My rating: 3 of 5 stars
How would the world of high school be if your father was a self-absorbed, Hugh-Hefner clone and your mother one of his former girlfriends who your entire school recently saw naked except for a strategically placed pizza box in a Super Bowl commercial? That’s the world Hannah James lives in and, at times, it’s a lonely one for her, thanks to her own self-imposed exile from her classmates.
But luckily, she works with her “soulmate” Josh at the local burger call center. Josh is everything her father isn’t–caring, sensitive, involved in causes. He has a girlfriend, yes, but Hannah just knows there are signs he’s into her (she reads a lot into his buying her animal crackers). Unfortunately, she can barely talk to Josh without feeling like a fool and there are times Josh complete misreads her, like buying her a kind of candy her mother likes.
Then there’s Finn, who also works with them and who Hannah can talk to, but she doesn’t think of him in the same way she does Josh–well, at least not most of the time.
If it all sounds a bit like a soap opera, it is. But “Something Maybe” works well because it keeps the character of Hannah a grounded one with realistic responses to her life’s situations. Not many are going to face the dilemma of your mother running a web site where she video chats in her underwear and stars in a pizza commercial. But the pain of losing her step-father and how that impacts Hannah and her mom is realistically portrayed. And while the book does delve deeply into the triangle of Josh, Hannah and Finn, there are still some other bigger issues working here that aren’t necessarily resolved by the story’s end.
The characters work, the book is fun and while there are some predictable moments (Josh’s motivations become apparent to the readers long before Hannah puts the clues together), it’s still a light read that offers a bit more depth.