Book Review: Maybe I Will
Publication Date: March 15, 2013
Publisher: Luminis Books
· Laurie Gray
by Ross Brand
Published: March 2, 2013
“It’s not about sex.” This is the main point author Laurie Gray wants you to take away from her novel Maybe I Will. The phrase is printed on the back cover, in the author’s dedication at the beginning of the book and in the author’s note at the end of the book, in addition to being quoted by one of the characters in the story itself.
Maybe I Will is the story of Sandy, a high school sophomore with dreams of attending Juilliard School and building a career on Broadway. At the beginning of the book, Sandy’s sole concern is landing the lead part in the school production of “Peter Pan.” This all changes after he or she becomes the victim of sexual assault. I say “he or she” because we the readers never know if Sandy is male or female. This is what sets Maybe I Will apart from other noteworthy YA novels written on the subject of sexual assault, and this is why Gray devotes so much ink and attention to the idea that “it’s not about sex.” She wants us to stop fixating on sexuality and remember instead that rape is an act of violence.
The assault occurs within the first 50 pages, so the bulk of the book focuses on Sandy’s internal and external struggles as he/she tries to cope with what has happened. Old friendships are tested, but new friendships develop. Sandy finds negative ways of dealing with the assault in alcohol and deceit, but also in healthy practices like poetry and Tae Kwon Do. The title Maybe I Will refers to Sandy’s ultimate choice to “end it all or to start over.”
What also makes this book unique is Gray’s background as a Deputy Prosecuting Attorney dealing with crimes against children. This experience and her talent as a writer enabled Gray to craft characters whose emotions, motivations, and reactions seem realistic and utterly believable. I would definitely recommend Maybe I Will for high school age readers, but I think it’s important that parents or teachers read it with the students. Kids will probably have questions about what they read and will benefit from discussing this topic with a trusted adult.