Monday, September 16, 2013

Just One Year by Gayle Forman

Just One Year
by Gayle Forman
Read: September 12, 2013
Published: October 15, 2013 by Dutton Children's **UPCOMING**
Source: Heather @ The Flyleaf Review a.k.a The Best Ever
Category: Contemporary YA/New Adult, Male POV
Series: Just One Day book 2 
Find: Goodreads | Amazon

Note: Just One Year is the second book in a series. My thoughts may contain some minor spoilers for book one Just One Day. If you are new to the series, find my glowing review of Just One Day, HERE. My review is safe for the final book. 

Official summary: The heartrending conclusion—from Willem’s POV—to the romantic duet of novels that began with Allyson’s story in Just One Day

After spending an amazing day and night together in Paris, Just One Year is Willem’s story, picking up where Just One Day ended. His story of their year of quiet longing and near misses is a perfect counterpoint to Allyson’s own as Willem undergoes a transformative journey, questioning his path, finding love, and ultimately, redefining himself.

Find Heather @ The Flyleaf Review's amazing thoughts on Just One Year, HERE. << THIS is what helped guide me through the book when I was preparing to read it. 


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In case you don't know
Just One Year is the brilliant companion and conclusion to Just One Day. While Just One Day is voiced by Allyson and recounts the day she spent in Paris with Willem as well as the year of personal growth that followed, Just One Year is Willem's side of the story. Every question we had about Willem after reading Allyson's book is answered here. But much more than answering questions, we get to know Willem completely, and as that happens, we witness remarkable growth in him as well.   

Before I started the book
Just One Year was one of my most anticipated books of the fall, maybe the year. So of course I worked myself into a complete frenzy about it. I was excited, but then the closer and closer I got to actually reading the story, the more I started to worry and fret and completely panic about it. Then it took me two full days to work up the courage to start it once I received the book. I was so sure that I wouldn't be able to connect with Willem, or even like his story (I know! I'm crazy.), that I was preparing my heart for disappointment. Did I tell you I tend to get a bit emotionally attached to my books? If you are as nervous about this book as I was, my best advice is what Heather told me: TAKE A DEEP BREATH and DON'T BE WORRIED. This book really is that good. Gayle Forman again proves she knows what she's doing. I shouldn't have doubted her.

Here's some evidence of my breakdown on the day I received the book in the mail. 




While I was reading
I want to tell you a secret. I didn't like Willem very much when I started this book. I think this is because after spending the entirety of Just One Day in Allyson/Lulu's head and connecting with her deeply on a personal level, I felt like a protective older sister when I started reading Willem's story. He is lost, careless with hearts and running from something, though all these things we suspected when we read Just One Day. And yet, even though Allyson is the character that I relate to the most (I am a lot more like her), as Willem's story progressed, I was able to emotionally connect to him more than I ever thought possible. In Just One Year we get to see Willem come to terms with his life as it was before that day and begin to grow and change after. Of course I can't really say too much about what that entails, except that like the day that Willem and Allyson spent together, Willem's journey through the year after is transformative.

As for specific things you will find in this book: Travel outside of Europe, two parallel themes that are subtle but hugely impacted my experience with this story. Bram and Yael as well as all those other people (*cough* girls *cough*) you wondered about after reading Just One DayAlso, post cards. Old movies. Armani sunglasses. Food poisoning. Bollywood. Passover. Movie stars. Bicycles. House boats and more Shakespeare.  

After I finished 
Obviously, I can say even less here. But I will tell you two things. The first is that I had this huge fearful guess about how this story would end. In fact, a lot of my panic before I started the book had to do with what I'd find at the end of it. But I never expected to feel as sure as I did about the conclusion of the story once I got there. Secondly, several days after finishing Just One Year, I am still basking in its glow. 

Thoughts on the duet 
As I was reading Just One Day and then Just One Year, I loved thinking about what a delicious conundrum the series is. How compelling and immediate Willem and Allyson's connection is, and how it's obvious just how right and needed they are for each other on that day, in that moment in time that they spent together. How painful their separation is, but how clear it is that neither of them is ready for for a relationship with the other - or anyone. How much they grow in the year that follows, and the question of whether they'll still fit together after it all. Will the stain have really stuck? Will what they saw in each other still be true after a year apart? Does that question even matter? 

