January 5, 2013
Just One Day by Gayle Forman
Publisher: Dutton (Penguin)
Series: Just One Day #1
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!
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:
Generally like it.
Find Just One Day by Gayle Forman on Goodreads, Book Depository, & Amazon.