Book Review: Our Year Of Maybe by Rachel Lynn Solomon

Book: Our Year Of Maybe by Rachel Lynn Solomon

Published January 2019 by Simon Pulse|384 pages

Where I Got It: I borrowed the hardcover from the library

Series: None

Genre: YA Contemporary

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 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.

I was pretty excited about this one after reading You’ll Miss Me When I’m Gone.  Our Year Of Maybe was okay, and I didn’t like it as much as I wanted to.

I didn’t care for Sophie or Peter.  Their friendship didn’t work for me at all and it seemed like she needed him a lot more than he needed her.  I felt like she couldn’t function without him, to the point that she didn’t want to go away for a weekend because she couldn’t see him.  Their friendship seemed really one-sided, and it was strange to me that it was so much on Sophie’s end, considering she was the one who didn’t need a kidney.

I do think it’s awesome that she donated a kidney, even though her parents didn’t seem to agree with her decision.  And we do see Peter struggle with taking her kidney, and feeling like he owes her everything for what she did.  But the fact that he seemed to know she had feelings for him, and didn’t really talk to her about didn’t sit right with me.  It’s fine if the feelings aren’t reciprocated, but he acted like things were fine until he decided to say something.  I don’t know why he didn’t say anything earlier…well, actually I do, and I’m pretty sure it’s the kidney she donated.  But still, I just didn’t like it.

I did want more background on why she decided to donate.  I wasn’t completely sure why she decided to it, especially with her parents not seeming happy about it.  She was 18 when she did it, so I don’t know how much influence they could have had, but I know for me, my grandparents still had a pretty big influence on me, and I would have taken their concerns into account.  But maybe that’s just me.  Still, I would have like more on that.

I thought Sophie was pretty bratty, though.  All she cared about was Peter, and as much as she seemed to love choreography and dance, she seemed to not want to do anything with it unless she could stay near Peter.  I did like seeing her eventually start hanging out with others, but by that point, I just didn’t care.  Also, she was horrible to her sister, who was a teenage mom.  I wish we saw a little more with that, but this book was not about the relationship she had with her sister.

2 stars.  I didn’t particularly like Peter or Sophie, and there were some things that I think needed more information.

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Book Review: You’ll Miss Me When I’m Gone by Rachel Lynn Solomon

Book: You’ll Miss Me When I’m Gone by Rachel Lynn Solomon

Published January 2018 by Simon Pulse|384 pages

Where I Got It: I borrowed the hardcover from the library

Series: None

Genre: YA Contemporary

A moving, lyrical debut novel about twins who navigate first love, their Jewish identity, and opposite results from a genetic test that determines their fate—whether they inherited their mother’s Huntington’s disease.

Eighteen-year-old twins Adina and Tovah have little in common besides their ambitious nature. Viola prodigy Adina yearns to become a soloist—and to convince her music teacher he wants her the way she wants him. Overachiever Tovah awaits her acceptance to Johns Hopkins, the first step on her path toward med school and a career as a surgeon.

But one thing could wreck their carefully planned futures: a genetic test for Huntington’s, a rare degenerative disease that slowly steals control of the body and mind. It’s turned their Israeli mother into a near stranger and fractured the sisters’ own bond in ways they’ll never admit. While Tovah finds comfort in their Jewish religion, Adina rebels against its rules.

When the results come in, one twin tests negative for Huntington’s. The other tests positive.

These opposite outcomes push them farther apart as they wrestle with guilt, betrayal, and the unexpected thrill of first love. How can they repair their relationship, and is it even worth saving?

From debut author Rachel Lynn Solomon comes a luminous, heartbreaking tale of life, death, and the fragile bond between sisters.

I really liked this book!  I especially liked the relationship between Adina and Tovah, and how much Huntington’s changed their families and their lives, and especially the relationship with each other.

I can’t imagine having a twin and then finding out one of us had no risk at contracting a genetic disease, while the other one of us would.  Adina really struggled with it, and while she took it seriously, knowing that the results have completely changed her life, she also went down this very destructive path.  I can understand that maybe she doesn’t want to deal with it, and to a degree, she pretends like everything is fine.  But I still can’t imagine reacting the way she does.  Everyone’s different, of course, but she took it to a completely different level.

Adina has people who care about her, but she doesn’t seem interested in seeking help until the very end of the book.  Maybe she had to hit rock bottom to realize she needed more help than she wanted to admit.  Still, you never know how you would react to the type of news she receives, and I don’t want to judge her too harshly just because I don’t think I’d react the same way.

The book does make you think, not just how you’d react, but if you’d even go in the for the testing.  Some people want to know, and some people don’t.  Even I’m not sure if I’d want to know, but at the same time, part of me would.  Also, I think it’s important to know what runs in your family and to make sure you’re following up on things.  Like getting your yearly physical or mammogram, or following up on diabetes or whatever it is.  Seriously, though, it is important to follow up on stuff like that.

I did have a harder time relating to Adina, and I felt like Tovah and I were more similar.  And they have a really difficult relationship- they definitely drifted apart, and part of me hopes that they are able to work it out.  As an only child, I do not get the relationship between siblings at all, and I had a hard time relating to how much they seemed to dislike each other.

Still, we do see how they’re both dealing with everything, and this is one of the few times I actually like the dual POV.  It worked for this book, because you’re following two very different people dealing with a lot of different things.

4 stars.  I really liked You’ll Miss Me When I’m Gone, and there were a lot of things I was thinking about while reading it and even after finishing it.