January 5, 2013

Just One Day by Gayle Forman

Release Date: January 8, 2013
Publisher: Dutton (Penguin)
Pages: 368
Series: Just One Day
Review Source: ARC from Razorbill Canada

Synopsis: (from Goodreads)
A breathtaking journey toward self-discovery and true love, from the author of If I Stay.

When sheltered American good girl Allyson "LuLu" Healey first meets laid-back Dutch actor Willem De Ruiter at an underground performance of Twelfth Night in England, there’s an undeniable spark. After just one day together, that spark bursts into a flame, or so it seems to Allyson, until the following morning, when she wakes up after a whirlwind day in Paris to discover that Willem has left. Over the next year, Allyson embarks on a journey to come to terms with the narrow confines of her life, and through Shakespeare, travel, and a quest for her almost-true-love, to break free of those confines.

Just One Day is the first in a sweepingly romantic duet of novels. Willem’s story—Just One Year—is coming soon!

My Thoughts:
Usually when I give a book five stars it’s because I loved most everything about the book, from the plot to the writing to the characters and the romance. Most of that is true here, except when it comes to the characters and their romance. And yet, because of the reasons I will describe to you, I just couldn’t help but give this book five stars.

When I think of this book I basically just flail around and think “emotionnnnnnnns”, so that says something right there. I also think of a KILLER ending, one that is (no surprise) SO EMOTIONAL and will make you questions the characters and what could possibly come next in 'Just One Year'. I’m sure it will also make you want to bribe any possible contact for a copy of that next book ASAP, because you just HAVE to know what will happen.

Allyson is a character who is pretty lost throughout the book. She’s not a risk taker and she’s always done what she’s told, to the point of letting her parents, especially her mother, dictate her life. The book questions whether just one day can change her outlook and make her into a different person. Ally starts off being too scared to feel passion for things, but she quickly becomes determined and wants to change into someone more brave. She wants to move away from her parents’ expectations, because this one day of living free that she has in Europe has really started to change her.

The book contains a lot of travel in Europe, with some gorgeous descriptions. It’s also a grand romantic quest over this guy who is magnetic and vibrant: but who is Willem, really? We get glimpses and guesses, but no real answers as to what happens to him after this day. This, for me, is really the killer part. I loved this book of self-discovery, but I really wanted it to be an epic romance as well. I feel conflicted about this, but I love Gayle Forman’s writing and the character journey so much. I can’t help but give it five stars because I can’t stop thinking about the book and about the characters’ relationship. It made me think about them over and over again, wondering if they really are meant to be together.

Part of my lack of satisfaction lies in the fact that there isn’t a full conclusion to the book, because the companion book from Willem’s perspective ('Just One Year') comes out later this year. In essence this isn’t a flaw of the book, it just means a lot of agony and unanswered questions until this second book is released. I can’t say enough how many feelings this book brought me, and I know I’ll be waiting with bated breath for the release of 'Just One Year'.

I also have to say that I was psyched about visiting the Netherlands in this book and the fact that Willem was Dutch, because as you can see from pictorial evidence from my grandparent’s and my Mom’s houses... we share that special condition of Dutch-ness:

The Cover:
Generally like it.


Find Just One Day by Gayle Forman on Goodreads, Book Depository, & Amazon.


  1. Yeah. Really need to read this one. LOVE her! Plus, Europe? I'm so there.

    1. I know, right? Travel book + Gayle Forman just has to be some kind of win.

  2. So glad to hear it was a good read! We loooooved IF I STAY and WHERE SHE WENT, but we didn't love the sneak peek excerpt of this, so we've been wary. Now we're feeling a lot more optimistic! Thanks for sharing your thoughts. :)

    1. Where She Went is still my fave, but this one is definitely quite great.

  3. I can't wait to read this one! I know it's going to be awesome. :)

    Great review, Ashley!

  4. I was so frustrated by Allyson's mopeyness after separating from Willem-I just could not get past it. Glad this one worked better for you!

    1. I've seen a lot of people mention that, and I can understand why it turned people off. I guess I could understand it in some way... first, getting attached to this guy who opened up your eyes in so many ways, and wanting that connection to continue... but second, that it wasn't really all about Willem. It was about those things he showed her, and how she learned about herself in such a short period of time, and then she's just shoved back into her normal life where everything is regimented and controlled, where there are all those expectations on her. I think the moping was a way of sticking her head in the sand and trying to maintain the normality, while at the same time wanting nothing to do with the reality that had been chosen for her before her whole realization/expectation of self. She hides in her old life (while at the same time not maintaining it), because it's scary to open herself up to new possibilities and to take charge and be the new Allyson that she wants to be.

  5. I think that this would have worked a little better if it had been released at the same time you know? 'cause then you would get a conclusion, but it stil sounds terrific :D

    1. I know, right?? But that would mean less emotional torture for the readers, and what author wants that?? ;)

  6. I love your description of it. The fact that it isn't an epic romance intrigues me more than anything.

    1. I kind of wish it was an epic travel romance, and yet I know that the book is SO MUCH BETTER for the fact that it isn't.


Thank you so much for taking the time to comment; I appreciate each one!


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