Gayle Forman has the incredible ability to make us swoon over a couple after only a few hours together. But what I think is breathtaking about this series is how well she makes us believe in the emotional tie between Allyson and Willem after one day, and because of that, how deeply we're able to connect to them individually. How this story ceases to be about Allyson and Willem together, and more about their own personal journeys of self discovery, though they are each inextricably linked to the others' tale. And it's all based on one accidental day. 

I read an ARC of Just One Year that I have to return. Now I'm itching for my own hard copy so that it can sit next to Just One Day on my shelf, and they can live happily ever after together. Of course, then I can also read them back to back as much as I want. If you haven't started this series yet, now is the time to embark on this journey of a lifetime. 



Love Triangle Factor: None* 
Cliffhanger Scale: Series conclusion


*If you want the longer answer, message me and I will give you further information. But I'm not spoiling the book for you!


22 comments:

  1. I didn't much like Willem either-it made me made at Allyson that she wasted so much time thinking about him when I thought he wasn't worth it and that made reading Just One Day a bit of a struggle. Glad this part two worked for you!

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    1. I can see what you mean by that, though WIllem grew on my as this story progressed, especially as I was able to see how equally affected he was by Allyson. Willem meanders a bit more and takes longer to process what happened, but I loved seeing his growth over the year. I hope this book works for you as well as it did for me!

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  2. I keep secretly hoping that I will come across a review of this book and magically know the ending, but it doesn't happen. *sigh* In between you and Heather, I'm going crazy for this one, but I'm so glad that it lived up to all your expectations. I always have such high expectations of Forman, but the fact that she's able to deliver and build those character connections so seamlessly is a true testament to her talent. Absolutely lovely review, Lauren!(:

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    1. I wanted to know the ending just as badly as you did. BUT I PROMISE you that this book will be better if you're able to discover it in its proper time. Don't peak! I was actually surprised at how perfect I thought it was for this series. I honestly went into this book expecting not to like it as much as I did. I was so nervous that I greatly lowered my expectations. Then I was totally blown away by my reaction to it. I hope that it's a hit for you as well. The emotional impact is just marvelous!

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  3. Sadly, I'm going to have to wait until this one comes out...because I was DENIED in Edelweiss. *hangs head in shame* I can't WAIT to dive into that jerk, Willem's, head! (Obviously, I wasn't a big fan of Willem in the first one but I know Gayle Forman's writing and I know she'll deliver.)

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    1. I was DENIED too. Thankfully I have friends in high places ;). Also, thankfully, it's only a month until this book releases. I completely understand your reaction to Willem and I hope that throughout this book he's able to surprise you in a positive way. I like how real and broken he read to me. Not just a stereotypical book guy - though some of his behavior is douchey, especially in the beginning. But his growth is fantastic and I just become so emotionally invested in these characters and their story. Also, I agree. I trust Gayle Forman.

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  4. I'm just like you Lauren, I fear reading the books that I've been dying to read most. I always just stare at them on the shelf for a few days trying to work up the courage to read them because I so want to love them as much when I'm done reading as I hoped I would before I started:) So glad Willem didn't disappoint for you, and I definitely need to get reading these!

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    1. OH! It makes me excited that you haven't even started this series yet!! I wish that I'd been able to experience it back to back as a complete unit. Hopefully you find these books as magical as I did. I got so emotionally invested in their story.

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  5. Oh, man. Lauren, I peeked at just a couple of lines of your review, but your big secret about not feeling Willem so much at the beginning kills me, because I felt the same way--BUT I KNOW YOU LOVED THE BOOK. And stupid me, I gave it to a coblogger to review, so I have to wait a little while to read it myself. Silly Wendy. SILLY.

    I'll read your review on GoodReads when I've finally read it myself. *sigh*

    Wendy @ The Midnight Garden

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    1. That WAS a silly decision! My goodness lady. But I hope that you're able to connect to this book as much as I was when you get your chance to read it. I was shocked at how well this duet worked for me, though I probably shouldn't have been because Forman never ceases to amaze me. I also had made up my mind before I started this book that I wouldn't like Willem that much or connect to him and his philandering ways (probably in an effort to protect myself from disappointment). BUT I was so surprised when Willem came across as honest and so real he was endearing. Though he's not perfect, his growth is marvelous and I became quite attached to him the further I got in this story.

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  6. Oh, I love this review! I am so happy that in the end this book worked out for you as well as it did for me! You know I totally get how you were feeling--all the nervous anticipation-- it almost did me in a few times. Like I said, the hardest part was not jumping ahead and peeking at that last page to make sure that it ended as I had hoped. I don't know that I have ever felt quite like that reading the final book in a series. Maybe Clockwork Princess--but honestly I think Just One Year was harder then even that.

