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|