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Something Certain, Maybe is a powerful novel about first love, friendships and embracing the uncertainty of an unknowable future, from Sara Barnard, winner of the YA Book Prize.

Rosie is ready for her life to begin, because nothing says new life like going to university. After years of waiting and working hard, she’s finally on the road that will secure her future.

Except university turns out to be not what she hoped or imagined, and although she’s not exactly unhappy – really – she might be a little bit worried that she doesn’t really like her course much. Or her flatmates. Or, really . . . anything? But it’s normal to be homesick (right?) and everything will have settled in a month or two, and it’s totally fine that her friends seem so much happier than she is, and that the doctors don’t seem to know what’s wrong with her mother.

And then she meets Jade, and everything starts to look a little brighter. At least, it does if she’s only looking at Jade. But is first love enough when everything else is falling apart?

Title : Something Certain Maybe
Author : Sara Barnard
Format : Physical
Page Count : 336
Genre : YA Contemporary
Publisher : Macmillan Children’s Books
Release Date : July 7, 2022

Reviewer : Micky
Rating : ★ ★ ★ ★

Micky’s 4 star review

The first year of uni life
Trying to fit in
First LGBTQ+ relationship experiences

As a fan of Sara Barnard’s previous books and in particular the two books related to Something Certain, Maybe (Beautiful Broken Things and Fierce Fragile Hearts), picking this book up was a no-brainer. But you don’t have to have previous knowledge of Rosie, Caddy and Suzie, it can be read as a standalone. Content warnings at the bottom of this review.

This book focused on Rosie but with her two buddies there in the background. Leaving Brighton, her mum and friends behind was a bittersweet experience for Rosie but she had a plan. This story was all about that first year of her plan and it didn’t play out how she expected.

Rosie spread her bisexual wings in this book and she dealt with some microagressions in relation to her bi-ness but any issues were dealt with really well on the page. Rosie’s blossoming relationship with Jade was lovely reading and the positive focus of the plot. Rosie navigated some mental health challenges which felt authentic as well as deep family worries. Talking of authenticity this university lecturer (me) thought this first year at uni was written so darn well. Kudos to the real feels that were conveyed and the whole reason why I read and enjoy YA…it helps me connect with my students’ experiences.

I loved seeing these three characters in an adult (young adult) light. Yes, there were dramatic moments and if you know these three, that felt just right. It felt like a sweet reward getting another book with these characters.

Thank you to Pride Book Tours and Macmillan Children’s Books for the review copy.

Content warnings: anxiety, panic attacks, discussion of previous suicide attempts, bi-erasure