    I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE what you said in the Thoughts on the Duet part of your review, especially this:

    "How compelling and immediate Willem and Allyson's connection is, and how it's obvious just how right and needed they are for each other on that day, in that moment in time that they spent together. How painful their separation is, but how clear it is that neither of them is ready for for a relationship with the other - or anyone."

    We have spoken at length about this but THIS statement is the crux of the story in my opinion. It's what makes this series so authentic and real and RIGHT, it's never spoken outright by Forman, but it is a message that is very subtly written in and I don't think anyone could write it as well as Forman does here.

    Gosh, such a gorgeous story and gorgeous review, my friend:) I love that we got to read and talk this series together-it made the experience so much richer for me:)

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    1. I can't say enough thanks for your willingness to share this book with me! I was truly blown away by how much I connected to this story and how perfect the series is as a whole. This was a big shock because I was trying to prepare myself for disappointment. But you were right, I could connect to WIllem and I should always trust Gayle Forman. It was SO HARD not to peak, but I'm glad I didn't (thanks for keeping me from looking). I think it was so much better to discover the end organically.

      LOVED talking this book through especially how linked WIllem and Allyson became though they needed a year to grow into themselves. You're right, I think my experience with this story is better because we were able to read it together and discuss as we went. I'm not sure if anyone could have tackled this book as well as Forman did. It took me several days to start up another 'real" book, because I didn't want to mess with the glow from this one.

      Now I just need my own copy! Thankfully my birthday is the day before this releases so I will be obtaining a copy as soon as I can.

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  7. Yay! Only one more month until it comes out. I'm trying not to work myself into a frenzy but I love Gayle's work. She's coming to my city and I hope I don't fangirl and embarrass myself.

    Aly @ My Heart Hearts Books

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    1. I would probably fall all over myself if I attempted to talk to Forman. Each story she writes blows me away even more. I hope you love Just One Year as much as I did! Have fun meeting her!

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  8. Okay, I was going to listen to the audiobooks for these because I don't have room on my schedule for them, but you've also compelled me to purchase hardcovers. Now, to read or to listen? Decisions, decisions. I hope I love these books as much as you do!

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    1. That is tough! I don't do a lot of audio so I'd always say print. But I'm much more of a visual person so I need to see the words in front of me. I bet hearing from the characters could be amazing too. Maybe you just need to do both? I LOVE that you haven't started this series, however. I wish I'd been able to read it back to back. I hope that it impacts you as much as it did me.

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  9. Lauren i'm practically dying just thinking about reading this book. On one hand i want to get this book IMMEDATELY and dive into it and just get through it and find out what happens in the end but another part of me is too scared to touch it and find out what happens and thten the final part of me just wants to read it slowly and completely savour it. I have a major problem. I'm so happy you felt content with the ending (I pray to god I do too) and that days afterward you were still really happy with it. I love Gayle's books and she always writes with such pure honesty and realism that I know she will do these characters justice. Great review :)
    Lily @ Lilysbookblog

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    1. I know exactly how you feel. I had to work hard to relax when I read this book and I was mostly successful at that. It was hard the closer I got to the end. HOWEVER, I think it's worth it to wait and find out how the book ends when it happens, so DON'T PEAK. You need to experience it organically. Just think, if you buy the book, you can read it fast at first, and then slow it down for re-readings. I hope you love this one as much as I did!

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  10. I LOVE THIS. I'm so fearful, like you were in the beginning. And I love how you pinpointed probably everyone's feelings about Willem: like a older protective sister of Allison's. I'm just so excited. So happy you loved this and that it ended so well!

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  11. I have not read this yet. I just pre-ordered my copy when Magan put up her review, and eee. I share so many of your fears. Protective older sister is a great way to put it and I am so anxious to go along on this journey and "bask in the glow" (I hope) when it's all over.

    Thanks for this awesome review!

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  12. OMG LAUREN. Magan sent me a copy of this book, and I immediately re-read Just One Day and then dove into this one. Back-to-back? Gosh, I think these were just even better read that way. I think I need to email you because I don't want to put anything in comment but suffice it to say, I LOVED THIS BOOK SO MUCH.

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  13. Eeep! I can't wait this book to be out. I'm already prepared and I have Just One Day lined up to read days before this one's release. Ah, I love when a book makes you feel that excited!!! Great review, Lauren :)

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