Title: Love? Maybe.
Author: Heather Hepler
Publication Date: 5 January 2012
Publisher: Dial Books For Young Readers
Summary (courtesy of goodreads.com):
Just because Piper's birthday is on Valentine's Day does not mean she's a romantic. In fact, after watching her father and then her stepfather leave, she's pretty sure she doesn't believe in love at all. Then her friends concoct a plan to find them all Valentine's dates, and somehow Piper finds herself with the most popular guy in school. But true love never follows a plan, and a string of heartfelt gifts from a secret admirer has Piper wondering if she might be with the wrong guy.I'm surprised that the word "cynical" doesn't appear in the book description, because it sure shows up a lot in the actual book. I've never been one to throw books on the ground and stomp on them or anything (except at the end of Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince), but I swear I was ready to do so if I read the word "cynical" one more time. I get it. Piper is cynical. But does that mean she needs to tell us constantly that she's cynical? Does that mean that other people need to continuously remind us about how cynical she is? Did you know that Piper is cynical?! Because I apparently didn't and needed to be reminded every five pages.
In this heartwarming romance, true love is more than a maybe - and it might be closer than you think.
Now that my rant is over, I can assure you that Love? Maybe really isn't so bad, once you get past the overuse of that word. The story is sweet and Piper really isn't as pessimistic as the author would apparently like you to believe. I think that's what bothered me the most about the overuse of the aforementioned word: we're constantly being told how ------- she is, but she really is a caring individual and a good friend who just maybe doesn't believe that everyone is destined to fall madly in love. She rarely puts herself above others, and it is that selflessness (which I think would be hard to find in most cynics) that helps her to develop in other areas throughout the novel.
I also loved how "clean" this story was, and that no one was really made out to be a villain (except maybe Stuart, but I get that). No one is having horribly meaningless and unnecessary-to-the-plot-line sex. No one is swearing up a storm because so-and-so doesn't love them. And most of all, no one, especially not Piper, is walking around putting people down just because things don't work out the way they'd hoped. And it's not as if the characters are all having happy, hunky-dory lives, either. Things are happening, people are stressing out, and I know I would have stooped to much lower levels under the duress some of the characters face. I think all of the characters (except Stuart) are class acts, and it's truly refreshing to read a story like that. I'd feel comfortable recommending Love? Maybe to teens and even pre-teens who want to read something "older," without reservation.