Read: January 12-14, 2013
Published: January 8, 2013 by Dutton Juvenile
Source: Gift from the amazing Heather @ The Flyleaf Review
Category: Contemporary, New Adult
My summary: Just One Day stars Allyson Healey, a girl who’s always known what she is going to become. She has just graduated from high school, and is headed to college in the fall, where she will work hard so that she can get into medical school and become a physician like her father. As a graduation present her parents have given her a guided trip to Europe with her best friend. Sounds like a blast, right? When the book begins, Allyson is nearing the end of her trip, back in England after exploring Europe with her group. Unfortunately, experiencing Europe with a bunch of American students hasn't been as thrilling as Allyson had hoped. She is also bummed because she wasn't able to see Paris.
This is where Willem comes in. He is a Dutch actor working for Guerrilla Will, an underground Shakespeare theatre group that performs in public locations. Although they do not know each other, Willem offers to take Allyson to Paris for just one day. Allyson is naturally wary at first, but she agrees to Willem’s plan. Soon she is discovering that despite their differences, she and Willem actually connect really well. They spend a day together that is magical, memorable and even a little harrowing. This day also causes Allyson to question the path that has been so carefully laid out for her.
However, Allyson wakes up the next morning and Willem is gone. She is confused and hurt by his departure, but returns to the states to begin college and continue the rest of her Life Plan. Except that once Allyson starts college, she realizes more and more that she's not sure the path laid out for her is the one she wants to be on. The question is, what will she do about it?
|Tulips at Keukenhof|
I read Just One Day in January soon after the story released, but it has taken me until now to muster enough courage to write out my thoughts about it. There are already so many fantastic reviews of this book, and I’ve had trouble finding a way to articulate how much this story resonates with me personally. Not only does it feature a swoony romance and fantastic New Adult themes about the transition period between high school and after, but I connected with so many experiences in Allyson’s life. I am still struggling to put into words exactly how much this book has affected me.
I was actually afraid to start Just One Day. I knew it was going to be a Gayle Forman twofer, which translates to lots of emotions and heart break – but also a fan yourself romance. I had planned to wait to read it until the fall when both halves of the story would be released. But then I read THIS REVIEW by my friend Heather @ The Flyleaf Review, which literally made me tear up. From that review, I knew I had to read this story ASAP. Thankfully, Heather gave me a copy of the book for Christmas, I only had to wait a few weeks until it was released in January to read it. THANK YOU, HEATHER.
You know what, Just One Day DOES have an amazing and heart-breaking romance. Despite my worries that I wouldn't be able to get into their love story when I already knew how their day would end, I ate up Willem and Allyson's time together. I had no trouble sensing a connection between them, and hanging on every moment they spent exploring Paris. In addition to the travel, art and literature themes, what deeply resonates with me about this story is the intensely emotional journey of self discovery that Allyson embarks on as a result of that day. I think it is all the more powerful because this book takes place during that big life moment of going from high school to college, when nearly every relationship in a person's life is affected. From growing apart from childhood best friends, to how much you should share with your parents, to learning how to make new friends, Gayle Forman depicts it all in brilliant and uncomfortable detail.
Despite the devastating way that Allyson and Willem's experience in Paris is ended, and all the what if scenarios that would have given them another end to their day, for me one of the most profound concepts of Just One Day, is the fact that it is so clear to me that Allyson was not ready for a relationship with Willem at that time (I daresay he wasn't ready for one with her either). In fact, I think any actions on their part to keep in touch would have been disastrous. Only after Allyson looses Willem, resulting in her search to find herself and then him, is she is in a healthy enough place for a relationship. But whether she finds him, or whether it is possible to connect again after she has changed so much...well you just need to read this book and preorder the next one.
Love Triangle Factor: None
Cliffhanger Scale: Medium
|Sketching in Orvieto, Italy|
2) I played Rosalind in a high school production of As You Like It.
3) I studied in Italy during college, and I've navigated foreign transportation systems and gotten lost in a European city. I also didn't speak the language at all before I arrived.
4) I've experienced the painful reality of growing apart from a childhood best friend, and struggled to make new ones after a move. I am bummed that I never made a college friend like Dee, though!
5) Allyson is right, Italians do not understand the concept of lines.
|Keukenhof early 1980s|
I'm so happy that even though it was a short time period, the connection was great between them. I can't wait to read this! LOVE the review :)ReplyDelete
Sunny @ Blue Sky Bookshelf
Thanks, Sunny. I hope you enjoy this one as much as I did. I was really nervous about how I would take the love story because we already know how it ends (the first time), but was amazed at how well Gayle Forman was able to connect me to it, and especially show the reader a strong bond between Allyson and Willem after only a short time. But not only that, I felt emotionally attached to Allyson's entire journey. How does Gayle Forman do that?Delete
Just One Day is a book I HAVE to read because the subject matter resonates quite deeply with me. I spent some time abroad in college as well and lived in Spain for a summer and it was one of those journeys that really made such a HUGE difference in my life. The high school to college transition and the one post-college are both so important because these are the times when you're figuring out who you are as an adult and what type of person you want to be as well. Anything that shows this in a realistic way (like this book) is worth taking the time to investigate.ReplyDelete
Plus, I met a very hot Aussie who I had a super huge connection to and we spend a very lovely day together, however, we still manage to keep in touch every now and again. So I'm totally intrigued to see how this romance plays out in both this book and the next. Fantastic and very deep review, Lauren!
