ARC Review: My Best Friend, Maybe by Caela Carter

Title: My Best Friend, Maybe
Author: Caela Carter
Genre: YA, contemporary, GLBT
Publisher/Publication Date: Bloomsbury USA Childrens / June 3, 2014
How Did I Get It? Netgalley
Format? eARC

Synopsis from Goodreads: Colette has been bored and lonely ever since her best friend, Sadie, dumped her the summer before they stared high school. She tries to be perfect for everyone left in her life: her parents, her younger brothers, her church youth group, even her boyfriend, Mark. But Colette is restless. And she misses Sadie.

When Sadie tells Colette that she needs her old friend to join her on a family vacation to the Greek Islands, one that leaves in only a few days, Colette is shocked to hear their old magic word: need. And she finds herself agreeing.

Colette tries to relax and enjoy her Grecian surroundings but it’s not easy to go on vacation with the person who hurt you most in the world. When the reason for the trip finally surfaces, Colette finds out this is not only a fun vacation. Sadie has kept an enormous secret from Colette for years…forever. It’s a summer full of surprises, but that might be what Colette needs.

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I’ve been on a summertime contemporary binge, and most of them have been fantastic. My Best Friend, Maybe, did not join those ranks. From page one, I had a suspicious feeling that it wasn’t going to be a favorite, but by the halfway mark, I was just glad I was able to finish it and not give up. Mainly, this book infuriated me, for several reasons. And while I understand that usually strong emotions are a good sign, in this case it was too much. Plot points were forgotten and left aside, and the resolution was too perfect for all the problems that had been brought up. But most of all, it was the way Christians were presented that had me ranting and huffing as I read the book.

Before I jump into the rest of it, I want to address my main issue with this book. Now, I understand that many Christians actually are the homophobic, Bible-thumping type. And it’s such a shame to see that being the main image of Christianity. But when every single YA book I read shows Christians as the worst people in the entire world, I get tired of it. Honestly, I’ve gotten to the point where, despite the fact that I’m a Christian, I’ll run from any book marked with that title. But back to My Best Friend, Maybe: it was the mother that had me almost screaming. Apparently that woman missed the “let he who is blameless cast the first stone” lesson. Along with the first five verses of Matthew  7. And the “love your neighbor as yourself” commandment. I’ll stop myself there, before I go too crazy. But, can we please, just for once, write about some Christians who aren’t the demons of the book?

Besides my own personal rancor with that issue, I had some other problems with MBFM on top of all that. Colette is one of the most wishy-washy MCs I’ve read in a while; the entire book is her going back and forth as to whether or not she wants to be friends with Sadie again. And then the romance issue – first of all, instalove. Second – what happened to your other boyfriend? ZERO mention of him once Colette found her new main squeeze! As far as the resolution of the entire story, I found it to be too sappy and easy, after the years of issues that had built up in Sadie and Colette’s friendship. Sadie is presented as this poor, misunderstood kid (which is true but she uses it as a guilt-trip), but in reality she’s manipulative, and what she asks of Colette after lying and ignoring her for three years is almost appalling.

I wanted to love this story; I really did. But without any warning from the synopsis of the Christian issue, or the GLBT subject, I felt like I was shoved into something I wasn’t prepared for. I don’t have a problem with issue books, but I’d at least like to understand exactly what I’m getting into. What I thought would be a summery beach book about rekindling friendships turned into a preachy, condescending litany on why church is bad and being best friends means “sacrificing everything of yourself to hopefully fix this problem for your friend who can’t face her own issues”. I just can’t recommend this one personally, but maybe other readers will find some redeeming qualities.

My Final Rating:

Two stars


10 thoughts on “ARC Review: My Best Friend, Maybe by Caela Carter

  1. Based from the blurb alone, I already don’t want to read this book! I’m all for cute, summery reads, but this does not sound like one of those. Anyway, I’m a Christian too, and I hate how we’re stereotyped in a lot of books! D: So yeah. This book never made it on my TBR and probably never will. .__.

