIBES, SISTERS, ADORABLE SIDE CHARACTERS
Our Year Of Maybe takes us on the perfect contemporary ride so, if you’re a fan of character focused-books, questioning identity, friendships, love, I’m telling you that you need this. It doesn’t stop there though: Rachel Lynn Solomon adds tastefully a little side of family vibes, with heartwarming moments between Peter and his dad about being Jewish, incredible and complex sister vibes with Tabby and Sophie, an adorable group of queer friends for Peter (who is bisexual, by the way, stated on page from page one, yay!), music and bands with strange names and BOOKSTORE KISSES and soft adorable boys and love interests and I should stop there. Probably. Most likely.
I’m guessing you know what my ending here will be. I hope you’ll pick up this book and I hope you’ll love it. If you’re a contemporary fan, or looking for a contemporary to read, let this be the one you’ll pick up soon. It made me cry and feel everything and honestly, that’s all I ever want to find in my books.
Final rating: It’s a HURRICANE (of emotions)!
Diversity: Jewish main characters (Sophie is Jewish, Peter is half-Jewish), Dyslexia (Sophie), Bisexuality (Peter), Korean side-character (Josh), Half-Argentinian character (Chase). This book is #ownvoices (Jewish) *
*from now on, I will be doing my very best to include a diversity category in my reviews as well as the trigger warnings one, to highlight diverse characters in the books I read. That being said, I am not perfect and please let me know if you see any mistake or something missing in both of these categories at some point. Thank you and I hope this can be helpful!
Rachel Lynn Solomon, Our Year Of Maybe, Published by Simon Pulse, January 15th, 2019.
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 Chase, 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 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
- Don’t miss out on my interview with Rachel Lynn Solomon, where we talked about Our Year Of Maybe, writing, music and favorites of 2018!
Did you read Our Year of maybe, or Rachel Lynn Solomon’s debut, You’ll Miss Me When I Am Gone? Do you want to?
Did you read any books with friendship at its heart lately? I’d love your recommendations! Let me know in comments!