Today I am a stop on a really interesting two-book blog tour hosted by Novel Publicity and Luminis Books. The tour kicked off on August 26th with Book #1, a historical literary book by Waimea Williams called Aloha, Mozart. That fascinating tour continued through the 7th and then on the 8th we kicked off part 2 which is for the book I’m reviewing: Laurie Gray’s book Maybe I Will.
Before Reading the Book
Before I read the book I chose to join this book tour because something about the book intrigued me and I wanted to check it out. What intrigued me was that the book is about a teen sexual assault but the “twist in the story is that we never know for sure if the victim is a boy or a girl, and we realize that it doesn’t matter, because it’s not about sex”. The author’s website says: “Written in the first person with no indication of Sandy’s gender, Maybe I Will presents each reader with two very different books depending upon his or her own projection of Sandy as male or female.” I think that’s such a fascinating approach to a book. How can we know and sympathize with and love the main character if we don’t even know a fundamental thing like the gender of the character? And yet, my suspicion before even reading the book was that if this was well done it would prove the point that what matters is the way the act affects the person, regardless of who they are.
After reading the book I haven’t yet decided how I feel about it. I think it’s interesting that the author has been able to do this successfully. I think it’s intriguing that you could choose to look at it either way. For me personally I found that the gender wasn’t really relevant and I’m not sure the story would have read differently to me either way if I’d applied a gender to the protagonist in my mind. It’s interesting.
Covering Tough Topics
The book is about sexual assault, but that has a ripple effect and the book talks about a lot of other important and difficult teen issues including:
- Stealing/ lying
- Friendship issues and struggles to fit in
- Authority issues
- Trust issues
- Self-destructive behavior
- Transitioning into personal empowerment
In fact, the details of the sexual assault take up less than one page of the book so the book is really about how to deal with trying to handle an issue as a teen that feels too big to deal with on your own but that you aren’t sure how to talk to someone else about … that’s really valuable.
And a Literary Twist
Take a look at the beginning of each chapter in the book and you’ll find a quote from Shakespeare there. The quote is directly related to what you’re about to read. It’s an interesting literary twist that seems appropriate especially considering it’s a teen book and Shakespeare is commonly read in high schools. I’m not really a fan of Shakespeare myself (respectfully so) but some of the quotations chosen really inspired me.
Poetry within the Pages
Like many other books I seem to be reading lately there is also some of the protagonist’s poetry written into the pages of the book and I really enjoyed that part of the writing. My favorite quote is:
“I have this feeling.
Somewhere in the universe there must be a word.
A word attached solely to this feeling alone.
A word that I could say, that you would hear,
Allowing us both to understand.
If such a word exists, it eludes me.”
What I Liked Most
I think my favorite part of this book is that it shows the teen’s resiliency. The main character is an actor who is playing Peter Pan in a school play and also takes up the martial art of tae kwan do. This is in addition to writing as a form of self-expression. All of this helps to provide positive outlets for dealing with the stress of the situation even though the teen does engage in some risky, questionable behavior like drinking. I loved that this was worked in!
Who Should Read The Book
- Teens struggling with personal issues including but not limited to sexual assault
- Teens who know someone who has gone through sexual assault and want to understand them better
- Parents of teens; it’s a great conversation starter for important issues you should be discussing with your teen!
- People who work with teens, especially high risk teens and teens dealing with issues of abuse, criminal activity, etc.
- Writers interested in the unique approach of telling a full story without sharing the gender of the author and readers interested in how a book like this could be interpreted in different ways.
- Book clubs; it’s a good story for conversation.
More About the Author
Author Laurie Gary had a great background in understanding teen issues and abuse/assault issues before writing this book:
- She was a high school teacher.
- She also works as an adjunct professor of criminal sciences at the university level.
- She was a deputy prosecuting attorney.
- She is a bilingual child forensic interviewer for a Child Advocacy Center.
- She serves annually on the faculty of the National Symposium for Child Abuse in Huntsville, Alabama.
They always say that you should write what you know and it seems in this case that she has drawn directly from her work experience and the things she’s encountered in life to write Maybe I Will. She previously authored the novel Summer Sanctuary, which received a Moonbeam Gold Medal and was named a 2011 Indiana Best Book Finalist. She has a 2014 book planned called Just Myrto.
More About the Publisher
Luminis Books is a proud independent publisher located in Indiana. Learn more here.
More About Novel Publicity
Novel Publicity helps support books and bloggers by setting up and running fun book tours. They often include giveaways, various prizes and other interactive experiences. Learn more here.
Read More Books Like This!
5 books that Maybe I Will have been compared to are:
- Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher
- The Rules of Survival by Nancy Werlin
- A Child Called It: One Child’s Courage to Survive by Dave Pelzer
- Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson
- Stop Pretending: What Happened When My Big Sister Went Crazy by Sonya Sones