  2. This is next up on my list, and I was hoping to have a review up for it next week. I think I’m still going to try to power through, since even BAD LGBT lit is of interest to me, but I might need a strong drink to get through it.

    On a side note, I just finished One Man Guy, and was pleasantly surprised by the way the religious folks were cool with the gay thing. It wasn’t a huge theme in the book, but it was nice and unexpected.

    • It was definitely worth the read, just for the themes, but I just didn’t like the execution in the end :/ I’ve seen One Man Guy around, and I actually thought that one sounded a bit better. Maybe I’ll check it out 🙂


    This review makes me really sad, since this book has been a release that I have been really looking forward to, but like you, I don’t like it at all when religious people are portrayed as shallow hypocrites. I feel that, while Christianity is the majority religion of this country, there isn’t much positive representation of it in the YA genre. I’m not exactly the religious type (well, I believe in God, but not exactly the Bible), but I’m still very bothered by the bad representation of Christians because many of my friends and also family members are Christians.

    There are shallow and hypocritical Christians, but that is just because they are shallow and hypocritical, not because they are Christians. And I also don’t have a good feeling about the other flaws of the book you mentioned… I might not completely skip this read over, since I still feel like checking it out myself, but this will probably be a library read and not a OMG I AM SOOOO BUYING A COPY FOR MYSELF TO DISPLAY ON MY BOOKSHELF read.

    Wonderful review, Kayla! (Btw, I will send feedback about the chapters of your story you sent me on Monday 🙂 Sorry I have been such a bad reader! School is eating up ALL the time I have.)

    • IT’S OKAY I STILL LOVE YOU ❤ And thank you 😀

      I think a library read would be a great idea – it's still worth giving a chance, but just for me it really did not work at all. I think some other people might be able to identify with it a lot more than I could.

      Awww thank you! I can't wait to see what you think 😀

  4. Ugh that sucks. I feel like YA lit definitely needs some GOOD representation of religion. Like how, yeah sometimes it sucks, but there are a lot of really great people out there who are religious and Christian and don’t go around with flaming torches. Even though I’m not really a Christian myself, I love to see diversity in books, so its disappointing that religions in general are so underrepresented in YA, and when they are represented, it’s often a misrepresentation :/

    Ooh BTW I finished my post on NA book recommendations and it’s going live the first week of June. In it, I recommend one that I think does a good job of featuring a character who has a positive relationship with God. There are other characters in the book who aren’t all that Christian and great, but if I’m remembering it correctly, the main character personally has very strong beliefs about God that are a big part of her personality. And it was able to do that without being preachy! Although it does feature a student-teacher relationship…not quite sure how you feel about that lol

    • I think this can really be applied to any group of people – there are some rotten ones in each subset, but not EVERYONE is horrible. I feel that in YA sometimes the horrid people are the only ones that exist.

      I can’t wait to read it! I’ll probably add a ton of books to my wish list, but oh well 😛 As far as student-teacher relationships, I’m always open to reading about them. I find it strange, but I can understand it. I mean, I’m barely two years older than some of my students and I could honestly see some of them being my friends. I’d never go so far as have a romantic relationship, but I can see how those bonds would be started.

  5. ))): Sad to hear you didn’t like this! I was excited about this book and am participating in a book blitz for it. I have read some other good reviews though, so I’m still probably gonna give this book a go eventually.

    I feel like one of the best treatments of Christian faith I’ve ever read in a YA book was probably in Everything Beautiful by Simmone Howell. I read that years ago though so I can’t guarantee if it’s actually as good as I say it is. Still, it’s about an atheist girl who gets sent to Christian camp, and she’s totally prepared to hate it, but then she realises that maybe it’s not so bad after all, and the religious aspect of it is quite understated and realistic and balanced, I think.

    • Oh that’s such a shame! Sorry to burst the bubble D: Don’t listen to me – I get grumpy when stuff like that pops up in the books I read.

      Thanks for the rec! I’ll have to check it out for sure 🙂

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