You DO have to read this book. I think because I have gone to college and traveled as well, I connected to this book even more than I would have otherwise. However, it is amazing even without that experience. But it is clear that Gayle Forman has traveled so much herself, and she gets that time in life so well. But you're right, beyond that is a fantastic journey of self-discovery and authenticity that Allyson embarks on, which really made this book stand out to me.Delete
OOHHH a hot Aussie of your very own ;) how intriguing.
Okay, it's decided. TOTALLY going to download it to my Nook and read it once I'm finished the current book I'm on. I NEED this in my life. And since I'm not one of the fortunate few to go to Paris, I figure, why not live vicariously through Forman's characters, right?Delete
Ooooooh yes, Lauren. A dreamy Aussie man who chased me down after a chance encounter just to find out my name. I have a feeling that Willem is going to remind me of my Aussie friend.
I'm off this week on the blog but I HAD to swing by and check out your review, L. LOVE, LOVE, LOVE IT. Yes to all the points you made: especially the authentic portrayal of that pivotal point in a young adult's life between high school and college; the beautiful journey of self discovery that Allyson takes in this book; and most of all, how Allyson's journey was ESSENTIAL in order for her to have a healthy relationship with Willem in the future (we HOPE anyway:)ReplyDelete
And your Six Degrees of Separation inclusion at the bottom is awesome! First of all, it's totally YOU:) And secondly, I personally love when a reviewer/ blogger puts a little of their own story into their reviews. I love those pictures you included and I am so happy you connected with this book like you did! This is probably my favorite review of your's, EVER:)
Thank you so much, Heather. That means a lot. I cannot wait to journey through the next one with you as well. I am looking forward to lots of discussion and mutual swooning!Delete
I love your 6 Degrees of Separation for this, Lauren! Like you, I just adored this book and I cannot wait for the sequel. I'm so glad that Heather's review convinced you to read this because this book is too good to be missed! :DReplyDelete
I am so thankful for that as well! Of course I would have read it, but I'm glad that I didn't wait. Even without a sequel this would have been fantastic, though I am eager to learn more about Willem! Gayle Forman hasn't disappointed me yet.Delete
I'm new to your blog, just wanted to say hi and love this review! I really loved If I Stay, and I'm looking forward to getting my hands on this one soon. I also really enjoyed your six degrees of separation. I would have loved to do a semester abroad as an undergrad, what a great experience!ReplyDelete
Thank you! I hope that you love this one as much as I did. Have you read WHERE SHE WENT YET? I think I liked it better than IF I STAY. SO SO GOOD, and it also has that New Adult feel.Delete
You and Heather write the most wonderful, heartfelt reviews. Loved reading this as much as the book!ReplyDelete
Thank you so much, Jen. I love your reviews as well. They always make me smile. Love your perspective on books.Delete
Such a wonderful review of this book! I loved this story with a passion. I agree with you about Willem and Allyson not being ready for a relationship, and that year apart being so crucial to their personal growth. I can't wait to read Just One Year. Love the 6 degrees of separation. And yes the Italians and the French are not fans of lines. Cutting is like a national pasttime for both. :-) Wonderful review!ReplyDelete
Thanks, Lauren. I am salivating for Just One Year as well! I think we all are. Gayle Forman sure knows how to hook us, doesn't she. I'm very eager to find out what has happened to Willem in that year, and of course I'm hoping that they are going to be able to reconnect again. I love that you can tell that Forman has really traveled to all of these places, but the little details that she gives.Delete
I hate that it took you a long time to muster your thoughts, but I appreciate you waiting to post them. I love reading your thoughts on this one. I *do* actually want to read it, but I still am just not ready, so I don't really feel like I can join in on the conversation. But I'm sure the book is really great!ReplyDelete
I am already looking forward to when you can get to this one. But I totally understand your mindset.Delete
It's so interesting that you say neither of them was ready for a relationship, Lauren--I didn't think of that, but in retrospect I think you're right. Maybe the stars will align in Just One Year for all of us! Thank you so much for your thoughtful (as always) review.ReplyDelete
I love the photos and personal facts you shared, too. I spent several summers abroad and even did a whirlwind week in Paris too, so this book felt very dear to me in many ways.
Wendy @ The Midnight Garden
I feel strongly that it would have been a disaster if they'd tried anything. Allyson was still attempting to please her parents by going right to pre-med and she'd only offered him one more day, anyway. And Willem didn't even want to give her his info. Perhaps they would have both changed quickly if they'd had it, but I think Allyson is a much stronger person after everything she goes through - depression, stepping away from her parents, making plans of her own, and traveling by herself. Time will tell what changes Willem has made.Delete
Although this book is fantastic in and of itself, I've found that anyone who has done traveling of their own finds it to be even more meaningful. I think it's connecting to Gayle Forman who is a traveler in her own right.